How These 5 Women Are Upping The Tech Game For Target


Sponsored by Target



A version of this article originally appeared on the Target website.
Target may be one of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers in the US, but it’s also driving some of the greatest innovation in digital shopping technology. Whether in advancing mobile shopping capabilities or using advanced techniques to protect consumer data, Target pushes the envelope to develop the best practices in technology today.
The Target tech team is comprised by lots of talented people, and especially some stellar women. Meet some of them below. And check out these great tech jobs at Target - hiring now!
Joana Cruz, Lead Software Engineer:
In her six years at Target, Joana has led major projects in the areas of distribution, transportation, merchandising, health care and point-of-sale operations. She was the first female overarching engineering consultant on Target’s supply chain support services team. These days, she’s leading a team of newly hired engineers focused on modernizing supply chain forecasting.
Joana first got interested in coding In grade school, around the time the first IBM Personal Computer (PC) was introduced. “I saw it in a magazine, and dreamed that someday I would work in a job related to computers. But back then, computer science wasn’t well known or understood, and I didn’t own a PC—I used labs most nights and weekends." Through perseverance, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer and information science at Far Eastern University. At 19, she became one of the first female interns at IBM Philippines.
Kendra Ware, Technology Leadership Program Trainee:
Kendra started as an intern, and has been full-time team member for over two years. She’s currently on the RAPID: Cloud & Automation Services team, which enables other teams to provide new application releases to guests as fast as possible. Kendra tells us: “It’s my second rotation through Target’s Technology Leadership Program, which lets Target technologists rotate through different information technology roles, learning about a variety of applications, platforms and environments.”
Kendra feels like she is learning constantly through her experiences at Target - even when she is faced with challenges. “Once during a group programming session, I got to lead a meeting focused on technology I’ve never worked with before. My entire team gave me step-by-step directions to complete the project. This intimidating, hands-on training turned out to be a great experience because it challenged me in ways I haven’t been before.”
Maria Elisa Laborte, Lead Engineer, Platform Engineering:
Maria Elisa works on capacity planning and managing data integration solutions for multiple critical systems that need near real-time integration. Her team processes a large volume of data for things like order management systems, Target's supply chain, and lots more. “I joined the Target team five years ago, and it gave me an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone as a developer and work on the infrastructure side of the business.”
Maria Elisa is a math student who became a computer science major. “We were given certain scenarios or problems and had to formulate logic to solve them, eventually programming or coding them using Cobol, Pascal or C++. At that time, these were the programming languages! Coding is fun and there’s this feeling of fulfillment when your program starts working.”
Teamwork is one of the most important aspects of Maria Elisa’s experiences at Target. “Once when we were having problems with a platform, my Target teammates and partners came together to migrate the tool, code, database and storage to new servers—all in one weekend! Everyone worked well together and accomplished a lot in such a short time.”
Connie Yu, Lead Engineer:
Connie has been at Target for 10 years, and has worked as a tech lead and architect in several different areas. Right now, she’s working on our next generation of supply chain systems, focusing on replenishment. “I define system architecture, as well as work on design and coding with my team.”
When she was growing up, coding didn’t initially appeal to Connie.  “I took my first C++ class as a high school freshman, but hated it. Glad I gave it another chance in graduate school, because something ‘clicked’ that second time around and I loved it, to the point that I made it my main field of study.”
Recently, Connie has especially enjoyed working on the point-of-sale system, because “I still see the results every time I shop Target and use the checkout system. I designed a control module that drives the workflow on the credit card device guests use to pay. I’ll never forget how proud and excited I was the first time I swiped a credit card through the device controlled by my module.”
Katrina Schreiber, Software Engineer:
Katrina currently works on the Application Programming Interface (API) Developer Portal, an Angular-based user interface containing Target API and endpoint documentation, and self-service for API keys and access tokens. Target developers and vendors use this tool for both internal and guest-facing applications.
Katrina first got interested in coding after exploring a string of other interests including seismology and journalism. “I emailed a man starting up a TEDx event in my hometown, and we crafted a summer internship. Through that, I got to meet so many incredible, accomplished people, and then it clicked: The common thread was technology. And from then on, I knew that’s all I wanted to do.”
Katrina’s favorite experiences at Target have come from her participation in the Target Leadership Program: “I’ve gone golfing with the team (I was horrible) and been in a cribbage tournament (less horrible). I ran a drone contest and did hackathons. I even became a FIRST Lego League coach to encourage elementary girls interested in tech.”
Why Join The Target Team?
Here’s what these women have to say:
Joana: “Target provides equal opportunities for female technologists. There are trainings, support groups, and resources to grow your skills. And there’s flexibility so moms like me don’t miss any of my girls’ important milestones.”
Kendra: “The amazing, genuine people make work fun and enjoyable. They truly care about both your career and personal development. And there are endless opportunities to work on cool projects for the company.”
Maria Elisa: “Coming from a development background and relocating to a new state was tough, but my team supported me and patiently explained things I didn’t understand. There are also opportunities for growth and different technologies to use that make Target a fun place to work.”
Connie: “I like to explore new things and Target provides a good environment for that. As a software engineer, it is crucial to keep our skills fresh. Target values continuous learning and provides the tools to get the job done.”
Katrina: “Opportunities for mentorship. My confidence, successes, and incredible opportunities like Grace Hopper—I have mentorship to thank for a lot of that. The culture at work is extremely enabling, from both my male and female counterparts.”
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