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Center Stage: Women in Tech Edition - Silje Helfjord

Harry Lees • 
March 7th, 2024

Silje joined Tech Soft 3D as part of our 2020 acquisition of CEETRON. Before this, she had been working for CEETRON since 2000, leaving for a few years for another opportunity and returning in 2008. Then a small company with around 7 employees,  Silje performed a wide array of duties, something she prides herself in continuing throughout her time at Tech Soft 3D.

With her title as an Engineering Manager, Silje stresses she is an engineer first - coding, debugging, documentation support, planning releases, and even working directly with partners, she does it all. 

Outside of work, Silje loves skiing and going to tasty restaurants. She puts it best herself: “I love to go to fancy restaurants and spend too much money on food.” Like so many other engineers, she’s a sci-fi fan (currently on her 3rd rewatch of Battlestar Galactica) and is also an avid enjoyer of jigsaw puzzles. Her latest one is 18,000 pieces, and, as she explained, needs “a very, very big kitchen table.” 

As a young girl, Silje stresses that her parents encouraged her to pursue her interests regardless of gender norms. Silje’s parents had a big influence on her, especially her “quite nerdy” father. Starting with a Commodore 64 and some simple games, the path to working with computers was set. The fact this wasn’t as common for young girls didn’t cross her mind. 

“You didn’t know what you were and weren't supposed to do as a girl,” she explained. “I didn't really know I wasn't supposed to do this until I got to class and there were four girls and fifty boys.”

Silje joined the Tech Soft 3D team when her small CEETRON team joined us in 2020. She was pleasantly surprised to find that the benefits of a small company, the core values, and family feel largely persisted. “Tech Soft is a bigger family, we can be ourselves, we can talk to everybody, all the core values we had.”

For young women, she stressed the importance of what this openness creates: “With Tech Soft 3D, you get that ‘small company’ vibe, where you feel you can make a difference and loyalty comes naturally.”

In talking about what women bring to the table, Silje spoke about different perspectives, values, and the importance of this variety in engineering. “The more diversity you have, not only of genders but all kinds, is great for problem-solving,” Silje explained. 

Silje encourages young girls to, if they want to, go for it in STEM fields. “I don’t see why gender should hold you back.” She feels people, generally, want and accept diversity. “Jump in, ask questions, learn from mistakes, make good friends.”

Isolation and micromanagement are problems for both women in STEM generally and engineers as a whole and Silje praised Tech Soft 3D for how they handle both of these things.

Silje told us “One of the best parts of Tech Soft 3D is you can talk to anyone, you can have a beer, pat anyone on the back, and no one minds at all. They just smile and have a fun story for you.” This equal, open approach is a core part of Tech Soft 3D culture, Silje explained. “Other companies have a more top-down approach and a long turnover, which makes you feel distant.”

Silje is a valuable engineer to have at Tech Soft 3D, and a great personal fit for our company culture. She is a great example for young girls to do what they love, regardless of gender, and to throw themselves at their work, passions, and hobbies. 

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