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Back to Work After Raising Kids: My Story as a Backend Engineer

Back to Work After Raising Kids: My Story as a Backend Engineer

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What's it really like returning to work after raising a family - is it even possible to maintain your stature or skills? What if you're in a technical role? Ruth Helfinstein, a Senior Software Engineer at WW has been there, and is ready to answer your pressing questions in this hour-long Q&A;! Regardless of how long your career break was, you can return to a career you love and be successful!

You asked, she's answering:

  • How long was your career break?
  • What was the conversation like when you decided to leave?
  • When/ how did you know it was time to return to work?
  • & more!


Ruth is a Senior Software Engineer, currently working on building a personal coaching platform for WW (formerly Weight Watchers). She has a BA in Philosophy and an MS in Computer Science from Stanford. She started her career at Apple, building internal tools using C++, after which she took a multi year hiatus before reinventing herself as a full stack web engineer. Her current tech stack consists of Ruby on Rails, Postgres, React and more.


  • This is my 4th year break from 5 years of my career as an Interactive designer. As I'm trying to get back to work, the title naming has changed to something like UI designer or product designer and the required skillset has changed too. Since I haven't fully mastered my skills when I had to quit, I want to start all over from junior position since I'll be able to learn a lot more than going back to school, but my education background with masters is overqualified for any jr. position. My resume looks I'm expensive yet I don't have skillsets that the position requires. Should I not reveal my masters in my resume?

    Question by Anna on 2019-06-12
  • As a software engineer, how do you prepare and handle the increasingly challenging tech interviews and get a job offer?

    Question by Cheryl on 2019-06-12
  • What sort of networking/career support did you have when you came back to the workforce?

    Question by Meleah on 2019-06-12
  • What pitch did you present to your prospective employers to sell yourself when explaining your career gap and what were some of the responses you received? How did you overcome negative feedback, if any?

    Question by sandra on 2019-06-12
  • What drove your timing on when to return and what other options did you consider (self employed vs corporate)

    Question by JOHN on 2019-06-12
  • What is an average amount of time to take off to raise children without impacting your career/level/pay?

    Question by Melanie on 2019-06-12
  • Where on your resume should you put the reason for taking time away from work?

    Question by Jacqueline on 2019-06-12
  • Did you have to downlevel when re-entering the workplace after a break?

    Question by Trista on 2019-06-12
  • 1) What’s the best way to prepare for a break if you carry the health care benefits for your family?

    Question by Reese on 2019-06-11
  • If you're taking a break after a particularly tough layoff, what advice do you have for selling yourself in cover letters, initial interviews, etc.?

    Question by Bailey Elise on 2019-06-11
  • How do you overcome the gap in your resume? How do you convince the hiring managers to interview you?

    Question by Salma on 2019-06-11
  • What skills would help make me stand out for a position as a developer with WW?

    Question by Dana on 2019-06-11
  • Is the current work for WW freelance or salaried and how did you go from a non-tech BA to a master's in CS? When & how did you learn to program and how did you get employers to notice enough to take you seriously as a programmer?

    Question by Esther on 2019-06-11
  • How did you position this "break" on your resume and in-person when going back on interviews?

    Question by Lizeth on 2019-06-11
  • None tet

    Question by Amanda on 2019-06-11
  • How can a 40+ applicant with 16 years of corporate experience in product development pivot into a new industry? I have my certification in Human Resources, internship expereince, and I am working with recruiters however I am not getting any traction in my job search.

    Question by Nicole on 2019-06-11
  • Do you know of women in other industries (aside from tech) who found it impossible to be hired again after taking time off for family?

    Question by Rhonda on 2019-06-11
  • How did she get career carity when she decided to re-enter the workplace?

    Question by Sophie on 2019-06-11
  • I just had my second child and still deciding if I should try to find a part time job or should I just take a break to focus on my two kids. Do you think you could've done a part time?

    Question by Rocio on 2019-06-11
  • I returned to work as a graphic designer after 18 months as a SAHM, then quit 2 years later to pursue graduate school. Unfortunately, that didn't work out and I'm finding it harder to get a new job after the brief stint in grad school than I did after being home with my son (which I've not been disclosing). I'm feeling pretty hopeless about my prospects, so I am trying to update my skill set. I'm overqualified for most of the jobs I'm applying for, but that doesn't matter to me. It clearly matters to these employers. What am I doing wrong?

    Question by Natosha on 2019-06-11
  • Did you earn any income while you stayed at home to raise your kids?

    Question by Silvia on 2019-06-11
  • How were you able to get the hiring managers to buy into what you did to keep your skill sets during the break?

    Question by Kiyoko on 2019-06-11
  • I am curious to know how did you reinvent yourself? What was the process like to find that alignment of what works for you moving forward?

    Question by Divya on 2019-06-11
  • How was your come back? I have seen women have to start at a lower pay and position when you are on a break.

    Question by Monal on 2019-06-11
  • With the ever changing technology, how do we stay updated without feeling obsolete?

    Question by Sowmya on 2019-06-11
  • How was your break from professional life perceived by prospective employers when you started to transition back to work? Did you feel discriminated against, or like they were hesitant to engage given your time away from the workforce?

    Question by Heidi on 2019-06-11
  • Can you please explain the process you took to be successful in interviews and how was the transition back to work

    Question by Nelly Rany on 2019-06-11
  • What advice would you give to continue to grow your technical skills once you return to work? Thanks!

    Question by Natalie on 2019-06-11
  • How do you explain your absence from the workforce during your time at home? Either on resume or in person. How to turn off the judgement around that decision.

    Question by Amanda on 2019-06-11
  • Just want to hear the lecture. I’m about to have my second kid any day now so this seems very relevant

    Question by Firstname_wp on 2019-06-11
  • I want to get back into the workforce but I don't want to go to a regular 9 to 6 kinda job. I want to know if you have any inputs on how to get into a work from home kind of a career. I was technical writer before my sabbatical for raising my child.

    Question by Bhakti on 2019-06-08
  • I don;t have a specific question

    Question by joanna on 2019-06-07
  • na

    Question by Carol on 2019-06-07
  • How you managed to get rid of hesitation that why industry will accept you at this age instead of young people fresh out of college or young people with some experience ?

    Question by Aditi on 2019-06-07
  • None

    Question by Juwana on 2019-06-07
  • Na

    Question by Nicole on 2019-06-06
  • I'll ask during the conversation.

    Question by Richa on 2019-06-06
  • Do I need to be up front about the gaps in my history, or wait for them to ask?

    Question by Sarah on 2019-06-06
  • Is it a good idea to disclose to the interviewer that you have a career gap because you were a stay-at-home mom?

    Question by Jane on 2019-06-06
  • Nothing at this time

    Question by Maya on 2019-06-06
  • How did you get started?!

    Question by Kimberly on 2019-06-06
  • how did the interview process go when rejoining the job force? Did you feel like you had to explain the gaps?

    Question by aranzasu on 2019-06-06
  • What level of position do you pitch yourself for? I have a friend in HR who told me I was going to have to go back to Junior positions (after a 15 year break) but other people are telling me that I'm overqualified. (I'm getting almost no interviews with really current technical skills, so I'm definitely doing something wrong.)

    Question by Seonaid on 2019-06-05
  • no

    Question by Lucretia on 2019-06-05
  • What were some of the big surprises when you started working again?

    Question by Kayley on 2019-06-04
  • I'm a 3 years old twins mom. I'm a computer engineer and been out of jobs market for about 4years. I want to be profesionally inspired again, to be financially independant and continue to grow as a productive person. Sometimes I get frustrated, is not easy to find opportunities...Any advice?

    Question by Cristina on 2019-06-04
  • Nothing specific, thanks

    Question by Nikki on 2019-05-30

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