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Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

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Cathy Moya
Microsoft

Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Wow we had a wonderful kickoff meeting last week and I'm already chatting with several people who attended. One of my action items was to create a thread where people can introduce themselves. So here it is! (NOTE: be mindful that this is a public forum, so if you want to connect with someone, I suggest using the Private Messaging feature in TechCommunity - click the name and in the profile, use the Send a message button.)

 

Here's a list of suggested things to tell us about yourself:

1) How did you get into working in tech?

2) What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

 

You don't have to be a woman or an ITPro to introduce yourself - we welcome everyone who wants to support women in the ITPro world! 

 

29 Replies

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?
I always liked computers - I was good with the computer class I took with Apple II's my senior year - but no one told me I could major in it in college. So I majored in theater arts, where one of my favorite memories is the lighting TA helping me "steal" the computerized lighting board for the show I was designing, so I wouldn't have to use the manual board. I worked for an environmental group after college and I taught myself DOS and Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS in the pre-Windows age. From there I went to doing temp computer work - I could figure out any program or troubleshoot computer issues. Then I went to teaching end-user apps for ExecuTrain, and from there to teaching Microsoft Network engineering courses, and that's how I got my foot in the door at Microsoft.
2) What is your current tech job?

I run customer feedback programs for System Center Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune. Among other things, I manage our MVP community and our UserVoice site. 
3) What do you like best about working in tech?

I love the people I work with. I'm a total science fiction reading, Dungeons and Dragons playing geek, so I fit in. 
4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers?

My personal mission statement is "Helping people understand things better." I can help women who want to learn about the Microsoft ITPro world and the resources to get certified in Microsoft technology. And I love to organize things and people, like the user group for women ITPros!

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?
I slid into it sideways by starting out as an English Lit teacher, having a hard time finding a job with that career, going to work for a publisher, and finding that the publisher desperately needed someone to teach their employees how to use computers.  I started my first week as the company's official computer instructor, a few days before they upgraded the network from Novell 3.11 to Novell 4.0.  It was not a pretty sight when four out of five floors of a publishing company couldn't print.  So I ended up drafted into the helpdesk, learning how to fix things by reading out of a 3-ring binder they gave me, and doing that for six months before teaching my first class. 

 

2) What is your current tech job?
My career has been focused on SharePoint for the last ten years.  As in, building Server farms, deploying code, and keeping things running.  So in the past year my career has taken a turn again, becoming SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype, Forms, Teams, Yammer, delve, PowerBI, PowerApps, ... and oh yeah and Single Sign-on.  Not to mention all those foundational apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. 

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech?
It's impossible to stop learning.  Well, it might be possible, but only if you went to work for a mountaintop hermit still using an Apple II with a green screen. 

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers?
Teaching. Writing. I've been doing what I can by helping review Scholarship applications each year for the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a worthy cause so I'll give them a shout out here.  Check them out, they could probably always use more reviewers!  https://www.ncwit.org/ 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?

I started working in tech through a series of transitions from other fields. I worked with horses professionally for ten years before I started working other jobs. I had taken web development classes in college which helped me get out of horses and working for a startup as a web developer. From there I, transitioned over to IT Operations and into endpoint management. 

2) What is your current tech job?

I am Adaptiva's technical evangelist. I get to travel the world and talk to people about migrating to and managing Windows 10 in their environments, have discussions around security best practices, and also show them how our products can help.

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

I feel that working in tech is a lot like the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books I read as a child. It is thrilling that things can vary from day to day or month to month. I love not being the smartest person in a room and being challenged to sharpen my skills.

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

Funny enough, not only am I not a good coder, I really have no interest in it. I hope that other women don't think they have to be amazing coders to have a career in IT. There are plenty of ways to flex your technical muscles such as technical project management, technical marketing, and good old troubleshooting. I've always said that personality trumps technical skill. It is more important to have good communication skills and a willingness to stay dedicated when things get tough.

 

I want to hear from you, please introduce yourself!

Solution

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

  • How did you get into working in tech?

 

My family was very poor, we didn’t have money buy computer. I couldn’t get a job after graduated from university, because I was not able to type Chinese fast enough. So I went back to school library, rent a computer for a week to practice type Chinese, a week later I was super good already and I got a job (not as IT). When I was working, I figured I really like the IT department, those people were amazing, since then I knew what I want to be – IT tech!

 

I moved to Finland 17 years ago, 7 years as stayed home mother and now 10 years working in tech.

I started work as trainee when I joined the company, I love everything what I was doing, learned so much by helping customers solve their computer issues.

 

  • What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)

Currently I am working as System Architect. I mostly do all kinds of stuff with ConfigMgr. In the same time involved in many projects, planning implement Azure and EMS for our customers, build automation solutions.  

 

  • What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

It is not just work, it is also my ONLY hobby, it's just simply awesome! :)  

 

  • What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

This is just my own experiences. In the beginning of my IT career, I was interested in many stuffs, whatever I found excited me, I will just jump into it.

I learned things here and there, nothing deep and nothing pro, but later I focused on ConfigMgr, and became a ConfigMgr admin.

I would say it is good to have strong skills in at least one area, and in the same time develop your interests to anything, try it, test it. 

 

I think my strongest skill is "not give up easily (almost never)". Believe in yourself that you can do it!

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

I LOVE what you mentioned about how women need to know that they don't have to be amazing coders to have a career in IT, and that there are plenty of ways to flex those technical muscles! I want to echo what someone said on the first user group call about how there are many support groups / communities for women coders/devs but not so much for IT Pros, so I hope this place can be THE go-to community for all IT Pro women!! :)

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Thanks for sharing, Anne! It's always interesting to see how people from very different backgrounds have found their way into tech :D I'd love to get connected with someone from NCWIT to see how we could partner with them to encourage more women IT Pros to attend our Microsoft Ignite conference - please PM me if you have a contact to share :) Thanks!

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

This is fun to do because I've done many people profiles/ member spotlights by now, but haven't yet done one on myself, so here goes :)

 

1) How did you get into working in tech?

I graduated with a double major in Marketing and Business Law, and while I was initially convinced that I was going to be a lawyer, I became super fascinated by technology and was particularly inspired by how technology can truly empower people all around the world. Microsoft's focus on inclusive technology is especially close to my heart, as it enabled me to really see the "human" side of technology and the power of tech. I first joined Microsoft as an intern in my final year of university, focused on licensing marketing (I know, licenses and subscriptions, ugh!). Once I graduated, I was then hired as a fresh grad via the Microsoft Academy of College Hires (MACH) program, where I got to meet peers my age working in Microsoft offices all around the world. It was an incredible experience and really broadened my worldview. Since then, I've worked in roles across sales, marketing, PR and also technical account management, where I got to partner closely with Premier Field Engineers and technical consultants from Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) to scope and deploy technical solutions for customers in the healthcare, manufacturing and government space. 

 

2) What is your current tech job?

I'm currently the Diversity and Tech community lead for the IT Pro audience, as advocating for greater diversity and inclusion in the tech industry is something that I'm deeply passionate about. Thank you all for being members of this wonderful community! I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work in the exciting and fast-paced tech industry and have benefited immensely from it. Thus, my wish is for more women and people of different abilities to also be able to experience the same great experiences I've had, and to really tap into the amazing opportunities that the tech industry offers.

 

I think that while diversity in terms of gender is important (and getting more women into technology is key, but only one piece of the puzzle!), there is so much more we need to do in terms of pushing for greater inclusion of people with special needs, different cultural beliefs/backgrounds etc. We have a long way to go, but we're going to push the status quo inch by inch until we get there!

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech?

Getting to work with super smart people and soaking up all the amazing ideas and knowledge that the tech industry has to offer. During my time as a Technical Account Manager (TAM) in Singapore, I have fond memories of just spending hours in a meeting room with my senior TAMs and field engineers deep-diving into concepts about technology deployment, whether it was about Active Directory upgrades, multi-step version migration, system health assessments and so on from scratch. Coming from a marketing/law background I knew nothing about such technical knowledge before I took on the role, but I am a super keen learner who devours knowledge voraciously - It goes to show that you can learn and achieve ANYTHING if you put your mind to it, and dedicate time to getting over the hard part of actually learning the concepts well first. I assure you, it'll pay off someday.  

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

I love connecting people, and I think building this Diversity and Tech community is key as it provides a safe, inclusive and welcoming space to talk about our struggles/challenges and also our celebrations in tech. It's not always going to be unicorns and roses - there are going to be days when we feel burnt out, or slighted when someone made an insensitive comment at work, or when we feel like we got passed over for a promotion even though we worked crazy hard on a project. Yet, there is power in knowing that you have fellow sisters out here who have your back, and can encourage you, support you and push you on when you feel like you have that mental burnout coming up, or just need that extra bit of lift to help you regain your footing. Communities are an important place for building strong relationships and networks in our careers too, so let's make sure we all lean into this together! :)

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

How did you get into working in tech?

I have always enjoyed taking things apart to understand what makes them tick. As a kid I would dissect flowers, take apart clocks, and read encyclopedias until the sun came up instead of sleeping. While my family members all had these same traits, I lacked the one that made the gore of the medical field tolerable, so while the rest of my family are doctors and nurses – I decided to apply my problem solving and curiosity to technology.

 

What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)

I started my current job at a large university about 5 years ago as a SharePoint and Office 365 administrator. Previously, I had worked as an IT generalist in finance, health care, and higher education – and jokingly would tell people that if it plugged into a wall, it was my problem – but that was not far from the truth! I have done everything from running network cables and configuring firewalls to administering IBM iSeries mainframes and virtualizing desktops to repairing printers and other hardware. About 10 years ago, I was introduced to SharePoint and found myself gravitating towards it – however, because I lived in a small, remote town I was expected to be “THE” IT person and didn’t see much opportunity to focus on a single technology. I kept working and found ways to learn SharePoint in my spare time, and eventually ended up in my current job – 1,500 miles away from that small town where I grew up. I was terrified to uproot my kids and move so far away, but it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love what I do and at the university have taken a dusty old idea of SharePoint that wasn’t getting much use and turned it into such a popular service on campus that even with a larger team now we stay hopping all the time!

 

What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

I was cripplingly shy when I was younger and could not have imagined later in life that I would be a dynamic speaker and teacher of technology. I love evangelizing to groups about how they can use technology to make their lives easier. My favorite feeling is seeing the lightbulbs and excitement build in a crowd as they start to understand in a real and personal sense what technology can do for them. Next week I will be doing a workshop for over 300 people, many of whom are hardcore Drupal users – and I can’t wait to change their minds about what they think SharePoint and Office 365 can do!

 

What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

People have told me I am the luckiest person they have ever met – but they don’t understand that I have gotten where I am from hard work, persistence, and taking calculated risks. My favorite quote is from Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I’m good at helping recognize those opportunities and being prepared when they present themselves. Additionally, I love to network with other likeminded individuals and am happy to host meet ups in New England if anyone is interested!

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

  • How did you get into working in tech?
    1. Way back when I was in middle school, my neighbour, had what could have been a Sinclair computer. It was the coolest thing that I had ever seen up until that time in my 10 years. In high school, I took the only computer class they offered at the time. I was the only female in the class and I struggled with the coding part of the course. I was teased and felt like a failure. In the hardware portion of the class, I excelled. I was the first student in the class to configure and turn on the “lights” on my breadboard. Fast forward a few years and I ended up in a Computer Science Tech program in college. That was back in the early 90’s and I have looked back since.

 

  • What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)
    1. Over the last several years I have been working with Microsoft cloud technologies focusing on Azure and Office 365. For the last 2 years, I have been creating and delivering Azure and Office 365 courses for LinkedIn Learning. Prior to that, I was at Microsoft Canada in an SMB PTA role. In this role, I assisted SMB Partners build their cloud offerings. In addition, had the awesome job of travelling across Canada delivering Azure and Server training to SMB partners.  

 

  • What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)
    1. I love the challenge and having to always be learning. Being in tech keeps me on my toes and I’m never bored.

 

  • What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 
    1. After 25 years as an IT Pro, I have a large skill set that can help women either advance or enter the field. At this point in my career, I’m more focused on mentoring and encouraging IT Pros to consider moving to cloud technologies. As cloud technologies continue to grow we will continue to see a shortage of skilled professionals in this field. This provides a fantastic opportunity for IT Pros to expand their skillsets and design their futures.

 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

This group is a great idea. There is not much support for women in IT. I think there is a lot more support for women who code. Years ago I went to a meeting of a local group for "women in technology" and was disappointed when the topic of the meeting was focused on fashion. I'm not into typical women's interests like fashion. I remember asking someone at the table what a "twin set" was (that the speaker mentioned) and they looked at me like I was a moron (apparently a twin set is a matching sweater and top).

 

1) How did you get into working in tech?

My college degree is in biology but you have to have a graduate degree to work in the field, so I ended up working as a secretary/office manager. 10 years later, I was helping my husband run a small non-profit out of our home when an old PC was donated to it. I bought a DOS 3.3 book and read it cover to cover (this was 1990) and attended local computer user groups. Since the non-profit was not supporting us, we started using the computer to offer desktop publishing and word processing services. As we learned more, we were able to start doing computer consulting for individuals and small businesses and teach courses in PC skills. However, I couldn't get enough business to make a living so I took courses in Novell Netware, so I could go work for a company. It took several months of job hunting but eventually I landed a job (in 1995) doing system/network admin and PC support, using Windows NT servers. It was a startup so I was the only IT person and rather overworked but it was a great learning opportunity until everyone was laid off a year and a half later. I remember my first 6 weeks at that job I was so lost, I felt like I'd been thrown in the deep end of the pool. My boss knew next to nothing about IT so I was on my own. The internet didn't exist yet so I was going on CompuServe every day asking questions about Windows NT and going to monthly Windows NT user groups.

 

One of the companies I worked for offered tuition reimbursement so I was able to pursue a Masters in Telecommunications where I took numerous courses in computer networking, such as TCP/IP. I got my degree in 1998. Since I didn't want to be a programmer, I pursued that degree instead of a CIS degree. I have continued to do a combination of systems/network admin and PC support since 1995 to now, at various companies, mostly small ones. I find that my years of work as an office manager helps me do my job because I have administrative skills that help with the unavoidable administrative tasks that IT departments also have to do--dealing with audits, purchasing, budgeting, tracking inventory, etc. Also, I am really good at writing, which comes in handy for documenting IT procedures and helping my managers write coherent emails. 

 

2) What is your current tech job?

System Administrator at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech?

I don't get bored. When I was a secretary, I got bored, because I am smart. With tech jobs, there is always something new to learn or something challenging to troubleshoot. And there is a lot of variety to the job, at least in small companies. Also, I like interacting with end users. It's rewarding to help solve their problems. I would hate to just sit and write code all day. I would go nuts.

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into IT Pro work or advance in IT Pro careers?

I am good at writing resumes so I can help people with that. I have seen many really bad resumes from both men and women in IT. I don't know how they even got their past jobs when their resumes are so poorly done. I did have help with my resume from my cousin (who is even better than me at resumes and is another woman in IT!) and as a result it's pretty easy for me to get responses to my resume when applying for jobs. The difficulty I've faced when job hunting is that I don't have all the skills that a particular employer is looking for (because I didn't have the opportunity at a past job to do something) or I have not worked in the size of environment that they are requiring experience in (like a large enterprise).

 

Actually, one of my pet peeves is that many employers will not consider a candidate for a position unless that candidate has every technical skill that is listed on the desired list and has worked in exactly the same size environment, even if the candidate is capable of learning the missing skills. And then companies complain that they can't find IT people to hire. The people are out there--they just can't check off every item on the list of required skills. These lists that the companies have of required skills are often really long--they're asking for a person who knows everything and each company has a different list of required skills. I'm baffled as to how they think they will find a person that precisely fits their list.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Thanks for sharing, Margaret! I totally didn't know what a twin-set is/was either since you just mentioned it, so there you go I also learnt something new today. I loved reading about your passion and tenacious determination to acquire the skills you needed, be it through your Masters of Telecomms program, or even just going on to CompuServe to find the answers you were looking for. You are so self-driven and an inspirational role model indeed!

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Hi Everyone,

 

I just came across this group last week on Twitter and happy to be engaged.  I look forward to future interactions.

 

1) How did you get into working in tech?

More than 20 years ago when considering my future career options, I was working as a call center supervisor, at the time, and decided I wanted to make a move from business administration to tech.  I knew I needed a tech related degree so went back to school in the evenings to complete the required upper graduate level classes. It was a pretty grueling experience, because I had a demanding job, but I fortunately got through it and completed a BS in Information Technology. I was able to quickly secure a position in tech thus beginning my new career.

 

2) What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)

 

I am currently have the role of Enterprise Architect for DCX Technology.  I work with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Applications suite of products with an emphasis on Customer Engagement.  My key responsibilities include identifying the "right" applications for the client and helping them envision and deploy a roadmap of solutions that will position them to realize a digital transformation across their organization with respect to intelligent and informed customer interactions, analytics, workplace productivity and more.

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

 

Tech positions are always in demand and as long as we stay up to date on our technology stack, we can almost always be assured of a job.  Tech career opportunities are extremely diverse and I believe there is one that fits just about every skill and passion.  There is a significant amount of opportunity to map out a career path that is challenging and rewarding.

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

 

I have been in the tech industry for about 20 years now and have held many and diverse positions to include: Systems Administration for Microsoft business solution products, consulting, independent contractor, cloud services, business administration and more.  I have and continue to successfully play the role of mentor to help others achieve their goals.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

This is a way cool story! Never give up easily!!!

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

I just heard about this-- I'm excited to participate!

 

1) How did you get into working in tech?

There's a ton of backstory, starting when I was 8, but the career part basically starts when a tech-focused high school opened in time for my 10th grade year, I transferred and took the Certified Novell Admin training class in exchange for being tech support for the school, which led to an internship that summer as tech support at a local company. When they did a Cisco Networking Academy at our school the next year, I took it and got my CCNA, and another internship... and here I am 15+ years later.

2) What is your current tech job?

I'm a Sr. Program Manager at Microsoft. My day job is working on Skype and Microsoft Teams, focused on infrastructure.

3) What do you like best about working in tech?

I love that it always changes and you have to learn and grow and change with it and sometimes, influence how it changes. There's also a ton of opportunity to use it to do good in the world-- my job helps people around the world communicate with one another. That's super cool.

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers?

I'm happy to share how I've been building this sort of hybrid career path, that blends non-technical and technical work for people who enjoy parts of both. Also, I can talk operations all day-- I've spent my career in that space.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?

 

I started in college to obtain a degree in Geology.  After the 1st year I dropped out.  I hated college.  My first job was an entry level position at a bank.  After about a year there, I was told here is a PC and we need to automate this process.  I was given a book on Lotus 1-2-3.  It was love at first bootup.  I still remember that computer the IBM 286 with a 12 in black and white monitor.  From there I received an associate degree in programming and moved into an IT position and became a Novell Administrator.  From there I worked in many different positions learning more with each move.  I transitioned from Novell and Zenworks, to Microsoft and SMS.  I have held positions as desktop support installing PCs and printers to building and administrating servers.  With each progression in my career I obtained certifications and eventually obtained my bachelors degree in IT.   Over the many years I have learned new technology and found that the hardest part was learning interpersonal and communication skills.  When I started the say was if you cannot deal with people go into IT you do not need personal skills. 

I am lucky in that I had very strong female role models in my family that help to push me to move away from my family to obtain jobs with more opportunities.  I sounds strange to be proud of but I am the first person in my family to move out of New York.  I always said I could live anywhere as long as my cats can come with me.

 

 

2) What is your current tech job?

 

I am a Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Air Products and Chemicals.  I was working on the System Center team working with SCCM and Orchestrator.   My focus for the last 10 years has been on deploying operating systems, applications, and Windows Updates.  I recently transitioned into a role focusing on End User Computing.  We are starting to look at Modern Management especially AutoPilot and Co-Management.

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech?

 

I love solving puzzles and problems.  The constant challenge of learning new technology and implementing it.

 

What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers?

 

Learn soft skills.  While we deal in technology and you have to know it.  It is OK to say I do not know but I can find out.  It is important to have good communication and listening skills.  Most of the challenges in my career were not due to lack of knowledge or technical skills, but not knowing how to have conversations and present my ideas.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Thanks for sharing your story, Dawn! Reading about how your background was initially in Geology reminds me of this other female engineering leader in Microsoft named Emma Williams, who initially wanted to study Old Norse and Anglo Saxon English in college but eventually found herself in tech and went on to become a Corporate Vice President in the engineering org! Very inspiring to read how there are many paths into tech - some planned, and others unplanned, but here we all are anyway! :) It's awesome.

I think that old saying you mentioned about how "if you cannot deal with people, go into IT because you don't need interpersonal skills" certainly doesn't ring true in today's modern tech world. IT professionals are increasingly the primary focus for businesses, as leaders and CEOs realize that technology is the key enabler to modernize their business, whether it's for marketing, HR, finance functions and so on. The IT Dept needs to become the trusted advisor for their business counterparts and work closely to deploy solutions effectively to meet the organization's business needs, so definitely lots of interpersonal skills required IMO! I think that's great because it's a wonderful opportunity to brush up on super valuable interpersonal skills and branding, which in turn can really help drive one's career :)

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Hi Shona,

 

I agree the old saying no longer applies.  It is only in the last 10 years I have been able to master these soft skills.  I continue to listen to the books Getting Things Done, Difficult Conversations, and Influencing without Authority.  These were my favorites but there are many others out there that teach these very important skills.

 

I remember an old boss saying "Angela is better with people, I will have her go to the meetings and you can do the work."  Needless to say I left that company soon afterwards but it was a valuable lesson, it is not just knowing your job, which is very important, but selling yourself and communication skills.  Without the ability to communicate with non-technical people, you are limiting your career growth.

 

I have also gone through some of the training on LinkedIN for this.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Wow, that old boss was sure awful indeed! Kudos to you for having the courage to stand up for yourself and take the bold step in leaving to pursue an organization that truly values you instead! Would love to hear more about your story sometime - perhaps in the next monthly Women IT Pro group Skype call that Cathy runs!

Also, we'd love to have you on the Community Mentors Program - whether as a mentor or mentee, or even both, whichever you think fits best in terms of where you're at in your career. You can apply here: https://aka.ms/joincommunitymentors! :)

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Cool! @Dawn Wertz, do you have any training or books you'd recommend?

 

I read Search Inside Yourself recently, which had some interesting insights. Right now I'm reading Marshall Rosenberg's Non Violent Communication, which is not at all what I was expecting from the title -  his communication process works as well in all kinds of situations, business, personal, political. 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

@Cathy - Might be worth creating a new thread in the Member Resources page where people can pile on with recommendations on books they liked/found useful! What do you think? :)

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?

Out of school, I managed large scale spectator events; many of which took me all over the US.  At 21 years old I learned what it means to be 'thrown to the wolves' and have my 'feet held to the fire'.  Planning and managing events took a lot of physical work, long hours, excellent organization, and ability to track multiple 'issues' at one time in a very fast paced environment.  The show must always go on - even if something doesn't turn out as expected.  I was recruited to join a team at Microsoft that managed online events using many of the skills I already had, minus the physical part.  I eventually moved into user-adoption for our UC solutions and, while doing so, learned enough about our technology to build user-feedback programs.  This allowed me to use my gift in building relationships along with the technical muscles I was starting to stretch to bridge our engineering team with users out in the real world.  I never considered myself "technical" - and that might be something most people don't say when they work in IT.  Truth be told, I still find my strength in communication and relationship building more so than understanding the details around how our technology is built.  The great thing?  That part is super important when trying to build a product outside of a vacuum.

 

2) What is your current tech job? 

I think I have the greatest job in the world. I get to create a space for thousands of customers, and partners to collaborate with one another and with some of the best and brightest engineers in the world to improve the Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams products and the overall customer experience. Outside of the online Microsoft Tech Community, I collaborate with community events and user groups and represent our product with our MVPs.  The Community is a place to ask questions, get answers, find information, and hear stories. It's a place to share passions and learn from others'.  Working together with community-led user groups is important for us to be able to scale our efforts.  I urge you to be active in the Community - both virtually, and in person - to share your own knowledge and experiences and ask for the same from others.  

 

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech? 

Technology moves fast and Microsoft Teams moves incredibly fast.  It's exciting to watch a product develop and evolve - and finding ways to positively impact product development is awesome.  It feels really good to see those "ah-ha" moments when our engineering team listens to members of our community talk and to see changes in product based on the way people work.  Technology is about people and understanding their needs to create something useful.  When people think about "tech", they think of coding.  Really, relationship building and listening is an integral part of product development.  

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

Every IT company needs all kinds of people - accountants, marketers, researchers, coders and testers.  Don't put yourself in a box.  I've advanced in my career by showing the value of listening to the customer.  In 'Hit Refresh', Satya Nadella says we should "obsess about our customers and meet their unarticulated needs.  When we talk to customers, we need to listen".  What better way to understand the importance of your work than to have your CEO speak those words.  "We learn with a beginners mind then bring them what they need".  If you don't consider yourself technical - or don't have interest in being an engineer, that doesn't mean you can't work in IT.   

 

Would love to connect - feel free to PM me or connect on Twitter @lauriepottmeyer 

 

 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Hi,
I find that this community is a great idea ! So here's my introduction.

1) How did you get into working in tech?
I pretty much always wanted to be an archivist or a librarian, so I graduated in Information Science. And despite what we might think, there was a lot of IT classes that we had to do. The purpose was to be able to understand (not especially do) IT and to discuss with IT people. And I loved those classes. I still tried to find a job as a librarian since this was my vocation but the first job I got was in an Information and Knowledge management unit in an IT department. And I'm still working in this department. I started slowly in tech, being records manager, knowledge manager but the content management part of my work took more and more time since we are moving to a digital workplace environment and we had to rollout SharePoint to all the organisation.

2) What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)
Right now, I'm the Data and Information Manager on a Collaborative Platforms Migration project and I love doing that. So doing data analysis, data mapping, information architecture and fitting information management best practices with the business requirements and the possibilities of SharePoint.

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)
The challenges it has to offer. Putting all together the business needs, the security, legal, technical constraints, information management best practices. Finding solutions. Bringing more efficient ways to work collaboratively to the business. Explaining something to a user and seeing that it will be helpful.

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers?
I think it's good to see that doing literary studies doesn't restrain you from working in IT. You can still enter in this world via another way and find your place in it. Technical skills doesn't matter that much, you will get them and it's evolving fast. Maybe it's more about having an evolving and adapting mindset.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

First of all I am so excited to have found this group.  I always see groups for women coders but this is the first one I have seen focused on Infrastructure.  THANK YOU!!!  I cannot wait to see what this develops into!

 

1) How did you get into working in tech?

When I started out over 20 years ago, it was not really a career decision.  I was faced with an old application that was running on DOS that no one knew how to modify and I wanted to figure it out.  Before I knew it I was getting asked questions about general desktop support stuff since we really only had one IT guy and he was extremely busy.  Before I knew it he was moving on to another role and they needed someone to fill his position.  To my surprise he recommended me to take over and so I spent a great deal of time learning SCO-Unix, Netware, Networking, Telephony, Windows, printers, desktops, and pretty much any other technology I could get my hands on.  That was before the internet really provided any good information and so I read manuals and learned how to troubleshoot on my own.  For the first time, I really felt like I could fix anything I faced and it was invigorating.    From there, I continued to challenge my self in various technical leadership roles to really learn everything I can about all areas of IT.

2) What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?) 

I currently work as the Manager of Infrastructure Engineering for a large manufacturing company.  My team helps to bring in new infrastructure technology and set standards in telephony, email, hardware, virtualization, OS, networking, containers, automation, etc.  It is exciting to get to learn about all of the new technologies and how we can improve the environment for not only our customers but also others within IT who do the day to day support of the environment.

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

I really just love the technology and learning about it.  Although I am not as hands on anymore, I spend time talking about the technology with my team and brainstorming on developing the solutions.  I also spend time in my off hours reading about technology changes in the  infrastructure space.  My husband, who also works in IT, and I also enjoy talking about complex issues or new features.  

Being a manager in this part of IT is also exciting.  I enjoy helping to bridge the gap between my team and others by improving communication, fixing processes and even helping to develop the non-technical skills of each member of my team. The only downside is that I rarely come across women who work in my area of IT so my hope is that one day I will actually get to add a woman onto my team of all men but first I have to actually have one apply when I have an open position!

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

Although I like to think I am pretty good at the technical stuff, I think my strongest skill is team building\mentoring.  I am typically able to take a team that seems dysfunctional and build them up to be what the company needs.  There are many things I do to accomplish this and each team is different based on the environment and personalities.  In most instances those that are non-performers become performers, those that have trouble communicating become very good at collaborating and those who want to move into a leadership role end up accomplishing that goal.  I say most instances because there are always one or two on a team that will never change no matter what I try.  But typically I am able to provide some subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, feedback to really make a change.  When those changes happen though it is like winning the lottery which is why I really love the role as a manager in IT.

 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Hi Cathy,

Your personal mission statement is awesome!  I also love that you started this group.  I look forward to seeing this group grow.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Hi Ami,

That is a pretty big transition from horses to tech.  What an exciting job though to travel and talk about managing Windows 10.  Like you, I am not a good coder but there is real value in those who can do it.  That is one skill I always wanted but could not really get my brain to do it well.

 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

Adrienne,

What a great quote.  I agree that much of it is hard work and taking risks.  It may seem scary at times but the challenge is well worth it.

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?

Interest, timing luck, passion and trail and failure, 

 

2) What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)

 

Systems Administrator at a private all boys catholic high school

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

 

Everyday is a new challange and you must relay on what you already know in addition to having a strong google-fo and have lots of fortitude. 

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

I know O365 admin inside and out, Palo Alto firewalls guru as well, Cisco IOS and some powershell. 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?

Interest, timing luck, passion and trail and failure, 

 

2) What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)

 

Systems Administrator at a private all boys catholic high school

 

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

 

Everyday is a new challenge and you must relay on what you already know in addition to having a strong google-fo and have lots of fortitude. 

 

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

I know O365 admin inside and out, Palo Alto firewalls guru as well, Cisco IOS and some powershell. 

Re: Women ITPros - Post your intro here!

1) How did you get into working in tech?

I was trained in Architecture (building buildings) originally, and one summer working in a computer store my Dad ran, saw AutoCAD 1.0 and realized the world was changing--I already really enjoyed building computers and computer graphics software.  Did Consulting for 10 years before joining Microsoft.

2) What is your current tech job? (or if you aren't in tech yet, what kind of job you think you might like?)

Digital Advisor for US Public Sector Civilian (government, federal)

3) What do you like best about working in tech? (or what do you think you might like best about working in tech?)

Problem solving, making a difference.  Envisioning and watching the crazy ways our customers use the technology.  The juncture of people, process, and technology is endlessly fascinating.

4) What skills do you have that might help women either get into ITPro work or advance in ITpro careers? 

Experience, over 22 years, and dozens of engagements each year.  Talking to CxOs, innovative thinking on how to put together and execute on the technology.  My specialty is mass deployments, which tends over overlap many technologies, not just Microsoft products. 

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