Victoria Vitale has always had a passion for computers, but that passion isn't what drove her to become a software developer.
It was practicality.
"I needed a job that could pay rent!" explains Victoria with a wry smile. A friend suggested she apply for a data analyst role, telling her that she could learn any necessary skills on the job. A few months into the role, Victoria realized that friend was right—and that she wanted to grow her skillset even more and become a developer.
We sat down with Victoria to hear more about how she consciously built the career that she wanted—including her current role as an engineering manager at remote design tool company MURAL, and what advice she has for other people looking to do the same.
Putting Her Hand Up
Victoria, who hails from and lives in Buenos Aires, got her first engineering job because she spoke English. She learned everything else she needed, from how to structure databases to use SQL, once she got there. When she was working her second database job, she realized she could apply the same technique in the software space.
She just had to ask for the opportunity to do so.
"I was very curious about how things worked, so I started collaborating with the [software development] team whenever I could," says Victoria. She offered to QA for them—and then had to teach herself basic programming in a week's time when they took her up on it.
"That's when I knew I wanted to focus on that," says Victoria, who adds that she absorbed all the knowledge she could from that team before eventually switching into a developer role.
She faced a little imposter syndrome about the fact that she hadn't studied programming formally (though she was doing a second degree in multimedia design and web development). "There were a lot of pieces I had to put together as I went," says Victoria. "But I stayed very curious and motivated, and I trusted my team to help me."
Scaling with MURAL
Victoria was getting coffee with a friend who just happened to work at MURAL when she met some of his coworkers. "I saw the people and how happy they were, how they looked working together, how motivated they were, and I was hooked," she says. There wasn't an opening at the time, but she deployed her characteristic patience and applied as soon as there was one.
The job she ended up getting at MURAL was as an individual contributor—a step down from what she'd been doing at her previous company, where she was a lead software developer. Victoria didn't think twice about taking it. "It was an opportunity to work on a project where, even as an IC, I would have a lot of [opportunities to give] feedback on what was happening. At the time, there were 30 of us across just two teams, and I had a chance to build the product from scratch," she says. As excited as she was to develop hands-on product knowledge, she also knew that one day she'd like to return to a leadership role: "It was always in my mind that I wanted to come back to [management.]"
While she soaked up all of the product knowledge she could, MURAL grew. First it tripled, hitting nearly 100 employees. Victoria's mentor gave her a stretch project, and when she crushed it, he asked her to be a team lead of the newly-formed enterprise pillar.
"It was a mixture of me being passionate and curious, and him teaching me, seeing that potential, and wanting to help me grow," she reflects. "That's definitely key. Even if you're super motivated and enthusiastic about growing, if someone doesn't give you the space to do it, it's very hard."
Then MURAL hit another milestone that freed up a lot of space: it grew to 700 employees. Leadership realized that the team lead role needed to be split into technical leadership and people management responsibilities, and Victoria's manager asked her which role she was more interested in. As the only woman tech lead in a group of 11, she decided to stay on the technical side to deepen her skills there.
But a few months later, when she realized that the team really needed help scaling its strategy and hiring to keep up with growth, she decided to pursue the engineering management path.
"It wasn't a hard conversation," says Victoria. "My manager said, 'Hey, you're doing this already—why don't you step up to it [in a new role]?'"
Victoria says she had lots of company support as she grew into a bigger management role. MURAL provided resources for hiring and focused on creating a truly global and remote culture where everyone could thrive.
"My growth at MURAL has been very organic. At the time I joined, I knew that one day I wanted to have another leadership role, but I couldn't know yet if MURAL would be the place for me to do it… As it turned out, as the company grew, so did I," says Victoria.
3 Tips for Engineers Wanting to Grow Their Careers
Victoria's combination of open-mindedness and determination has led her through an impressive career in engineering. Now that part of her role requires her to manage the career paths of others, she hopes she can pay that forward, starting with her advice for developers:
- Be curious! "Keep your eyes open and don't put yourself in a box," she says. "Get to know the product, the people. Doing that not only enriches you and makes you a better professional, it also empowers you."
- Be humble. When coaching her team, Victoria is careful to tell them what they're doing well along with what they need to work on. "Know your strengths, but also know what you still have to learn and what areas you can grow in. That leaves you open to learning from others," she says.
- Always teach others. Management might not be for everyone, says Victoria. She'll sometimes tell people that she thinks they'll be great tech leads and hear that they are uninterested in management. She doesn't force them, because that makes everyone involved miserable, she explains—instead, Victoria encourages them to share what they know with others, even if in a more informal mentorship or training capacity versus a full-out management role. "Pay back as much as you get from your surroundings and the people you work with," she says.
From September 12-15, 2022, PowerToFly hosted a four-day virtual event, featuring a three day summit and single day virtual job fair.
To kick off the event, attendees had the opportunity to partake in a one-hour guided networking session followed by three full days of fireside chats and panels where they were able to listen and ask questions to experts and thought leaders across multiple industries.
Featured Summit Topics Included:
- The Art & Science of How to Clarify Your Best Fit Career Path
- Going Back to the Drawing Board: How to Navigate Major Career Shifts
- Pulling Back the Curtain: Understanding What’s Happening Behind the Scenes In the Hiring Process
- 4 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door to a New Career
- Nailing the Basics: How to Grow with Intention and Purpose
- How to Break Into a New Industry Without Starting Over
Companies We Hosted At The Job Fair:
- Bank of America | Hiring for: Senior Financial Analysts, Business Bankers, Senior Technology Managers, and more!
- ScienceLogic | Hiring for: Technical Support Engineers, Chief Marketing Officers, Product Managers, Executive Assistants, and more!
- PowerToFly | Hiring for: Global DEIB Strategist & Trainers, Account Executives, Support Specialists, Events Specialists, and more!
Thank you for joining 4 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door to a New Career with Flatiron School Career Coach Betsy Kent! In case we weren’t able to get to your question in the Q&A, or if you thought of additional questions after we wrapped, here are two ways you can contact the Flatiron School Admissions team directly:
- Schedule a casual 10-minute chat with a Flatiron School Admissions rep
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attending information sessions, panels, and workshops is the best way to get a sneak peek into what studying at Flatiron School is like — so don't miss what else is coming up! You can find a list of our events HERE.
Starting out as a viral trend on TikTok, the phrase “quiet quitting” has since taken over headlines everywhere from NPR to the Harvard Business Review. But what, exactly, is quiet quitting — and why are so many business leaders getting this so-called “crisis” wrong??
What is quiet quitting?
Per Psychology Today, “quiet quitting” isn’t actually quitting in the two-week notice sense of the word. It’s when employees keep doing their job, but only do the work that’s in their job description or covered by their explicit responsibilities. No going above and beyond. No late hours. No taking on extra projects that don’t come with extra remuneration.
Gallup similarly defines the trend as employees who are “not engaged” at work — people who “do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job.” Per their research, that’s a full 50% of the American workforce.
Why quiet quitting isn’t actually a crisis
As a burgeoning attitude toward work, quiet quitting makes perfect sense. With the challenges and stresses of the last few years impacting all workers — but especially working parents, people of color, women, and other marginalized groups — employees are looking for ways to set boundaries, disengage from work, and find working rhythms that work for them and their lives.
And that’s something companies should be supporting. Employers’ responsibility, after all, isn’t to slap a Band-Aid on the problems that are driving quiet quitting in order to get productivity metrics up. It’s to create the conditions for employees to succeed, with work that can be accomplished within reasonable working hours, and to incentivize and tangibly reward any engagement that goes beyond quiet-quitting levels.
It’s time we got this clear. Quiet quitting was never the crisis. Expecting employees to go above and beyond at work in order to maybe stand a shot at a pay raise and promotion next year was.
If you want to ensure your company culture is creating opportunities for folks to feel truly engaged, we’ve rounded up the steps to take below.
8 things your company needs to do to stop facilitating quiet quitting
Quiet quitting doesn’t mean that employees don’t want to work. It means that everyone — employees and employers alike — are recognizing, more than ever, that the workplace can and should be evolving to meet the needs of everyone involved in making work happen. Here are some ways that companies can ensure they are doing that, sourced from McKinsey research on burnout and engagement:
1. Hold your leadership accountable.
Culture is set by the people on the ground, and you need to know that your managers and leaders are creating a culture that’s supportive of mental health. This looks like incorporating mental health questions into regular employee satisfaction surveys, so you have data to track, and including the management of employee well-being as part of how leaders are evaluated and compensated. It also means getting rid of toxic leaders.
2. Destigmatize mental health and boundaries.
Most employers know that stigma exists at work, despite best intentions to fight it. But when employees are afraid to ask for help with mental health needs or to request accommodations so they can do their best work, everyone suffers. Companies can work to destigmatize the issue by highlighting senior leaders’ own experiences with mental health. Vulnerability can help promote psychological safety, as can rewarding employees for setting boundaries and using mental health and wellness benefits.
3. Evolve the kind of benefits you offer.
45% of people who have recently left their jobs said that their care responsibilities were a big part of their decision. Do the benefits your company offers reflect that reality? For instance — if employees must be on-site, can you offer on-site childcare? If not, do you offer a childcare stipend? Do you know what issues they are most struggling with, and are you responding?
4. Promote sustainable working hours.
Do your employees need to be at work — whether online or at the office — from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? Or can they set those hours to fit their own schedules? Do you have flexible work policies that are available to everyone, no matter their level of seniority? Hybrid work can facilitate unfair treatment when policies aren’t clear and universally applicable.
5. Provide opportunities for employees to build social ties.
Another reason employees are disengaged at the office? Lack of social support. It can be hard to make connections over video calls and chat, especially for new employees or those who haven’t worked remotely before. Investing in team building can help give employees access to social connections that make their work more meaningful over time.
6. Enable right-size workloads.
As employment has ebbed and flowed over the pandemic, and especially now during the Great Resignation, many companies are finding themselves short-staffed. But piling more work on the people who have stayed isn’t a sustainable solution — it just speeds up their own burnout. Creating
7. Facilitate upskilling and reskilling at work.
Per the McKinsey study linked above, employers who offer reskilling and upskilling opportunities end up with more engaged employees. It pays off for everyone involved: giving employees the chance to laterally move into a different job in order to learn a new set of skills can predict employee retention 250% more than compensation can, for instance.
8. Strengthen your commitment to DEIB.
Employees don’t want to work somewhere they don’t feel like they belong. McKinsey calls out five key action areas when it comes to making a DEIB commitment real: ensuring representation, holding leadership accountable, increasing transparency (like with analytics on promotions and pay), tackling issues with a zero-tolerance policy, and embracing intersectionality.
Check out PowerToFly's DEIB solutions for employers.
If you ask for advice about how to get a job at Google, taking an improv class is probably not something you’d expect to hear.
Yet, Monica Silva Gutierrez, Senior Program Manager at Google, found that improv not only helped transform her into the effective leader she is today but also empowered her to ditch the mentality of what she calls, “second class citizen” syndrome.
“Taking feedback is not easy for a person of color. When I used to get constructive feedback at work, this ‘second class citizen’ syndrome would creep into my mind, telling me I’m not good enough and I’m never going to get a seat at the table,” she shares.
For Monica, the principles of improv helped her to take feedback and run with it, rather than taking it personally.
“Improvisation really helped me learn how to integrate professional feedback and innovate on it, which is very much a part of the culture at Google,” she says.
We sat down with Monica to find out more about how her varied experiences influenced her career trajectory and her journey toward embracing her heritage in her professional life, and the advice she has for other Latinas to find their footing in the tech world.
From Texas Border Town to Change Management Powerhouse
Monica grew up in a border town in Texas and felt the pressure early on to assimilate to American culture for the sake of her success. She had taken the last name of her non-Latinx stepfather, and she has a white-passing appearance, which made assimilating easier.
“I was never really in touch with my ‘latinidad' as we call it because I was always trying to fit in. I have white-presenting features, so I could pretend,” she reflects.
She went on to study political science at St. Mary’s University, a Hispanic-serving school. Being around thousands of young adults just like her opened the door to her Latina identity a little wider.
“I'm glad I went there and had that experience, to be surrounded by people who looked like me and came from similar places,” she says.
After graduation, Monica’s career took her through some pretty interesting — and diverse — experiences. She worked as a Political Assistant on the Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign, at the White House in the Department of Energy, as Director of Events at a meditation ashram (where she learned about improv), and as an executive in the nonprofit sector for democracy and social justice reform organizations.
The common thread throughout these experiences has been Monica’s aptitude for taking a practical approach to managing change.
“Throughout my career, I’ve built teams, grown them to scale, and helped them pivot and change,” she explains.
The Value of Sponsorship
While working in the nonprofit sector, Monica struck up a friendship with a tech founder through her meditation community. This person became an invaluable sponsor who opened doors for her to work at the intersection of nonprofit and tech.
“He took an interest in me and my career, and had access to opportunity, which I didn't have,” she says.
When her sponsor was working as a VP at Google, he tapped her for a Chief of Staff position. Google was focused on building an inclusive culture where everyone belongs, and he was certain that Monica was the best person to navigate these changes. She wasn’t so sure.
She remembers thinking: “I'm not a typical hire. I don't have a CS background. Also, I'm more of a generalist, and Google tends to hire people who are specialists and experts.”
However, after studying up on Google culture and preparing for her interviews with the help of a recruiter and career coach, she got the job. She then spent years successfully guiding the company through a major pivot, utilizing and building on her existing skills to help organizations transform from the inside out.
Hard Conversations, Reclaiming Identity
Monica is proud to work at a place that isn’t afraid to have hard conversations and to act on the conclusions of those conversations.
“Google is on the right side of some really tough values conversations that corporate America is going through. It's curious, and it wants to find ways to solve problems with compassion. Compassion is in Google’s DNA,” she shares.
Having these hard conversations with compassion provided the space for Monica to explore her identity more. Finally, the door to her latinidad was fully opened and she now feels that she has reclaimed her Latina identity.
“There were two versions of me: one at work and one at home,” she remembers. “But Google is a place where I could explore myself more, and I've been given permission to be me. Because Google is willing to have those tough conversations, I was inspired to publicly ‘come out’ as Latina.”
Part of that coming out was changing her married name to a combination of her mother’s and grandmother’s maiden names to honor the Latina matriarchs of her family.
She has also prioritized building community as the co-founder of the employee resource group (ERG) Latinas@Google, as well as uplifting Latina talent whenever she can — she learned through experience the impact a sponsor can have, and it’s a lesson she’s never forgotten.
“Someone else took a chance on me, and I want to do the same for others. I see so much potential and heart in the Latinx community and I want to shine as much light on that as I can,” she says.
3 Tips for Latinas in a Shifting Tech World
Monica thinks that the tech landscape for Latinas still isn't ideal but she's optimistic. On the one hand, excellent talent can go overlooked; on the other hand, the needle is moving toward more equity and inclusion.
“I think there have been many improvements around hiring and retention, as well as Latina talent filling more visible roles. I think leaders are listening and want to know how they can help,” she says.
For Latinas who want to find their footing in the tech landscape during this time of transition, here is Monica’s advice:
- Even if you don’t tick every box, put your hat in the ring. Sometimes you’ll be right for the job, even if you don’t meet every single requirement, so apply anyway. Monica recalls that a junior engineer she sponsored didn’t think she had what it took, but when she applied, she was promoted. “Now her team has grown three times. She's in a new org, under new leadership who recognizes her, her ability, and her impact,” she emphasized.
- Find a community, and collectively articulate your needs to leadership. Monica points out that leadership is listening, and now is the time to clarify needs through ERGs or other collectives. “We have to get really crystal clear about precisely what it is that we want and need,” she explains.
- Don’t be afraid to bring your cultural values into the workplace. Monica says that one value in her culture is taking care of others and that this has given many employees comfort and peace of mind during corporate restructuring. “I'm usually the one in the room that advocates for making sure that people are well taken care of, fully informed, and supported through change. I think that has a lot to do with my culture,” says Monica.
If you’re looking to be on the right side of important corporate tech conversations, Google is hiring!
While many sports-related careers tend to start with an interest in that sport, Eunice Lim admits that she doesn’t know much about basketball.
“Can I tell you about the rules of basketball? No,” she says while laughing. “But I do find it entertaining, and I love the culture.”
So how did Eunice end up with her dream career as International & Youth Expansion Lead at the NBA? Surprisingly enough, it started with an experience studying abroad.
While majoring in communications, Eunice took the opportunity to live and study in South Korea during her junior year of college.
“That was one of the best times of my life,” she shares. “It ignited my passion to continue exploring the world. And when I first started job hunting, I wanted traveling to be a part of my job.”
We met with Eunice to learn how she landed her dream job at the NBA, what it’s like to work behind the scenes of basketball, and her tips for finding your ideal career.
After Eunice finished her degree, she started exploring the job market and was open to any opportunities that would come her way. When a friend working at the NBA encouraged her to apply for an opening on his team, she didn’t hesitate.
Starting in a temporary role as Talent Acquisition Coordinator in the HR department, Eunice consistently self-advocated for, first, a permanent position, and then, for a position in the international sphere.
“When I was in HR, I took the risk of being transparent about my future aspirations and my interest in working international events,” she shares. “When something in the international space came up, they thought of me because they knew that’s what I enjoyed.”
Not only was Eunice clear from the start about what she wanted, but she also actively sought opportunities that aligned with her desires.
“I try to put myself in places and get myself the opportunities within the NBA to take on new assignments and roles in the international context. And because I had international experience under my belt, that's what ultimately led me to the role I have now.”
Since then, she has had nothing but positive things to say about all of the opportunities working for the NBA has given her.
She highlights, “Internally, there are lots of opportunities to move around, try different roles, switch departments, and take on different assignments that I never would've imagined for myself. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and attend major events, meet people that I've only ever seen on TV, and work with all different people of all titles and departments from across the company. I've been given the trust and empowerment to explore what the NBA has to offer me and take advantage of all of our resources.”
Working Within the NBA
The NBA, an organization mostly known for putting on sporting events and showcasing great athletes, is making an impact beyond the entertainment side of basketball.
This is evident through Eunice's current role, as International & Youth Expansion lead, where she focuses on referee growth and expansion on an international level.
“A goal of the Referee Operations Department is to branch out and expand internationally,” she explains. “I’m the point person for that growth and expansion. My role is working with International Basketball Operations and our Jr. NBA programs to set up camps and clinics for international referees and aspiring referees all across the world.”
Eunice also focuses on discovering talent outside of the United States.
“We know that officiating talent isn't limited to the states,” she points out. “We know that it's out there, we just have to tap into it and find the talent by running different types of training, in hopes that new talent could be an NBA, WNBA, G league, or BAL official one day.”
Apart from doing amazing work internationally, Eunice appreciates the overall work environment within the NBA.
“I'm so grateful every single day to be at this company, and that's because the people that I've met here are inspiring and they have been my biggest supporters,” she shares. “I love that everyone on my team genuinely loves what they're doing and believes in the work that we do. They're all self-motivated because the work that we do is coming from a place of personal conviction.”
Unlike the basketball stars seen at many NBA events, Eunice and her team don’t receive any publicity but are superstars in a different way.
“We have a deep passion for developing referees, offering and spreading the word to the youth that this could be a career path,” Eunice says.
Advice for Landing Your Dream Job
Eunice is in her fourth year with the NBA and feels she could do her job for the rest of her life. Here is her advice on building a career you love.
- Genuinely connect with people. “Network to build relationships with others, not just to ask for a job,” Eunice advises. “The reason I got into this role was that I had a conversation with my now manager about his experience working in Referee Operations and how that's shaped his personal career goals.” Eunice connected with colleagues and managers through curiosity and a desire to learn. And when opportunities arose, Eunice was recommended by the people she connected to.
- Show up as your most authentic self. “When people don't know who you really are you can start being led down a path or direction that you weren't intending for yourself,” Eunice explains. I was able to navigate my way into this current position because other people recognized my skills and potential better than I did. They knew which role would be a good fit for me.”
- Be confident in who you are. “It's better to show up as your authentic self than to show up as someone you are not,” Eunice shares. She illuminated this point by mentioning that just being yourself can get you to places you never even dreamed you could be in.
Whether or not you’re an avid basketball fan, you could find your dream positions in the NBA. Check out their job openings here.