She Was Hired After Attending A PowerToFly Event - Here Are Her Tips
A Q&A with Rachel Cohen, A Software Engineer At Dow Jones
Rachel Cohen, a Software Engineer at Dow Jones, spent the first decade of her career in journalism and recently landed the career of her dreams after attending a PowerToFly event! If you're currently pivoting your career, in the trenches of a coding bootcamp, amidst your first technical interview, or have been rejected once or twice, don't be discouraged!
"The letdowns and rejections are experiences that will make you better in every aspect," Rachel says. Keep reading to hear more about Rachel's journey and if you're interested in learning more about careers at Dow Jones? Click here to 'Follow' them on PowerToFly!
Can you describe your journey to your current position?
Rachel Cohen: I used to be a reporter and attended a software engineering bootcamp to make a career change. After I graduated and started my job search, I was interested in potentially staying in the journalism world with an engineering job at a media company. I tried to be very deliberate in the process - before I applied, I both wanted to make sure a media company was proactively using technology and to speak directly to someone at the company because I felt my backstory was likely more compelling in person than on a resume that someone might skim. It really was incredible timing when I got the email about the PowerToFly event with Dow Jones because I had been trying to gather more information about them just then. I had previously attended PowerToFly events and enjoyed them, so I was confident this event would be valuable. It was indeed a great opportunity to get a feel for the company's culture and solidify my interest in applying there, and it was also the perfect opportunity to tell my story in person to a hiring manager there. That conversation started the process that eventually led to my hire. Pretty cool how it all worked out!
What was the most valuable thing you learned on your journey to this new role that you'd like to share with others?
RC: Job searching, especially that search for your first software engineering role, is a learning process. The letdowns and the rejections along the way - as discouraging as they feel in the moment - are experiences that will make you better at every aspect, and in turn, better-positioned to land a position that's the right fit.
How did the hiring process differ with Dow Jones over other companies?
RC: What I appreciated about the hiring process was how the engineers who ran the interviews created a supportive atmosphere. One moment that sticks out came during an onsite coding challenge. While looking something up online, I commented that it feels as though I can't remember anything when I'm nervous. One of my future colleagues good-naturedly responded she likes to joke that all she does all day is Google how to do things. That helped put me at ease.
How did PowerToFly help you get your new role?
RC: PowerToFly hosted an event with Dow Jones while I was job searching - and, in fact, at a time when I was looking to learn more about the company. It wound up being the perfect opportunity to both gain insight into Dow Jones' culture and to make a connection there. I introduced myself to an engineering manager who put me in touch with the technical recruiter, and that started the process that culminated in an accepted job offer.
What excites you about your new role at Dow Jones?
Rachel Cohen: I was a reporter for more than 16 years before making a career switch, and one of the inspirations for my move to coding was my long-standing fascination with using technology to do my job more efficiently. Now I work on a team that creates software for the newsrooms of The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones publications. It's a satisfying feeling that I can relate so well to the needs of our users and see how our apps make journalists' lives easier.
The origins of Pride Month date back further than many people realise. The inaugural Pride march was held more than 50 years ago in June 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969. Over time, the march has evolved to become a celebration of LGBTQIA+ culture with a variety of events that culminate in a parade in the final weekend of June. Such events have played an important role in shifting social and political attitudes over the years. As someone who identifies as gay, I’ve also seen a big shift in workplace attitudes – particularly in the past 5 years. I spent the better part of my career being acutely aware that I had to hide my sexuality; particularly within the hyper-masculine environments that were common in the tech world. This changed when I joined Skedulo a few years back and saw a genuine desire to embrace and celebrate diversity. It was the polar opposite of what I’d experienced 20 years ago.
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with Skedulo’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Program Manager, Silvia Zhang, and realised how much I also have to learn. Even being in the community there is a lot that I don’t know, which is why I’m so excited about the initiatives Skedulo will be running this month.
Stories from Skedulo’s LGBTQIA+ community
There is more to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community than changing your company logo for a month or posting a rainbow flag on social media.
We believe the best way to break down barriers and drive awareness is by empowering people to share their personal stories. This is why we have invited members of our team who identify as LGBTQIA+ to tell their stories, and I can honestly say the insights have been tremendous.
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Partnerships and volunteering
The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation is Australia’s longest-running HIV charity and exists to support people living with HIV, a disease that has until now, largely targeted the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition to volunteering and social awareness, Skedulo will be sponsoring a number of the Foundation’s health and wellbeing programs which aim to help people with HIV achieve a better quality of life.
Our volunteering efforts will also extend to the Frameline Film Festival: San Francisco’s longest-running and largest queer film exhibition in the world.
Education creates change
Education is one of the best ways to combat prejudice. We will be running a social campaign in June to encourage greater involvement from the wider business community.
Internally, we’re also raising awareness among our staff through an All-Hands panel discussion where people can talk openly, ask questions, and share their stories.
At the end of June, we’ll hold a Pride Parade viewing party in our San Francisco office which will be a colourful celebration of diversity and includes an education session about Pride history.
Diversity leads to success
There will no doubt be opportunities for many people to get involved in Pride month celebrations in their local areas – be it community events, public speaking, education sessions or a festival.
I invite every workplace to develop their own initiatives to facilitate greater discussion and awareness. I’ve now been involved with several progressive companies who not only accept but celebrate diversity, and I can confidently say their culture is well beyond what I’ve seen in others.
There are many studies to prove the widespread benefits that diversity has on culture, engagement, retention and even revenue. For example, a study by Boston Consulting Group looked at 1700 companies across 8 countries and found that greater diversity had a direct effect on the bottom line. Companies with more diverse management teams also achieve 19% higher revenue due to innovation.
For anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community who has struggled to find an accepting workplace, I want to tell you that they do exist. Keep searching for a place that makes you happy and aligns with your values, because it will empower you to become the best version of yourself and you will be supported by the people around you.
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎Want to know what engineering teams are like at Workiva? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 Engineering teams at Workiva are constantly hiring. Marie Yue, Senior Engineering Manager at the company, tells you what they look for in a candidate and what the dynamics of teamwork are like.
📼 The typical path in the engineering teams at Workiva is that you grow into a senior, and then you move into a lead role. From there, there are a few different tracks that you can take depending on your interest. You can become a staff engineer, an architect, or even an engineering manager. What are you waiting for to apply?
📼In the engineering teams at Workiva every member should feel empowered to do their job effectively. For this, each has to understand how the work they do day to day solves customers’ problems. Managers will always seek to be aware of members’ career path aspirations so that they can look for opportunities and projects to help each person reach the next step in their career.
Engineering Teams At Workiva: A Safe Space
Marie Yue’s team is a safe space for people to make mistakes and ask for help, and each member feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. She wants to make sure that everyone is individually empowered to lead and make decisions. For this, the team has regular meetings where they do fun things like play virtual games or eat lunch together, and they also like to re-review and add to their team working agreement once a quarter.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Workiva? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Marie Yue
If you are interested in a career at Workiva, you can connect with Marie Yue on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Workiva
Workiva was founded to transform the way people manage and report business data with various collaborators, data sources, documents, and spreadsheets. Today, people all over the world use their platform to seamlessly orchestrate data among their systems and applications for transparent and trusted connected reporting and compliance. At Workiva, they are innovative in everything they do—from how they build their software, to how they serve their customers, to how they treat their employees.
Joseph Arquillo doesn’t work in Human Resources — he works in People Operations. And the distinction matters.
“It was named ‘human resources’ because it saw humans as resources, utilized for certain tasks or behaviors. But that’s not really what it’s about,” says Joseph, who is a Senior Manager of People Ops at Clyde.
“Calling it ‘people ops’ adds back what you lose with ‘HR.’ My philosophy is that I am there to support you. I am there to work with you, empower you, and enable you so you can be your best self.”
For Joseph, a key element of helping employees become their best selves is making sure that the workplace, whether in-person or virtual, is an inclusive space for all. That doesn’t happen by accident — it requires a dedicated DEIB strategy and leaders who are committed to asking hard questions of themselves and others.
We sat down with Joseph to hear more about his professional journey, and the practices of leaders who create environments where everyone feels included.
More Than Just a Number
As a college freshman, Joseph planned on sticking with liberal arts when it came to choosing a major. But then he took a class in Boston College’s School of Education, and loved its holistic approach to applied psychology.
This inspired him to switch his major to psychology and human development, and select minors in political science, and management and leadership, where he enjoyed learning about organizational psychology.
After graduation, he explored the consulting space to put theory into practice, but found out during an internship at a multinational consulting firm that finance or accounting weren’t the places he wanted to build his career.
“Since Big Four companies have 250,000 employees, you become just a number,” he says of the experience. “It wasn’t my cup of tea. Too corporatized.”
That kicked off Joseph’s interest in startups.
“It’s always fun to get in the weeds! One thing that’s very interesting to me is a challenge,” he says. “When you’re helping a company like Clyde grow and scale, joining when they’re at a Series B and helping them get to the next level, you really get to focus on the interaction between people, process, and product,” explains Joseph. “You need to hire the right people to work towards increasing efficiencies in all areas, but also make sure that we’re enabling them to create a strong product.”
6 Keys To Building Inclusive Spaces as a Leader
Across the different industries and companies that Joseph has worked in, he’s identified the behaviors that create truly inclusive environments — as well as those that discourage them.
Here’s what he’s seen:
- First, recognize your own privilege. “If you’re a man, you have privilege, even if you’re a gay male. If you are a white woman, you have racial privilege. It’s really important that you’re cognizant while you interact with somebody how they might interpret the interaction based on your identity.”
- Leaders should always speak last. This is important always, but especially in in-person spaces, where it might seem even more nerve-wracking to speak up in a crowd, says Joseph. “You want to make sure you’re creating that space for employees who aren’t as senior to feel comfortable voicing their thoughts.”
- And, leaders should use check-ins liberally. “You need to ask yourself how you’re supporting your employees. Are you checking in on them as people before you ask about certain tasks? You want to foster a workplace where employees from all walks of life can feel supported,” he says.
- DEIB isn’t just about adding new initiatives — sometimes it’s about removing barriers. “You need to remove unnecessary bias,” explains Joseph. “That can mean making sure you have appropriate policies and practices that don’t hinder people depending on who they are or where they live.”
- Maximizing participation requires planning with a diversity lens. Joseph has helped the Clyde team gather together and bond as a group. Along the way, he’s been careful to consider physical and psychological safety for everyone involved. “For instance, if you’re doing an event, do you have someone who’s not drinking? Have you set up the environment for people who might have a physical disability, or carefully planned the flow of activities for people who might be neurodivergent?”
- Saying you want to be better isn’t enough — articulate actions you will take. “Pride is a great example,” explains Joseph. “Yes, June is a time to celebrate. But it’s also a time to march. And beyond that, how do you show up and celebrate with the LGBTQIA+ community throughout the year?”
Embracing the Unknown
If you visit Joseph’s LinkedIn profile, you’ll see his personal motto: “Without challenge, change, and a bunch of unknowns, it’s no fun.”
That belief has led him to study what he’s passionate about, to take on new and exciting roles at growing startups, and now, at Clyde, to help formalize what world-class people operations looks like at a fast-growing company.
“I view myself as a connector that really empowers people, challenges teams, and helps drive us towards what I consider to be an improved future,” he says. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to be the chief advocate for each of our employees, and remove any barriers in the way of their growth.”