If last year proved anything, it was that America's long history of inequality is not a relic of the past. Many of us spent more time thinking about, speaking up against, and working to change the everyday racism faced by Black people in the United States in 2020 than we did in years past, thanks to the leadership behind the Black Lives Matter movement and media attention over the police brutality faced by Black Americans.
So when honoring Black History Month in 2021, doesn't it seem right to focus not just on the past, but on the present? Not just to learn about the notable accomplishments of impressive Black politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs, but also acknowledge the reality of the Black experience today—and work to improve it?
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor Black History Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses. From digging into economic injustices to investing in projects to support the Black community to sharing the real-life experiences of their Black employees, these companies are finding ways to not only honor Black History Month, but encourage positive change all year round. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
1.Honoring and Celebrating the Black Family — Freddie Mac
"Our ARISE Business Resource Group is hosting several programs and activities throughout Black History Month that celebrate the diversity of the Black family. The month kicks off with a fireside chat about Black wealth and economics featuring Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. Later in the month, Shanti Das, Executive Director of Silence the Shame, Inc., will share the importance of mental health and well-being. We will close the month with a panel discussion on the Black employee experience at Freddie Mac. The discussion will feature stories of empowerment and resilience that celebrate and support employees."
Learn more about Freddie Mac and their open roles here
2.Investing in Skills and Scholarships — Facebook
"During Black History Month, Facebook Elevate will host programming with the theme GenerationBlack. Among the activities will be a discussion called #GenBlack is Skilled covering how a new generation of Black professionals can be key contributors to a more inclusive society.
Elevate is a community and learning platform to accelerate the economic impact of entities of color. Elevate is committed over the next 3 years to reaching 1 million Black and 1 million Latinx and Hispanic members of the community with training in digital skills as well as distributing 100,000 scholarships to Black learners working toward digital careers."
Learn more about Facebook and their open roles here
3.Planning Virtual Events for the Whole Family — LogMeIn
"At LogMeIn, we will be celebrating Black History Month all month long! Since this year's theme is 'The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,' our Employee Resource Group, BE@LogMeIn (Black Employees at LogMeIn) will be partnering with our Families ERG (Families@LogMeIn), our Corporate Social Responsibility Program (Mission Possible), and our wellness program (Thrive) to offer engaging, impactful, educational, and fun events all throughout February. We'll be hosting a virtual paint night, virtual volunteering event, discussions with Black authors and publishers, and a fun children's book giveaway as part of our celebrations."
Learn more about LogMeIn and their open roles here
4.Celebrating Black Joy — Moody's
"To kick off our Black History Month celebrations, Moody's will activate our annual Speaker Series and host multiple events that highlight the contributions of the Black community and celebrate Black Joy. Our Black Inclusion Group will be profiling Moody's employees and Black leaders for a weekly, educational newsletter throughout February. In addition, we are producing an employee-led video that shares the importance of Black Joy and cultural/family traditions. Our employees will also be able to choose from an array of Zoom and desktop backgrounds that will display quotes from prominent Black figures."Learn more about Moody's and their open roles here
5.Inspiring, Educating, Engaging—And Investing — ServiceNow
"ServiceNow is honoring Black History Month in the U.S. in February and in Europe in October. We've worked closely with our Black at Now Belonging Group to develop programming that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally. We have a series of events focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality, which will feature special guest speakers, ServiceNow leaders, and employees in discussion and interactive dialogue. Additionally, we just announced an important piece of our efforts to live our company value, 'embrace diversity, create belonging': a $100M investment in Racial Equity fund, which is focused on building equitable opportunities in underserved Black communities in the U.S."
6.Communicating Inclusively — Clarus
"Here at Clarus we're honoring Black History Month in a couple of ways. Our DEI ERG is encouraging employee conversation by disseminating a companywide email acknowledging BHM and its significance. Additionally, we're promoting employees to be mindful of written communications, specifically in making sure we're using non-biased language.
We continue to partner with WayFinding Partners as they work with us on developing a long-lasting DEI strategy at Clarus. This includes the company partaking in a workshop called 'Let's Talk About Race' — opening our eyes to racism in our society and how we can defeat it."
Learn more about Clarus and their open roles here
7.Centering Black Culture and History — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
"For more than 10 years, Blue Cross NC's African-American and Black Employee Network (AABEN) has created meaningful programming for employees each February in honor of Black History Month. The network has hosted various events to celebrate African-American culture through song, dance, poetry and more. Their programming also provides education and awareness. Topics have ranged from historic Black Wall Street in Durham, to a panel of employees sharing how their hair is part of their identity and how corporate America can be more inclusive of cultural differences, to hearing directly from Black leaders who share their career journey and lessons learned."
Learn more about Blue Cross NC and their open roles here
8.Highlighting Black Luminaries — MongoDB
"To celebrate Black History Month, members of TUPOC — MongoDB's affinity group for people of color — highlight Black luminaries via daily posts in the #black-history Slack channel, a channel that's open year-round but is especially active in February. TUPOC will also honor Black History Month by hosting a company-wide event, and all employees will have access to a cross-company event celebrating Black History."
Learn more about MongoDB and their open roles here.
9.Celebrating and Supporting Black Futures — PagerDuty
"This year, our Black employee resource group at PagerDuty, Array, is approaching Black History Month with the theme 'Black Futures Month: Excellence, Resilience, and Equity.'
Our programming is designed to celebrate Black excellence and highlight our resilience, in order to build an equitable future. We'll be partnering with other employee resource groups representing Black talent across the Tech sector, hosting our first meeting with our first Black board member, Dr. Alec D. Gallimore, fundraising and volunteering with a local middle school of predominantly Black students, and introducing a mentorship program for our Black employees."
Learn more about PagerDuty and their open roles here
10.Empowering Growth and Development — CSL Behring
"CSL Behring will be formally launching the Promising Futures Scholarship mid-February. This scholarship program will award 37 scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 annually.
The program has been specifically set up for our Black colleagues and their dependents to provide financial empowerment and support professional career growth & development."
Learn more about CSL Behring and their open roles here
11.Learning Through Film, Art, and History — Autodesk
"This year in honor of Black History Month, Autodesk is kicking off our festivities with our speaker series. This development opportunity will promote our growth as we learn about the power of storytelling and why we need to call on courage to increase mutual understanding and foster a sense of belonging. In addition to team events, we've partnered with MoAD, the Museum of the African Diaspora, to facilitate film viewings and discussions across culture, art, and Black history."
Learn more about Autodesk and their open roles here
12.Hosting Ta-Nehesi Coates and Town Halls — T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price remains committed to equity and is mindful of the socioeconomic impact of systemic racism. To foster learning on the history of racism and the myriad of ways it shows up in our communities, the firm hosted local and national experts in the last several months. The firm is also providing opportunities to connect with Black leaders within the firm, virtually.
Next month, MOSAIC @ T. Rowe Price, the firm's business resource group (BRG) focused on promoting inclusivity and attracting, developing, and retaining diverse talent, will host New York Times bestselling author Ta-Nehesi Coates. He is the keynote speaker for our annual Black History Month event.
The BRG will also host a town hall to discuss the firm's vision to become a more equitable and inclusive workplace for Black professionals. The discussion will be led by Black leaders with representation from the Management Committee and several advocacy groups."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price and their open roles here
13.Sparking Curiosity and Dialogues — Bounteous
"Bounteous honors Black History Month to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history. This year, Bounteous' affinity group, b: shades, curated a collection of events that span the entire month. The events include movie screenings, trivia nights, a brave space conversation, and a guest speaker appearance by Dr. Annice E. Fisher. Additionally, our team will host a special edition of our Get to Know Bounteous info-session on February 11 at 12:00PM CT for people who attend or have attended Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) and any person who identifies as Black/African American and/or a Person of Color. Bounteous celebrates all month long through these educational and social events geared towards sparking curiosity and hopefully, a dialogue."
Learn more about Bounteous and their open roles here
14.Celebrating Trailblazers — New Relic
"In honor of Black History Month, our Relics of Color ERG has put together a spectacular lineup of
events and activities to celebrate Black excellence in tech and beyond. This month, we will celebrate our inaugural Mikey Butler Day. Mikey was a VP of Engineering at New Relic until his passing in late 2019. He was a trailblazer in technology, and an amazing and inspiring leader, coach, and mentor. Other activities include a fishbowl discussion on 'What Does Black History Mean to You?' and a Black Trail Blazers employee spotlight series celebrating our Relics of Color."
Learn more about New Relic and their open roles here
15.Reading and Learning Together — CarGurus
"Our People of Color (POC@CarGurus) Employee Resource Group (ERG) will be sponsoring multiple events in celebration of Black History Month (some events will be co-sponsored with several of our internal ERGs). These events will consist of speaker series, workshops, and group (virtual) activities!
Events planned include a discussion with Gretchen Sorin, author of Driving While Black, a Black History Month Stump Trivia night, a reading of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, and a Family Reading Night where we will by providing children's books written by Black authors."
Learn more about CarGurus and their open roles here
16.Launching an Employee Resource Group — Mindbody
"Mindbody will be celebrating Black History Month with the inaugural launch of our Mindbody Black Alliance ERG. MB Black Alliance members have developed a full program of content to celebrate, educate and foster awareness of black culture everywhere, from past to present. We will be highlighting our own team member stories and aligning them with the businesses that we serve."
Learn more about Mindbody and their open roles here
17.Addressing Workplace Equity — StackOverflow
"BnB creates a safe space for Black and Brown employees within Stack Overflow. Instead of working with only one team on initiatives or confining programming to one month, BnB partners with Stack's leadership to address workplace equity across multiple dimensions, long-term. This includes:
- Helping all employees educate themselves on racial injustice
- Partnering with HR on D&I efforts
- Providing leadership opportunities for employees of color
- Ensuring content channels - from our popular blog to our podcast - are inclusive in their approach to storytelling
- Donating resources like money, products, and services to organizations that promote the social advancement of people of color"
Learn more about StackOverflow and their open roles here
18.Stories Untold — CallRail
"Our goal is to make Black history more relatable to people who aren't as familiar with the Black experience. Historically, Black History Month is associated with overcoming struggles and highlighting injustices. We want to demystify the Black experience through focusing on Black lives throughout the African diaspora. There are many untold stories of diverse culture, unity, and joy that we feel should be shared as a part of our history."
Learn more about CallRail and their open roles here
19.Supporting the Fight Against Racial Injustice — Folsom Labs
"Folsom Labs is celebrating Black History Month by focusing on community support. It is important to us to show our continued support for the Black Community not only in February but as an ongoing company initiative. Last year we held an employee charity matching event to support those that are doing critical work in the fight against racial injustices. On our team, we believe long-lasting change starts from within. So this year, not only are we kicking-off Black History Month with another charity event, but we're also focusing on ongoing DEI education and training for employees."
Learn more about Folsom Labs and their open roles here
20.Volunteering and Learning Through Film — Commvault
"At Commvault we are excited to host our 2nd Black History Month celebration. Even though this year we are virtual, we have kicked things off with a Martin Luther King Memorial Virtual Tour, on MLK Day, for our Vaulters and their families. Vaulters in the US were excited to have a day to reflect and volunteer in their communities. Our Multi-Culture ERG is blogging internally daily about prominent Black figures, weekly Black History Trivia, and will end the month with filmmaker Keith Beauchamp who will talk about Black history and share his film The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till."
Learn more about Commvault and their open roles here
21.Spotlighting Black Excellence — NBA
"The NBA is honoring Black History Month with the following initiatives:
- "#BlackExcellence Spotlight – Internal NBA website (Home Court) will spotlight Black employees across the company as they reflect on 2020, look ahead to the future and share details about what work they are proud of, in or outside of the office.
- Player Conversation – Current NBA player will join a virtual conversation about the fight for racial justice, how he supports Black businesses, celebrates Black culture and more.
- Virtual volunteer opportunities with the YesSheCanCampaign and Jersey Cares
- NBA Town Hall on Leaguewide Social Justice Efforts"
Learn more about the NBA and their open roles here
22.Hosting Fireside Chats - Procore
"Black History Month in the U.S. takes place each year in February. This year, we turned to members of Procore's African [Descent[ Council (PAC) employee resource group to learn what the month means to them—and why it matters to the communities in which we live and work.
One of the many ways we're celebrating Black History Month at Procore is by hosting an internal virtual fireside chat about the life and legacy of Black leaders and the significance of the month. All employees have been invited to join select speakers for a discussion about the annual commemoration and ways to get involved. The fireside chat is part of an ongoing speaker series that explores stories and conversations around life, race, gender, social justice, and equality. Learn more about Procore's Employee Resource Groups and ongoing efforts to build a more inclusive and diverse future."
Learn more about Procore and their open roles here.
23.Educating & Celebrating with Events, Guest Speakers, and More — Raytheon Technologies
"In honor of Black History Month, our Raytheon Black Employee Network (RAYBEN) employee resource group has planned a series of events that educate, celebrate, and honor the importance of Black history. This month-long program of events focuses on the cultural diversity of the Black community, moments in Black history, guest speakers, including former football running back Brian Mitchell and poet Nikki Giovanni, and games that bridge the gap between the past and the future. We also use this opportunity to highlight our Black employees throughout the month."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies and their open roles here.
24.Facilitating Courageous Conversations — Lockheed Martin
"Our theme for Black History Month 2021 is, 'The Black Family: Representation, Diversity and Identity.' Lockheed Martin's African American Council for Excellence (AACE) Business Resource Group will use Black History Month to explore the wide-ranging diversity of the black family life through educational content, presentations and courageous conversations. We will also use this month to bring families together and reconnect as we view black stories and learn to make a simple meal where everyone can contribute. What's more? Our focus won't end there. Beyond Black History Month, AACE will support multiple programs to recruit, retain and develop black employees and give back to our community."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles here.
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Josephine Roh loves brunch. Particularly hosting it — and bringing special dishes to life to share with her friends.
The latest recipe she’s mastered is for lemon ricotta pancakes.
Cooking is part art and part science, which might be why the senior technical writer for fintech platform Moov is such a big fan of it.
“I’ve always liked using both sides of my brain,” says Josephine, who studied English literature in college, in line with her right-brain strengths, but also added an economics major to sharpen the analytical left side of her brain. She credits this double-barreled approach with setting her up well for her current career.
“It prepared me to be a holistically well-rounded person when it comes to how I think and work,” she says.
We sat down with Josephine to hear more about how she found her way into a career in technical writing, as well as the tips and tricks she has for people interested in following in her footsteps.
A Career Exploration
Josephine started her tech career in customer success at an edtech startup. “It was great training because at a startup you wear lots of hats,” she recalls, noting experiences in user research and operations. After trying a more quantitative-heavy role that gave her exposure to fintech, she realized she wanted something more creative, with an innovative, distributed company.
That’s how she found Moov.
“I was looking for a place with a remote-first culture, and Moov stood out. Some places were hybrid, or said, ‘Maybe we’ll go back to the office,’ but Moov originated without an office and intended to stay that way,” she says. “But I didn’t want it to just be remote — I also wanted it to be very human.”
To Josephine, that meant a culture of coworkers getting to know each other, respecting each other, and caring about each other — which is how she’s experienced Moov’s culture.
“There’s a lot of mutual understanding,” she says. “Something kind of sweet Moov does is this monthly “unbemoovable” meeting where someone shares their story, with pictures, to the extent that they want to. We’ve heard a lot of nontraditional, exciting stories, including from career switchers, and it lends itself to an angle of diversity and creativity that feels like a very healthy, human-first culture.”
Her first few months on the job were spent learning about the product, coming up the curve on technical writing, and pulling together documentation. After finishing the first set of docs, Josephine decided to start focusing on making Moov’s documentation better.
Her manager saw and appreciated Josephine’s initiative and promoted her to senior technical writer, which made her feel like she had chosen the right environment for her growth.
“Moov has let me run with this, building our docs from the ground up because there wasn’t red tape. There weren’t people standing in my way saying, ‘No, this is not how you do it.’ Me being comfortable with that ambiguity and trusting that people like my manager were supporting me, allowed me to be able to grow in my career to where I am now,” she says.
Technical Writing: An Intro and 5 Tips
Josephine explains what technical writing is by referencing a multi-layered puzzle. “You have to understand a certain level of technical stuff, then be able to build a translation layer and explain it in a way that anyone can understand,” she says.
“It’s about writing guides and documents that help developers implement or integrate with different software. It requires some level of knowledge of how developers think and speak, as well as the tools that they're going to be using to make things happen.” That can take the form of API-heavy reference documents, which are more technical, or more “prose-y guides” that explain more holistically what a feature is and how to use it.
Here’s what Josephine recommends to others interested in the field:
- Make sure you have the right skill set. “Tech writing is good for folks who like writing, and don't mind writing about things that they don't yet understand, who are comfortable with ambiguity or diving into the challenge of learning something new and very specific.” Other key skills, per Josephine: interviewing, talking to people, process management, research, relationship building, editing, writing (duh!), and empathy (to imagine the final product from different audiences’ points of view).
- Brush up on key tools. “I’d recommend that future tech writers learn the suite of tools they’d work with. It’s almost imperative that you would know Markdown, which is kind of like HTML, but it's the language that formats text. It’s what most tech writers type in, basically. It would be good to know how API references are generated, too, and also helpful to know how to work with GitHub.”
- Interview other tech writers! “People are super open to talking about their experiences and because it's different at every company, you may want to get a more holistic perspective and talk to a couple of people. The company really makes or breaks your experience.”
- Practice, practice, practice. “Look at the world of open source. If you want hands-on experience, look for a project with incomplete documentation and ask the owner if you can help with documenting it!”
- Find communities to learn with. Josephine says that the online technical writing community is active and generous. “There are communities for any question you might have about tech writing, as well as free resources. I definitely recommend them.” As far as specific resources and communities go, Josephine personally suggests the following:
- Google’s Technical Writing Courses
- Git and its own reference documents
- The Product is Docs: Writing technical documentation in a product development group, a book by the Splunk Documentation Team
- The Write The Docs Slack community, with job postings, recommendations, and channels for sharing other resources
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.
💎To make a successful career move, you need to follow some steps. Watch the video to the end to get ideas on how to achieve it!
📼Wondering how to make a non-traditional career move? Play this video to get three top tips that will guide you through the process. You'll hear from Lindsay Syhakhom, Cloud Solutions Architect at Logicworks, who shares her own experience in moving from a non-technical role into a technical role.
📼 Make a career move inside your company! Tip #1: Cross team boundaries. Volunteer for tasks that cross teams at your current organization. A lot of people assume that to change careers, they also have to change employers. And that's not always the case. You can lay the foundation at your current job for the career that you want to have. Look for teams in your organization that either partially align or even fully align to the position that you want. And then think of creative ways to interface with that team.
📼 Make a career move using your institutional knowledge! Tip #2: Become the expert. If you are applying to another team in your same company, one of the advantages to your company hiring you versus hiring somebody else is that you know what the company sells, you know how teams function and take seriously that that institutional knowledge is very important. Every company has its quirks. Knowing those things is going to help you when you're applying for the next job.
Make A Career Move Confidently! - Tip #3: Ask For What You Want
Before she applied to become a cloud solutions architect, Lindsay Syhakhom had conversations with members of her team and reached out to people on other teams at Logicworks that she really trusted and had the conversation with them first. This helped take the edge off of her first conversation with HR, and with a hiring manager about her desire to move into this other field, and get their feedback. Remember that you have to apply for the job. No one can read your mind and know that you want to make this non-traditional career move!
📨 Are you interested in joining Logicworks? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Lindsay Syhakhom
If you are interested in a career at Logicworks, you can connect with Lindsay on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Logicworks
Logicworks helps customers migrate, run, and operate mission-critical workloads on AWS and Azure with security, scalability, and efficiency baked in. Their Cloud Reliability Platform combines world-class engineering talent, policy-as-code, and integrated tooling to enable customers to confidently meet compliance regulations, security requirements, cost control, and high availability.
Dorcie Lovinsky seeks activities that help bring balance into her life.
“My newest hobby is golf,” she shares. “It's a very technical, chill sport. I would say the yin to my yang.”
Her yang is the ambition and drive that not only fuels her work as Senior Data Manager at Zapier but is also what pushed her to become so successful today.
The daughter of working-class Haitian immigrants, Dorcie had to make her own way into the tech world.
“I feel like it's just been a constant battle throughout my career to feel like I belong because they're not a lot of people that look like me. So my goal is to get more people that look like me into these spaces so that we don't have to do the extra work to feel like we belong.”
We sat down with Dorcie to learn more about how she carved her career path and the advice she gives to those seeking a career in data.
The Ambition to Make Her Way
The results of a high-school Keirsey Temperament Test are all it took for Dorcie to start making career decisions. She carefully analyzed the three it suggested: teaching, philanthropy, and computer science.
“In high school,” she recalls, “I realized that my family are immigrants who never really had a lot of money so I would need to make my own way. I looked at the salaries of all these types of jobs and realized computer science had the highest one. I thought, ‘If this test says I can do it, then I can do it.’”
However, she knew that trying to break into a male-dominated field would mean having to prove herself. So the summer before starting her college computer science program, she saved up all the money she earned as a cheerleading instructor and built her own computer.
“I thought that they weren’t going to take me seriously unless I built a computer,” she explains. “So I built my first computer and that gave me the confidence to feel like I can be in this room now.”
Taking Unexpected Advice
During an internship, she became a PeopleSoft developer, which helped her land her first job out of college.
With work she enjoyed and a nice salary to match, Dorcie was content. However, four years in, something happened that altered the trajectory of her career.
“One day the security guard at my work comes up to me and says that I needed to leave this place because people tend to get comfortable here and that I’d never do better unless I leave.”
Heeding his warning, Dorcie started applying to open positions and found a PeopleSoft development job in Manhattan. “It was really fun because I had always dreamt of working in Manhattan,” she shares gleefully.
Although she was living the dream, she knew that being a PeopleSoft developer offered limited opportunities. “I knew I was going to hit a ceiling quickly,” she explains, “So I started teaching myself iOS and iOS development.”
These new skills soon came in handy when her company began laying off employees.
“I was working for a public company that went private and laid off 80% of its workforce,” she reveals. “I remember walking in and thinking that they would never lay me off, but they laid me off.”
As devastating as losing one’s job can be, Dorice cried tears of relief instead of sadness. “I cried because I was overjoyed that I could finally make that pivot,” she admits. “I can finally do something else.”
Hustling and Teaching
Although she was walking away from job security, Dorcie was excited to explore new opportunities.
“I wanted to do something different,” she explains. “So I taught yoga, Zumba, and cycling because I loved all of those things. I also got a job as an adjunct professor teaching computer science and it was so much fun to get people excited about a topic that they aren’t inherently interested in.”
Dorcie spent two years enriching the lives of others through teaching sports and computer science.
Eventually, the hustling lifestyle became tiresome and Dorcie decided she needed a little more stability.
Pushing into Data
That stability came with a position at a small software company.
“I feel like all throughout my trajectory, I was always doing some kind of work with data,” she reflects. “PeopleSoft was very data-driven. It was almost like an analyst role because you were creating reports.”
However, before transitioning into data engineering, she was met with some barriers.
“At this previous job, they had posted a data engineering role, so I reached out to my manager's manager and said that I wanted it,” she recalls. “But to my face, he told me that I was not qualified.”
Then, when the company claimed to support and give opportunities to women, she couldn’t let this unfair denial go without comment.
“I said something to the director of the company and they gave me an interview for the position. I ended up being perfect for the job.”
Dorcie further progressed in her career by coming to Zapier, the leader in no-code automation. She started off as a manager of data engineers and has grown to manage multiple teams of data engineers and data scientists.
“I really like helping each of my teams work as one,” she shares proudly. “The most satisfying part of my job is helping people be efficient, helping them understand how to connect what they need to do with how much it's going to help other people, and telling stories with data.”
Within a little over a year and a half, her responsibilities have expanded to managing four different data teams.
“I have such a supportive manager who pushed me to do more than I thought I could,” she says. “I think it goes back to that fear of the unknown. Questioning yourself, can I do this? And someone saying, yes, you can do this.”
Advice for Pursuing a Career in Data Engineering
Dorcie’s path to Data Engineering wasn’t a typical one. Yet her story shows that if you put in the hard work, speak up for yourself, and are truly passionate about what you do, you can carve the path of your choice.
For those wanting to excel in the world of tech and data, here is Dorcie’s advice:
- Find your tribe: Dorcie describes a tribe as a “group of people that are extremely supportive.” She expresses that her tribe spans from her friends and family to her managers at work. “Having a tribe is super important because those are the people that are going to help you see the things that you don't see and give a different perspective, or just cheer you on when you're down on yourself.”
- Trusting your intuition: When you are put in unfamiliar situations and are met with certain challenges, Dorcie suggests asking yourself “Does this feel inherently good to me?” When making a career change do what is best for you, not what’s best for others.
- Continue to educate yourself: “There are all these Bootcamp classes that are showing up. So, don't be afraid to take an eight-week boot camp class or something like that to learn something new.”
- Continue to move forward in the face of adversity: Although Dorcie has an amazing story, her journey is a road paved with successes, failures, rejections, and tenacity. “There's a bit of struggle that happens all the time, but there are so many big wins at the end of the day that makes it so worth it.”
- Don’t let anyone hold you down: An employer once told Dorcie, ‘You’re not worth anything more’ when she had tried negotiating a raise. “I felt like I deserved it because I had put in a lot of extra hours to get our product MVP out the door. Plus, I was making way less money than I should have been. After hearing that, I didn’t let it get me down and made better career decisions going forward. I realized at that moment that sometimes there is a mismatch in how I value myself and how others value me and that shouldn’t define my future.”
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