Moms Share Their Tips For Parenting Through a Pandemic
Let's be honest: juggling personal and professional responsibilities as a mom has never been easy. But in the midst of a pandemic? There are times when it feels virtually impossible. In this new world of massive unemployment, millions working from home for the first time, virtual school, and social distancing, parenting has entered uncharted territory — What To Expect When You're Expecting certainly didn't prepare anyone for this.
With no guidebook yet written to draw upon, we turned to our most valuable resource — the women of our community.
In honor of Mother's day, we asked moms at our partner companies to share how they're parenting through the pandemic and were blown away with the response! More than 50 women shared their creative hacks for managing work, homeschooling, and childcare, including everything from, "I can't attend any meetings that last longer than Frozen 2" to splurging on a bouncy-house. But their number one tip? Be kind to yourself.
Read on for more tips and stories!
Make time for yourself.
"My number-one tip is to really find time in your calendar for yourself during quarantine to completely recharge. As working moms, we are all juggling multiple full-time jobs: Nanny, teacher, chef, and (in my case) an engineering leader. You can't sustain any of those demands unless you make time for yourself. My go-to is a daily 30-minute ride on my Peloton." Shweta Saraf, Director, Central Engineering, Packet, California
"Go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier so you can enjoy a cup of coffee all to yourself. That's my mom time. Give yourself grace and space! That's called self care." Sidney Miller, Talent Acquisitions Lead, Packet, Arizona
"Find time for yourself - every day if possible. Yes, this needs to be first. As moms, we often put ourselves way back in the list of priorities. But if you don't find time for yourself, no one will. Do something that sparks joy….exercise, knitting, baking, whatever! Every person is different. My joy today was sweating my butt off on the bike, yesterday it was working outside in the yard." Melanie Buckler, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant – Americas, CSL, Pennsylvania
"So, what helped me regain sanity [somewhat] was taking a day off work to regain my composure and think about a new, planned approach. I realized that if I could be calm, and more intentional about the day, it would give my daughter the best chance of doing the same."- Katrina Thomas-Dycus, Sr. Manager of Employee Relations, Intuitive, Sunnyvale, CA
Embrace support from your team.
Jalpa Trivedi (MongoDB) and her son
"One thing I would like to call out is the full support I've received from my team and manager, along with the ability to work flexible hours. That is a huge contributing factor in my current success in work and personal life balance." Jalpa Trivedi, Senior Software Engineer, MongoDB, New York
"Working at CSL requires flexibility in schedules to meet the demands of varying geographies and time zones. Our leaders understand that we have personal obligations outside of the workplace and are understanding when flexibility is needed for schooling, doctor appointments, and other obligations." Tracey Lambalot, Director, Global Talent Acquisition, CSL, Florida
"I've found it easier to recover from 'meeting' interruptions than 'independent work' interruptions. If I need to think deeply about something, I'll try to find a partner to work it through with me in a meeting. If I get interrupted by my kids (which is nearly inevitable these days!), my coworker can get me back on track quickly." - Kimberly Wiederkehr, Staff Engineering Manager, Flatiron, New York
Teach your kids about the world of work — and project management!
"I have 2 amazing sons that are 11 and 14 yrs old and am the wife of a firefighter. My creative hack has been the introduction of Trello to my kids. They each have a board where we outline the school activities for the day and other items like chores and exercise. As they complete their activities, they move the cards to the done column which sends a notification to me. If they have questions during the day, they can input the questions into the Trello card and we can communicate back and forth. It has been a really good system for us and they enjoy the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when all their cards are in DONE." - Melissa Koehler VP, Product Delivery and Chief of Staff for Technology, CNN Digital, Atlanta, GA
"I have 2 teenagers (13 and 15 years old). They pretty much handle online learning on their own, but I have a set time where I review their week's course work individually and across all subjects (I call it "weekly accomplishments") so they know Mom is still very engaged and cares about their learning." - Patty Chu, Senior Director Makers Ops, Flexport, SF
"My creative hack was to immaculate bi-weekly team meetings. This gives my teens an opportunity to present verbal progress reports, which gives them a chance to work on their public speaking. Our 'WFH Team' uses this as an opportunity to motivate improvement, ensure that all assignments are on task, and encourage enthusiasm and positivity." - Catherine Camarena, Mechanical Designer, Viasat, Duluth
"While working remotely full-time with my two-year-old daughter at home has definitely been a challenge, it has also been a way for her to begin to somewhat understand what my job is. I ordered my daughter a pretend laptop and pretend cell phone. Whenever I am taking calls or sending emails, she likes to sit next to me and pretends to work as well. The other day, she said she couldn't come on an afternoon walk with us because she had to 'take a meeting.' She used to only associate work equating to me leaving the house, and now she associates it with talking to people and helping 'moms and dads find a place to work.'" - Carly Tashjian, Recruiter, DigitalOcean, New York
Be flexible with your schedule (and yourself) and safeguard family time.
"The one thing that's really made a difference has been booking all of my meetings myself instead of having others book them. It's the only way I've been able to exercise some degree of control over my day and create the space that my family needs." - Eva Rijser, VP Global Communications, Flexport, SF"
"I put family time on my calendar and do not allow meetings during that time. My kids are a little older (7 & 10) so they are able to do most of their school work on their own." - Carrie Bryant, Global Customs Lead, Flexport, Atlanta
"With two young kids at home, it seems impossible to get anything done or even feel accomplished. What helps me navigate my 'new norm' is always finding time to step away and just be a mom. Sometimes it's playing the same board game for the 100th time or watching the same movie on repeat or even having an impromptu dance party. Making that effort allows me to feel less guilty when I need to throw on the headphones, put my head down and just focus... No matter what my day looks like or how busy I am, there is always time for some good ol' fun." - Kristine Boccio, Recruiting Operations Manager, Elastic, New York, USA. (For more WFH tips, check out Elastic's blog.)
"I have two daughters - 10 and 6.... We have found that to ease all of our anxiety, frequent cuddle breaks are like magic. I've let go of the 'Mommy's in a meeting - please don't disturb' mentality, donned my noise-canceling headphones, and shifted more into an 'open office floor plan - there's gonna be noise and interruptions' mindset. Folks are particularly empathetic right now and the stress of trying to shut out my new 'coworkers' was unnecessarily taxing. I have two 'meetings' in the day that are on my calendar and protected as fiercely as if they were meetings with our CEO. Having that structured time to sit with the girls and review their work, as well as cuddle them fiercely - has been a lifesaver." - Marcela Pineros, VP Global Enablement, New Relic, San Francisco
Project Manager Yessica Imm with her partner and children, ages six, eight, and 10
"I've worked with my manager to coordinate alternate working hours, breaking my day into 'micro-blocks' that allow me to function effectively in both my roles as a Procorian and parent. I divide my work into blocks (7:00 - 9:00 am, 11:00-2:00pm, 3:00-5:00pm, 7:00-8:30pm) and use the other blocks to prioritize family, exercise, and of course, me time!" - Yessica Imm, Localization Project Manager, Procore, Austin, TX
"My one tip I give to friends and family experiencing the WFH+kids life for the first time is to have patience and be flexible because no two days are going to look the same. Even at 18 months, our kids know how to communicate what they need. Having the patience to listen, understand, and respond accordingly will make rough days a lot smoother. Penelope's favorite time of the day is my 'family time' break around lunchtime. We go on a walk, cook lunch, she helps me unload the dishwasher, or switch the laundry, and we do a craft or run around in the backyard. It's amazing how completely disconnecting for an hour or so and focusing completely on your kiddo can reset any prior feelings of stress or overwhelm either of us had (oh, and that post-family time, midday nap she takes is a win, too!)." - Alexis Florian, Recruiting Coordinator, Elastic, California
"My husband is a realtor who can't work much due to social distancing, so he's been handling most of the childcare while I work. That said, the guilt load from being home with my kids and not being with them is huge. To help with that, I try to set aside time every day to eat lunch with my two kids and then put them down for naps. I also guard the hours between 5 and 7 with my life - that is my family's time. When I'm with my family, I'm not touching anything work-related. Having these intentional blocks for dedicated family time makes a big difference." - Rachael Harnish, Director of Operations, Shogun, Harrisonburg, Virginia
"Know yourself. Be reasonable. Being flexible with myself goes a long way. If my work is done, sometimes I'll switch off an hour early to make the kids dinner. It's about balance." - Katie, Audible
"One thing that's working for me while working from home and managing my 2-year-old is being creative with our daily schedule. I prioritize certain work tasks I need to get through during typical work hours and tackle the not so urgent tasks later in the day. I take many breaks during the day to be present in playing and learning activities. My husband is also a big help in keeping her busy when I need to get work done. We set aside time each day for a fun activity from arts and crafts to pool time. It's not always easy to balance between work and family time, but it's so worth it." - Clarencia Taylor, Accounting and Reporting Advisory Senior, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Houston, TX
"When all of this started, I quickly made a schedule for my kids to follow during the day. At first, it went great, but after about 2 weeks it became hard for me and my husband to keep up with. We actually learned that allowing the day to flow naturally made all of us happier and more productive. My son – who is in 2nd grade – has weekly homework that he has to turn in. So everyday we tackle a little piece of it, and depending on the subject and who has time, my husband and I take turns helping. Our strategy is to simplify. Giving ourselves grace during this period of time is important because we can't do it all and we don't have to either." - Siobhan Burch, Senior Software Engineer, Expedia Group, Austin, TX
Take advantage of naptime
"I am fortunate to have a toddler who naps a lot. I use this time to schedule as many calls as I can and get as much done as possible. There have been several occasions where meetings were scheduled while she is awake. During this time, I set her up with all her favorite toys in our living room and I am on the other side of the room on my call." - Zainab Tohfafarosh, Manager, TA Operations, Priceline, Norwalk, CT
"I'm gonna be honest - nap time is my happy hour. It's not easy to work from home and actually get things done. But I'll admit, in the fourteen years I've been working exclusively from home, the words 'I miss working in an office' have never once left my mouth. Ditching the cubicle life was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I find that I'm far more productive in my job, but with two small children now at home with me full-time, I'm finding it beyond difficult to get things done. Getting both of my children to their rooms or 'quiet space' to sleep, read, (hello Mr. ABC Mouse!) is my saving grace. And if you find yourself taking a 20 minute power nap yourself, because frankly #parentinginapandemic is exhausting - well, you do what you gotta do." - Cami Lewis, Security Community Advocate, Elastic, Colorado
"One of the best solutions we've come up with is to try to do as much as possible while the 2 year old is napping. This includes meetings, work that needs focus, and homeschooling our five year old. It's taking 'sleep when the baby sleeps' to a new level. " - Marissa DeVito, Head of Music Marketing SoundCloud, NYC
"Two things I have started doing that have helped me is to book meetings while your kids are napping! My baby, Henry, likes to nap from 12-2 pm, so I try to schedule my important meetings during that time so i'm not interrupted. The second tip I recommend is always wake up in the morning before your little one does. That gives you time to shower, do your hair, and put on some makeup. If you feel good, your day just naturally goes better!" Samantha Licata, Service Delivery, Manager, Packet, New York
Lauren Schaefer (MongoDB) shares her thoughts about boundaries
"Shut down your computer and turn off your phone notifications when you are done working for the day. Boundaries are super important to ensure you don't burn out. You are valuable to your company. They have invested a lot of resources into making you a productive employee. They do not want you to burn out and quit. When your working day is done, shut down your computer, turn off your phone, and mentally check out. Seriously." - Lauren Schaefer, Developer Advocate - DevRel Content Team, MongoDB, Pennsylvania
"Do your dedicated work time out of sight. When one of us is in our 'dedicated work' time, we tuck away to our bedroom where we've set up an office and close the door. For our 15 month old, it's too distracting to see us (and a screen) and not be able to interact with us (or it). Also, to further minimize distractions for our child, my partner and I primarily text one another to communicate so that we don't keep coming in and out of the room." - Cecilia Lum, Senior Product Manager, Flatiron New York City
"I started making my schedule available to my son and my spouse. We began printing it from Outlook but have since gone green and posted it to our family Google Drive. Purple calendar entries are 'do not disturb Mom and go stalk another grown up to be part of your Ancient Rome Video.'" - Michelle Lemasters, Director of Business Technology, Quality, BT Operational Excellence, CSL, Pennsylvania
Find creative forms of entertainment — and give yourself a free pass on any associated mom guilt!
Jennifer Cullem's son crafting while she gets some work done
"My five-year-old is a dyed-in-the-wool extrovert so getting him to do anything solo is a challenge. However, I've come up with two activities lately that have magically been able to suck him in for anywhere from 30 - 45 minutes. I bought some burlap, yarn, beads, bells, and embroidery hoops and taught him that he can 'draw' with the thread. Many, many T-Rexes have been crafted from this to his delight. I also bought one of those Melissa & Doug kid looms and he spent a solid 45 minutes (after the first few minutes of set-up help from us) weaving his own yarn coaster. I don't know what it is, maybe the soothing magic of repetitive motion, but it buys me time for a workout or a meeting." - Jennifer Cullem, Head of R&D for Soundbetter, Spotify, NY
"Since we cannot go to the playground anymore, I turned our small patio into a playground for my 3-year-old: buying a swing was a great investment, and she entertains herself with lots of chalk painting, hopscotch and bubble making. It helps that I can see the patio from where I'm working" - Kat Liger, Software Engineer, Helix, San Francisco, CA
"Other than the two hours of homework time before lunch on a laptop, the best strategy for us is having both kids (8 and 4 years) take some quiet play time of at least two hours post-lunch and one hour of TV time. During this time, the rules are to play with each other without coming to us unless there is a big fight." - Shuchi Jain, Business Systems Analyst, Viasat, Carlsbad
"Plan screen time around your meeting schedule, and try to keep both to a daily minimum, or as I told a colleague earlier this week: 'we can have a working session, but it can't be longer than Frozen 2.' This might mean shifting discussions to another channel, such as Microsoft Teams, where collaboration can happen on a more flexible schedule. Also, try condensing meeting times and sending detailed agendas/review materials ahead of time so that time together is more productive and action-oriented." - Meghan O'Brien, People Agile Senior Consultant, S&P Global, Salem, VA
"We found that we have to be very intentional with our time and try to get as much outdoor activity each day which really helps with the toddlers. We also got a bounce house in our bonus room that takes up the whole room. That was the best $150 I've ever spent!" - Emily Hunter, Senior Advisor, Talent Acquisition, Dell Technologies, Nashville, TN (For more great tips from Emily, click here!)
"We've been doing our best to be creative with our play and with our space. Living in NYC sized apartments with no yard proves to be a challenge but we've made it work. We are fortunate to have a car so we have extended our play space to the car! Lenox loves to pretend to drive and play with all of the buttons. Sometimes we get an hour out of this! Another thing we've been doing is going on a 'hunt' for items in the apartment. We will point to something in the book and Lenox will find the object in our home and bring it back to us." - Meghan Timpf, Executive Assistant To Chief Executive Officer, Teachers Pay Teachers, NYC
"Shaving cream in the shower! Buys you a 30 minute window for 1.99! I can take a conference call sitting outside of the stall." - Erin Merkel, Director of Implementation, Flexport, San Francisco, CA
"This month my son joined me in volunteering at our local food bank by bagging and distributing groceries to our community. We all adhered to the social distancing and face masks guidelines, but what stood out the most was how beautiful a day it was and all the extra hands we had. After a day of volunteering, my son asked he asked if we could come back for the month of May!" - Morsie Murphy, Client Service Representative, Autodesk, San Francisco, CA
Find the routine that works for you.
"Our family has had to get very creative during these unprecedented times. Trying to manage a full-time job, homeschooling, and keeping my daughters entertained has been a challenge but we are finally figuring out our routine. I have found that a well-planned schedule every day for the kids has allowed them to stay on track while I work. I have also adjusted my schedule to wake up early while the house is still quiet to knock out some work." - Erin Lovern, Director, Global Talent, CloudBees, Virginia
"What's working for us during this time is a schedule that I have set with my kids. They set their alarms, get up, get dressed, make their beds and eat breakfast just as they did when they were going to school (although they do get to sleep in until 7:30). They have a daily schedule they follow that is hanging up in our school room (aka dining room) so they can see and follow it daily. It allows for them to be occupied with their school work and my husband and I to work also."- Angie Kelly, Talent Acquisition, Raytheon Technologies, Texas
"Plan, Plan, Plan and keep the routine going!" - Amanda Taveau, University Programs Recruiting Manager, Raytheon Technologies, Texas
"One strategy that has worked for me is to start every day with a positive frame of mind. No matter what we do, morning routines set the standard. For example, a healthy breakfast, some light yoga, and a glass of water. Once we get the basics down, it's time to build on them. This helps keep sanity in the home. If things aren't right at home, they can't be right at work." - Meenakshi Mishra, Senior Project Manager, StockX, Detroit, MI
Plan ahead as a family.
"Every evening we plan for the next day and add online school meetings to the kids' planner. Teaching the children to be proficient with their digital platforms (Seesaw, Google Classroom, Khan Academy etc.), enables them to be self-sufficient." - Movi Banerjee, Director, Head of Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Infrastructure & Operations, CSL, Pennsylvania
"The one thing that [my partner] and I have found to really work well is post-bedtime, we review our schedules for the next day to split out our coverage. It's way easier for us to know the times where we can/can't 'work' while on baby duty and it helps both of us focus during the time when the other is 'off' (though we're never off, are we?)." - Mom from Guru (Click here for more tips from the Guru team!)
"After the 1st week, we made a schedule and try to stick to it (with exceptions for meetings that can't be moved). When my husband is watching her in the mornings, I try to really focus on work and not butt in even if I can hear Ada fussing from the other room! At the end of the day, this has probably been a good exercise for me in learning to let go and prioritize." - Alexa Rhoads, Lead Product Manager, Autodesk, San Francisco
"The best way that I am able to manage is to coordinate schedules with my partner when it comes to childcare. To keep ourselves sane, we will sync our schedules the night before so we can tag-team and ensure that our toddler has someone available to interact with. ...If we do happen to [have meetings at the same time] and can't control the schedule, we will resort to the best parent in our household, also known as the television." - Holly Lee, Software Development Engineer II, Expedia Group, Seattle
Don't be afraid to lean on family/friends for support – even if it's virtual!
Danielle Lemon's daughter sharing videos with family
"Knowing that everyone has something that they can learn from someone, we have asked family members to teach [our daughter] things via FaceTime in their spare time. This has ranged from Yoruba lessons, cooking, braiding, to reading together. Family members have also asked my daughter to teach them things she knows, which have reinforced her learning and understanding!" Danielle Lemon, Inclusion and Diversity Coordinator, Conde Nast
"My mother is a former educator. As a single mom, I can't manage work and educating two kids in elementary school at the same time. For two hours a day, my mother and father get on a Zoom call and educate my children virtually. This includes buddy reading, playing math games, learning drafting (technical drawings), etc. The best part, my parents are getting a chance to showcase their skillset and wisdom and my kids have the time to devour it. At the same time, I can count on those two hours to be able to hold meetings without interruption, which is critical to the progress of my work." - Crystal Morey, UX Researcher, Smartsheet, Bellevue, Washington
"Back when my son was a newborn, I would often do work on my phone while he nursed. Now that he's older and has a more regular sleep schedule, I take advantage of hours I know he'll be asleep, both naps during the day, and the evenings, to get my work done. I'm also lucky enough to have the ultimate hack: the help of others. My mom watches my son for a few hours every day so that I can get work done. And ultimately, I have a supportive and involved partner who understands that sometimes I need to put my nose to the grindstone and he takes charge of our son." Vera Wells, Backend Engineer, DuckDuckGo, Pennsylvania
"My hack is also in the realm of getting help from others. My mother-in-law has a tight relationship with my 3-year-old son and has been on FaceTime 'babysitting' him while I'm in meetings. She goes all out with stories, questions, stuffed animals, props, whatever, to keep him engaged. It's not perfect, but it's a nice perk when I'm in a jam." Diana Chiu, Sr. Manager, Business Development, DuckDuckGo, Vancouver, Canada
Change how you take your meetings.
"I have discovered there are options to be productive without the need of being in front of a laptop: walking meetings and taking meetings with wireless headphones. I do a lot of walking meetings with my daughter Tori. I put her into a stroller and we go for a walk while I join my meeting. This works well for us as we both get fresh air and I get physical activity."Anne Michels, Director of Product Marketing, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft, Washington
"My daughter is 10 months old, and I haven't found many hacks yet. I honestly have been trying to enjoy this time with her. If I have a low-key zoom meeting where I don't need to take notes, I have her join and everyone loves it! I have also been working at odd times, waking up at 4/5am and working for 3 hours, then napping for an hour. This way I don't feel too stressed about things during the day. I love taking naps with her, it helps me recharge especially when I get up early." Stephanie Lajoie Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Program Manager, CarGurus, Boston, MA
Use your closed door to communicate.
Tess Dixon's (Conde Nast) special mailbox for her daughter
"My 6-year-old often wants to come and knock on my office door and interrupt me 53 times a day when she thinks of some little thing she wants to tell me, or when she just wants to say hi. My partner helped my daughter make this little 'mailbox' out of card stock and stick it to my office door so that she can color me a picture or write me a note and 'deliver' it to me that way. I check the mailbox periodically when I'm between meetings, and I think it's brightened both our days." Tess Dixon, Design Manager, Conde Nast, Richmond, VA.
"I have set up a piece of a cardboard box that states 'please wait until I am off the phone' in front of the office door. When my daughter sees this, she knows she has to wait before she can interrupt. I tried implementing this for when I am on conducting candidate interviews." Melany Austin, Talent Acquisition Manager, StockX, Detroit, MI
Embrace the occasional bribe.
"I try to find different ways to motivate each of my kids. My one daughter doesn't like reading, so I started to pay her if she reads certain pages by the end of the week. Now she's already finished a few books since the quarantine started! Before quarantine, I didn't allow my kids to watch TV on weekdays. Now, if they finish their work and they don't fight, they can watch TV after 6pm," - Tihut Haven, Global Benefits Analyst, Flexport, SF
Make technology your friend – not your enemy!
"I use Alexa to set timers to alternate between screen time and not. Now my 5-year-old understands how to set the timer himself and he follows it!" - May Chu, Global Operations Manager, Flexport, LA
Above all, be kind to yourself. YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST!
"Don't forget to pat yourself on the back — balancing children and a full-time job is beyond difficult. Treat yourself with your favorite meal occasionally." Siva Ravali Dhanekula, Development Manager, Priceline, NYC
"At the end of the day (which is often sometime in the late evening), I know I'm providing as much effort as I can for both our child and Teachers Pay Teachers.... Our mission of unlocking the collective wisdom of teachers is more important than ever, and I couldn't be more grateful to be part of that effort — before, during, and after this storm passes. Until then, continue to maintain social distance, wash your hands frequently, and remember to go easy on yourself — you're doing what you can, and that has to be enough!" - Maria Victoria, Project Manager, Teachers Pay Teachers, NYC
What creative hacks are helping you get through this unprecedented time? Let us know in the comments... And Happy Mother's Day!
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Thank you so much for attending the June event in our 2022 Diversity Reboot Series, Pride: Championing LGBTQIA+ Leaders and Allies.
This three-day event was packed with great talks, amazing speakers, and was fully made possible by our wonderful sponsors.
Thank You To Our Sponsors:
Featured Topics Included:
- Transitioning As A College Athlete
- Asexuality: The Overlooked Letter in the Acronym
- The Military of the Future is Trans-Inclusive
- Supporting Queer People in Rural Communities
- A Leader, an Ally...What Does That Mean?
- Investigating The Intersection of LGBTQIA+ and Disability
Check out some of the work from our amazing speakers:
- Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva
- The Educator’s Guide to LGBT+ Inclusion by Dr. Kryss Shane, MS, MSW, LSW, LMSW (she/her)
As part of our summit, PowerToFly was honored to make donations to the following organizations:
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.
Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Companies
Sustainability is more important now than ever.
Companies use huge amounts of our planet’s resources, and they in turn have huge impacts — positive and negative ones. While a few generations ago, it seemed as if the Earth’s resources were infinite, we now know how false that is.
That’s why it’s critical that sustainability be at the integral to a company’s makeup, prioritizing protecting the resources we do have left and having positive impacts on the environment.
We asked some of our partner companies to share what they do to promote positive environmental impact and sustainability. For some of them, solving environmental issues is part of their core DNA and others have taken on initiatives outside of their own business objectives to leave the world a better place than how they found it. Keep reading to hear what they said!
Collins Aerospace —
As a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry, Collins Aerospace is in a unique position to make a positive impact on sustainable aviation. We innovate for – and with – our customers to drive more sustainable solutions.
Collins Aerospace has joined in the Fly Net Zero commitment announced in October 2021 by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). As an active supporter of the industry’s goal to achieve net-zero civil aviation carbon emissions by 2050, our commitment is stronger than ever. At Collins our sustainability roadmap focuses on three pillars:
1. Engagement with our stakeholders - our customers, suppliers, shareholders, communities and employees – to collaboratively set the standards for a sustainable future of the aviation industry in terms of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) performance.
2. Our Technology Roadmap focusing on innovative and disruptive solutions to improve aircraft energy and operational efficiency and to enable alternative power sources, in particular Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), hydrogen and hybrid-/electric propulsion.
3. Our Industrial Road Map focusing on sustainable production and products – including GHG reductions through energy efficiency and use of green energies, substitution or reduction of chemical substances, reduction of water consumption as well as recycling and waste management.
For more information please refer to our website at https://www.collinsaerospace.com/Sustainability
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Okta’s climate strategy is focused on reducing emissions in 4 ways: reducing consumption, electrification, purchasing renewable electricity to match 100% of our global office and workforce electricity consumption, and engaging our vendors, as over 90% of our emissions are from our value chain. We strive to incorporate equity into our work. For example, we purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) with a social benefit, such as CA Bright Schools Solar and energy justice RECs - community solar that reduces electricity costs for low-income residents via Solar Stewards.
Learn more about Okta here.
Established in 2012, Vanguard's community gardens are planted, maintained, and harvested by crew volunteers who donate the produce raised to local food banks, pantries, and centers.
Gardens in Pennsylvania and Arizona raise a variety of produce, including tomatoes, peppers, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, carrots, and eggplant.
In addition, the community garden teams host periodic garden parties, workshops, and cooking demonstrations, where crew can learn more about what is being planted, ask questions about their own personal gardens, and network with other volunteers. All produce is grown organically, so there are opportunities to learn the latest in organic agriculture.
Learn more about Vanguard here.
Sustainability is a key component of Nokia’s strategy and purpose of creating technology that helps the world act together. We believe digitalization and connectivity solutions are critical to resolving many of the global problems facing society.
We take a two-pronged approach. We maximize our handprint while minimizing our footprint across environmental and social issues, supported by robust governance and responsible and ethical business practices.
We realize we cannot do this alone, and we call for accelerated digitalization and enhanced connectivity, greater multi-party, multi-discipline collaboration and the establishment of sustainable platforms that encourage innovation.
Learn more about Nokia here.
EnerSys is the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications and has been for over 100 years. At our core, EnerSys delivers solutions that meet our customers’ most critical energy services and storage challenges. We also enable our customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and provide affordable and reliable access to energy – often referred to as “climate technology.” Our products support a wide range of industries and applications, from ensuring the reliability of broadband in rural communities to powering submarines and satellites to the manufacture and distribution of food supplies and critical health infrastructure.
Learn more about Enersys here.
At Google, we are celebrating the opening of our Bay View office — an all-electric, net water positive campus with the largest geothermal installation in North America. To deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time. The campus is also on track to be the largest project certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).
Learn more about Google here.
Waters Corporation —
Waters has committed to reducing its Scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) 35% from a 2016 baseline by 2025. As part of this commitment, we are increasing our use of renewable energy, phasing hybrid and electric vehicles into our service fleet, and incorporating green building principles into our facilities management practices. We are also taking steps to measure and reduce the environmental impact of our products, our packaging, and our supply chain. In addition, we encourage our employees around the world to be sustainability leaders in their communities. For more information, please see our most recent Sustainability Report.Learn more about Waters Corporation here
As a global company, Pluralsight is committed to positive corporate citizenship and to continuously improving efficiency as we scale. We’ve implemented several initiatives that will help reduce our carbon footprint, including new remote/hybrid work policies and we’ve recently signed a climate pledge that sets us on the path to becoming carbon neutral. Through this pledge we plan to set clear greenhouse gas (GHG) annual reduction targets and also invest in ways to proactively offset the balance of our GHG emissions to achieve net zero. This plan will also support our team members in their involvement in local sustainability initiatives.
Learn more about Pluralsight here.
Expedia Group —
In 2019, Expedia Group partnered with UNESCO to create the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge which aims to promote sustainable travel, community resilience and heritage conservation globally. Signatories can learn about sustainable practices for their business, and together we can drive positive change in the travel industry for future travelers. The UNESCO Pledge now has 4,200 hotels committed to concrete, transparent and achievable action.
Learn more about Expedia Group here.
At UKG, we care deeply about our environmental impact and our responsibility to take care of the world in which we live and work. Our primary environmental impacts relate to our own energy consumption, as well as the energy consumption of UKG hardware products, our business travel, and the consumption of natural resources through our activities and procurement processes. Our recent and ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint, including both our own corporate output and the sustainability and environmental practices of our trusted suppliers and vendors, are a critical component of our ESG Initiative.
Learn more about UKG here.
CDW is committed to protecting the environment by continuing to find ways to manage our business with increasing efficiency and understanding the full extent of our environmental impact.
Our efforts include participating in multiple electronics recycling programs, consistently meeting and exceeding our waste diversion goal of 90% at our US distribution centers, and implementing smart packaging solutions that maximize both product protection and material efficiencies.
We also recognize that our greatest opportunities to impact the environment lie in our supply chain and our ability to work with our partners to address issues such as climate change and waste reduction. For example, more than 75% of our US shipments are handled by carriers with Net Zero emissions targets.
Learn more about CDW here.
At Moody’s, we are doing our part to protect the environment and tackle climate change. We are committed to achieving net-zero emissions in our operations and value chain by 2040 – 10 years earlier than the Paris Agreement goals – and to aligning our relevant products and services to net-zero. We also offer market participants climate solutions to help them better understand the risks and opportunities presented by climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy. Learn more about Moody’s efforts and progress in our 2021 Stakeholder Sustainability Report and 2021 TCFD Report.
Learn more about Moody’s here.
Wolters Kluwer —
At Wolters Kluwer we’re not only helping our customers create a safer, cleaner world - we’re doing it ourselves!
In 2021, Wolters Kluwer launched a sustainability program called ENGAGE and to celebrate the contributions employees made, this year we held the Global Sustainability Awards.
Colleagues in our Enablon business won an award for partnering with volunteer organisations around the globe including Chicago Region Tree Initiative in the US, SUPclean-up in the Netherlands, and the Calthorpe Community Garden in the UK.
80 Enablon volunteers spent more than 300 hours planting trees and clearing litter from waterways and beaches, helping raise awareness across Wolters Kluwer of the importance of sustainable practices while giving back to local communities.
Learn more about Wolters Kluwer here.
As the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, sustainability is implicit in everything we do at Novelis. Our ambition is to be the world’s leading provider of low-carbon, sustainable aluminum solutions that advance our business, industry and society toward the benefits of a circular economy. We’re guided by our sustainability goals, which will ultimately lead to a reduction in energy intensity, a reduction in water use, and a reduction of waste sent to landfills by 2026. Cultivating a diverse and engaged employee base will be our greatest enabler in achieving these goals.
Learn more about Novelis here.
Sun Life —
Sun Life views climate change as a defining issue of our time. We’re working to address climate change and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. We have set a goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for both our investments and operations. We're also committed to integrating climate strategies across our businesses and working collaboratively with our Clients, stakeholders, and the industry at large, towards this common goal.
To help us expand on our commitments and strategies, Sun Life recently appointed Paula Haschig as our new Vice-President, Climate Change. Learn more in our latest Sustainability Report.Learn more about Sun Life here
Key to solving the world’s most pressing issues: climate, health equity, poverty, racial justice, and education, is data.
With customers around the globe, Splunk is uniquely positioned to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.
Learn more about Splunk here.
GoTo is committed to maintaining carbon neutrality. Our permanent move to a remote-centric workforce has reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions across all scopes. To account for the shift in our employees’ work locations, we purchase certified offsets for the emissions they generate during work hours, both in the office or at home, as well as for necessary corporate travel. We also procure 100% renewable electricity for our global operations by purchasing Green-e certified RECs to match our global electricity usage. Our data centers have high ratings from Greenpeace and we engage our global employees through our Global Green Team.
Learn more about GoTo here.
Raytheon Technologies —
As part of Raytheon Technologies’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) vision, Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S) is working toward ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and water, minimize waste, and increase renewable electricity by 2025. Our ESG strategy guides all that we do, and particularly emphasizes purposeful connections with community. For example, over the past year RI&S has participated in various events like community clean-ups in McKinney, Texas; a food bank packing line in Plano, Texas; an Earth Day plant seed swap in Goleta, California; and a leadership team clean-up at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
From greener buildings to cleaner cars, smarter factories to bigger blockbusters, Autodesk technology is used by millions of people to design and make millions of things that impact billions of lives.
At Autodesk, sustainability is about making that impact positive across three impact opportunity areas: Energy & Materials, Health & Resilience, Work & Prosperity.
All this begins by being a better business ourselves. When we improve the impact of our own operations, we gain the knowledge and credibility to help our customers improve theirs. And by building a culture of belonging, together we thrive.
Learn more about Autodesk here.
We take a very broad view of sustainability and social impact, with our environmental focus rooted in both our climate responsibility and systemic, environmental justice concerns. Last year we launched our climate justice grantmaking program; with input from our EnviroDuty affinity group, we selected four incredible climate justice organizations to support: Earth Guardians, Earth Hacks, The Solutions Project, and OpenAQ. We are also taking our own responsibility seriously, reporting our first greenhouse gas inventories and preparing to set targets in line with the global need to limit warming to 1.5°C to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
American Express —
American Express is committed to advancing climate solutions and enhancing its operations and capabilities to meet customer and community needs in the transition to a low carbon future. In 2021, the company committed to net-zero emissions by 2035 and has been CarbonNeutral® powered by 100% renewable electricity across its global operations since 2018. The company set a goal to pilot low-carbon product innovations and is making new digital products and services available to help customers understand their carbon footprint. To support climate action through community giving, the company will provide at least $10 million by 2025 to backing low-carbon communities.
Learn more about American Express here.
At Esri, we believe that it is everyone’s duty as global citizens to protect our world’s resources. As a business, Esri practices sustainability by operating on solar power in many of its buildings, using electric cars for corporate vehicles, providing EV charging stations for employees, donating and planting trees in the community, and more. Some of Esri’s key initiatives are conservation and sustainability. Influencing and partnering with customers to build a sustainable future through geographic information system (GIS) technology is what drives us. You can read more about these initiatives at https://www.esri.com/en-us/about/about-esri/why-we-do-it.
Learn more about Esri here.
Pitney Bowes —
In 2021, Pitney Bowes was named a Climate Leadership Award winner. We have committed to be carbon-neutral in our operations by 2040. We are also proud to announce that we have increased our share of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar power.
Learn more about Pitney Bowes here
BlackRock has a multi-pronged strategy to address climate-related risks and promote positive environmental impact. One commitment that we’re proud of is The BlackRock Foundation's recent commitment of $100 million to Breakthrough Energy's Catalyst Program, which will help accelerate the development of climate solutions necessary to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
In addition to our strategies as an asset manager and as a company, our people play an important role in creating and leading sustainability within our offices. Our Green Team Network is responsible for stewarding conservation efforts throughout our offices and within the communities in which we operate. The 49 teams organize activities including elimination of single use plastics, rebuilding our local ecosystems, taking personal responsibility for our own net zero journeys, matching donation opportunities, educating all employees on climate and environmental issues, and so much more!
Join us as we provide financial security and overall well-being of people and communities around the world.
Learn more about BlackRock here.
We loan because… we want the world to be a better place
At Kiva, our mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, and this mission extends beyond just financial poverty. We aim to help increase access to basic services as well, from clean water and sanitation, to getting sustainable energy in homes. Green loans on Kiva help borrowers switch to environmentally friendly products that reduce pollution, promote sustainable practices and help families succeed. Read more about this HERE
Made of individual kiva lenders who are concerned about the environmental impacts of their loans, this is a forum to notify each other of environmentally sustainable loans that are needing funding. Sustainable development projects include recycling, solar, re-use, organic agriculture, health, etc.
Learn more about Kiva here.
Cummins is committed to powering a healthier environment, stronger communities, and robust and inclusive economies. Our PLANET 2050 environmental sustainability strategy, and our Destination Zero™ product strategy are driven by decarbonization and circular economic principles that promote economic growth while using fewer of the world's resources.
Learn more about Cummins here.
Finding new ways to help the planet and the people around us is some of the most important work we do at 1Password. This year, in celebration of Earth Day and giving back, we partnered with Evertreen and sponsored the planting of 10,000 trees. Additionally, in support of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance sending hundreds of youth to the UN Ocean Conference Youth and Innovation Forum, we created custom reusable tote bags for each attendee. We also participated in a water bottle giveaway in partnership with Ocean Bottle, with one reusable bottle preventing 1000 plastic bottles from entering the ocean. We know there is always more to do to support our planet, and we're excited to continue doing the work alongside these partners.
Learn more about 1Password here.
Samsara is in a unique position where we help our customers to be more efficient, safe, and sustainable by delivering actionable insights that improve their operations.
“Our customers keep the world running. Our solutions help them digitize their operations so that they can cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce safety and security incidents, and make the world a better place.” - Sarah Patterson, CMO at Samsara
For example, a transportation solutions customer saw a 50% reduction in vehicle idling and a 2% increase in fuel efficiency—resulting in 150,000 gallons of fuel saved and over $500,000 in savings per year.
Learn more about Samsara here.
The biggest thing we’ve done is go 100% remote for those that want to, and we are currently downsizing our office space. Prior to going remote, we issued monthly green credits to those that used public transportation or biked/walked to work. When we had chefs, they used local farms and purveyors. We were also the first commercial customer of Lettuce Grow and had several hydroponic towers on site from we which we harvested our greens for lunch. Participation in community service and clean ups of our local water ways is also an important part of our charity work.
Learn more about uShip here.
“Our sustainability approach at Relativity is to provide our employees with the tools, resources and working groups they need to be more sustainable in both their work and personal lives. We focus on growing responsibly as a company in regards to sustainability metrics, our carbon footprint, and so on – but we also focus on educating and empowering our employees to make thoughtful decisions in their work and home life and become stewards of a sustainable future. We strongly believe that the impact of our sustainability program should be far reaching beyond our offices.”
— Amanda Fennell, Chief Security Officer and Chief Information Officer
Learn more about Relativity here.
SumOfUs is 20,425,844 people stopping big corporations from behaving badly.
On environmental justice & sustainability — we believe in safeguarding our communities and the planet from the impacts of climate change. We advocate for Indigenous land rights, the safety and wellbeing of climate refugees, reducing plastic waste and water pollution, and preventing habitat destruction
HERE are some of our current campaigns we’re very proud to share with you.
Learn more about SumOfUs here.
As a purpose-driven company committed to long-term value creation, ServiceNow has made Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) a strategic imperative across our organization. With digital experiences that make work flow across the complex ESG landscape, ServiceNow is making progress and driving sustained impact for the planet. We’ve achieved 100% renewable electricity and carbon neutrality in business operations, travel and work from home. Additionally, we’re engaging in responsible procurement—33% of our suppliers by spend have set or committed to science-based targets.
Learn more about ServiceNow here.
Collective Insights — Community Connection at Collective Insights
At Collective Insights, our community is more than just something we are part of. You'll find us lending a hand or sharing a donation, but more than that, we're invested in making an impact! From the beginning, giving back to our city has been an integral part of Collective Insights' mission.
Chattahoochee River Keepers (CRK), one of our main community partners, has a mission of ensuring there is enough clean water in the Chattahoochee River now and for future generations. Collective Insights partners with CRK annually to serve alongside hundreds of volunteers to keep our community clean.
Watch to learn more about how we support our Atlanta community through short-term initiatives and long-term sustainable efforts.
Learn more about Collective Insights here.
Pax8 provides positive environmental impact by recycling, utilizing power management in all of our suites, auto shutdown of lighting and appliances. We use environmentally friendly kitchen utensils and supplies. Our environmental group organizes e-waste events for all of our hardware that has reached end of life, as well as several other events to help clean up the environment.
Learn more about Pax8 here.
As a leader in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting, sustainability is part of who we are at Workiva. To reduce our environmental impact and provide a way for our employees to safely dispose of electronics, we’re hosting a company-wide E-Waste drive in August. We’re also piloting a new initiative to power down our offices on select Fridays to measure the potential impact we can have in reducing our carbon footprint. By eliminating single-use plastics in all our offices, along with recycling in many of them, we’re doing our part to take care of the planet.
Learn more about Workiva here.
Light & Wonder — Every day is Earth Day at Light & Wonder!
As part of Light & Wonders commitment to invest in our planet and serve as environmental stewards, hundreds of employees come together annually to support a local community cleanup as a partner in The Great Global Cleanup. Employees globally participate in the flagship volunteer program and worldwide campaign to remove millions of pieces of trash from neighborhoods, beaches, rivers, lakes, trails, and parks — reducing waste and plastic pollution, improving habitats, and preventing harm to wildlife and humans. Light & Wonder employees take action on Earth Day each year to participate and mobilize with millions of volunteers to keep our communities and clean and healthy.
Light & Wonder also supports The Canopy Project, funding reforestation efforts worldwide that plant trees across vast ecosystems, with many species completely reliant on them for their survival. Reforestation is an effective method to fight against climate change while also maintaining the many benefits forests provide. Light & Wonder donated more 7,500 trees in the last year alone and remains committed to support reforestation projects is an effective method to fight against climate change.
Learn more about Light & Wonder here.
Back Market —
We're rebels with a cause.
Spurred into action by the megatons of e-waste (electronic waste) we produce each year thanks to our collective obsession with new tech, Back Market is challenging people to rethink their tech consumption.
Since 2014, through the sale of refurbished smartphones, Back Market has prevented:
- The emission of 580,144,582.08 kg of CO2
- The use of 1,878,480,190 kg of raw materials
- The consumption of 498,015,680,400 L of water
- The production of 1,274,162.93 kg of electronic waste
Learn more about Back Market here.
At McMaster-Carr, an e-commerce company with five US facilities, we are increasingly aware of the limits of natural resources. Although our operations are not particularly burdensome on the environment, we do our part to create a sustainable economy by focusing on reducing energy and emissions, leveraging recyclable materials, reducing waste and water use and offering our customers products that support sustainability. Specifically, at McMaster-Carr we have achieved reducing energy consumption and emissions by 15% and 25% respectively over a five-year period and continues to divert more than 90% of waste from landfills.
Learn more about McMaster-Carr here.
Northrop Grumman —
Northrop Grumman incorporates environmental sustainability into our business process and operations and prioritizes strong environmental management.
- We are committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our operations by 2035. To do this, we will continue to emphasize efficiency, invest in low and zero carbon energy solutions and incentivize operations-related emissions reductions through the company’s non-financial metrics.
- Our company completed installation of our newest solar power-generating system at our Rolling Meadows, Illinois, site in 2021.
- Also in 2021, we adopted additional processes to help our employees remain safe amidst the pandemic, while continuing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint, and using our past performance to help shape future goals with sustainability at the forefront.
- Learn more about our commitment to environmental sustainability.
Learn more about Northrop Grumman here.
Chainalysis’s Ashley Vaughan on Why She Finds Cybersecurity So Meaningful, and How More Women Can Find Their Niche in the Industry
How much money do criminals control today, and where is it?
These are some of the many questions that Ashley Vaughan, Senior Solutions Architect at blockchain data platform Chainalysis, spends her days working to answer.
“You learn more about a situation or problem by following the money than from any other resource or piece of information,” she explains. “Money doesn't lie. People can lie in text messages or other means, but the path of the money leads you to what you're trying to accomplish.”
Though Ashley always knew she wanted to work with computers, she found her way into roles in cybersecurity, and then specifically blockchain security, through networking and exposure — not by setting out to do so.
We sat down to talk about her career journey, as well as what advice she has for other women looking to make their mark in these burgeoning fields.
Resilience and Curiosity
Ashley doesn’t often give up, and credits some of that attitude to an obsession with soccer as a kid.
“Playing sports makes you a more resilient person, I think. You learn failure and risk, which are very applicable to my job and my career path,” she says.
That resiliency was a good thing, notes Ashley, because as a young girl, she wasn’t always encouraged to pursue what she was most interested in: math and science. A teacher early on had told her that she wasn’t good at math, and Ashley believed that narrative until high school.
“We really shouldn’t put those ideas in children’s minds, because it affects them for much longer than you might think,” she says of the experience. “But I’m the kind of person that when someone tells me I can’t do something, it makes me want to do it even more, and do it better.”
Finding out in advanced high school math classes that she actually was good at math turned into choosing a computer engineering major when she got to college.
Graduating during a recession in 2010 meant Ashley didn’t have the job market of her dreams, but after working in IT, she networked her way into a role in the cybersecurity department of a prominent DC law firm.
“They were getting hit left and right from social engineering and phishing attempts,” says Ashley. “Due to the sensitive nature of the work they dealt with, I was exposed to the darker realities of the digital era, and I began to see a new side to the world—one of real significance to national security.”
Specializing in Cybersecurity — and Finding a Home in the Private Sector
Inspired by what she was working on at the law firm, Ashley pursued a master’s in cybersecurity with a focus on counterterrorism.
“I wanted to help protect our country,” she explains. “I have a lot of family members who are former military, so that was a natural step for me.”
That led to her taking a contract role specializing in offensive security at a government agency that frequently worked with Chainalysis. After working with Chainalysis folks onsite, she was sold and started pursuing a position with the company.
“I wanted to help make sense of blockchain data for a bigger purpose, like assisting in the continued threat of ransomware activity against American interests,” she explains.
Although she credits her public sector work with providing a solid foundation in blockchain security, the private sector turned out to be a better fit for her.
“What I love about Chainalysis is that my colleagues are really happy people, and I’ve always felt welcome and not scared to ask questions,” says Ashley. “In past jobs, where I was one of five women in a group of 150, I felt a lot of pressure. I didn’t ever want to make a mistake. I felt as if I had to be a chameleon to match the social environment of my male counterparts.”
Blockchains are all about democratizing data, and Ashley likes working with a team of people of all backgrounds to help support that mission. At Chainalysis, Ashley works with internal product and engineering to show customers how Chainalysis data can help them use complex blockchain solutions to solve data problems — and catch bad guys.
“Sometimes we’re following a bad actor who’s tied to child sex trafficking. Being part of a coordinated operation to put a stop to things like that is really fulfilling,” she says.
3 Tips for Women Who Want to Find Their Place in Cybersecurity
For a long time, reflects Ashley, she just wanted to come into work, do her job, and feel supported, without feeling like she didn’t fit in or was representing her entire gender. Fortunately, she found what she wanted — and she hopes other women will find that, too. They can start their search by:
- Knowing they’re not alone in having tough experiences. “Everyone has different definitions for how you’re supposed to act or supposed to handle your emotions as a woman at work, and it’s exhausting. It’s like, ‘This is just me.’ I can’t repeat enough how tiring that is,” she says.
- Prioritizing self-directed learning. Although Ashley completed a master’s in cybersecurity, she emphasizes that there are many other routes into the industry, including self-study. Whether you get involved in programs like Girls Who Code or do self-paced learning through platforms like Udemy or Coursera, the important thing is that you pursue independent learning about topics that interest you, she says.
- Creating and maintaining relationships. “Really talking to people is almost a lost art,” says Ashley. “Getting together with someone who has the same sort of mindset and leveraging their knowledge, and making sure you keep in touch with people who help further your career, is a good move. Most of the places I got to professionally were based on my human connections.”
Nowadays at Chainalysis, Ashley is no longer one of five women in the office, and is excited to start paying it forward so that more people with backgrounds like hers can pursue their own professional success.
“We tend to feel more comfortable talking to people who might have our same gender or educational background, and being open and vulnerable with them,” she says. “Being a visible role model is really important to me.”
Check out Chainalysis’ open roles here!