How 13 Women in Austin Tech Discovered Their Passion for Technology

In an industry dominated by men, stories about how women broke into tech and built careers tend to be less sought after. That doesn’t make them any less important or inspiring, though.

Written by Michael Hines
Published on Sep. 22, 2023
How 13 Women in Austin Tech Discovered Their Passion for Technology
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The tech industry is full of stories of passionate men driven to build, solve problems with code and make a difference in the world. It’s also full of stories of passionate women. But these tend to fall through the cracks in an industry dominated by men.

They’re no less interesting or inspiring, though, and are arguably more important as tech continues to struggle with a well-documented gender gap. That said, the value of these stories is not their ability to help the tech industry solve a problem it created and has perpetuated. Rather, it’s that another woman may be inspired to make a dynamic career change or to ask themselves if there’s something more to their love of problem-solving and desire to understand how things work.

There is no shortage of passionate women in tech willing to share their stories. All you have to do is seek them out and ask, which we did here.

 

 

Marla Montevaldo
VP of Technical Operations & Product Quality, Chief of Staff to the CTO • Realtor.com

Realtor.com is a one-stop-shop for buying, selling or renting a home. In addition, the company also helps home buyers find a real estate agent and mortgage lender.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Realtor.com.

I started my career as a technical program manager with a focus on driving technology-related priorities and leading teams. Because I had worked in a variety of functions and technology companies, I gravitated to business operations and chief of staff roles where having a broad base of knowledge across strategy, planning and operations is essential. I have also worked a considerable amount of time outside of the United States, which has allowed me to grow as a cross-cultural leader. 

In my current role, I lead the business operations, TPM and quality organizations. I also partner with our CTO, which allows me to focus on driving strategy and leading cross-company initiatives.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

My father, an engineer, was never far from a piece of graph paper, a mechanical pencil and his tools. He sketched out his ideas and plans and then built them. He talked about his work and how it was changing lives. Watching my father take an idea and turn it into something real inspired me to pursue a career where I could focus on designing and implementing processes and systems. 

Because technology is always evolving, my father was constantly reading. This instilled in me a lifelong love of learning and a desire to challenge myself to dive into diverse projects to gain new experiences and skills.
 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Ask people how they ended up in their roles and be specific with your questions so that they know how to help you learn. Learning from someone else — especially about what they wish they had done differently — will help you skip the tough spots and accelerate your career journey. 

Read or listen to podcasts to learn about the technologies changing our world. Follow technology companies and technologists on social media to learn more about what they do. Mostly, listen, learn and let your curiosity drive you toward identifying where you can make the biggest impact.

 

Learning from someone else — especially about what they wish they had done differently — will help you skip the tough spots and accelerate your career journey.”

 

 

Tara Chirichigno
Director of Software Engineering • NinjaOne

Managed service providers and IT departments use NinjaOne’s remote monitoring and management platform to manage, patch and support endpoints.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at NinjaOne.

My career journey began in college with an internship at a company that specialized in storage virtualization. After graduating, I became a C# and .Net developer performing website development for a payment system. I found my passion for low-level development when I transitioned to a C development role. I worked on multiple small projects within this space, reverse-engineered specialty programs and ended up as an integral piece to a large code base. 

This was followed by a role as a C++ developer. At NinjaOne, I progressed from a C++ developer focused on escalations and developing solutions to an engineering manager and eventually earned the position of director of software engineering where I guide engineering teams and projects.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

I’ve always had a passion for technology, but it took me some time to see it. I went to college with the intent of going pre-med, but then my cousin, who had a successful career in video game development at the time, inspired me. I complained to him one night about my demotivation and being unsure of my career path, and he suggested I take a C++ class just to explore. 

This ended up being a very pivotal moment for me. My cousin became someone I aspired to be and my passion for technology flourished. I was enamored by what I was able to create with just my hands and a laptop.

 

I was enamored by what I was able to create with just my hands and a laptop.”

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Strive to uncover what you don’t understand. Learn from the people you work with and the classmates you study with. Surround yourself with brilliant minds and you will innately learn the skill sets you need for success. Your career will naturally benefit from your personal growth.

 

 

Madhavi Dadi
Senior Data Engineer • BlackLocus

BlackLocus is The Home Depot’s in-house innovation lab.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at BlackLocus.

I started my career at a very large consulting company in India called Tata Consultancy Services. My journey from there to The Home Depot has been very rewarding as I got to learn different technologies and have grown as a person along the way. I’ve worked in multiple industries, ranging from telecommunications to gaming to retail. At Electronic Arts, I built a near-real-time dashboard in 2011 to showcase sales of the newest FIFA game to enable dynamic decision-making for executives. 

When I joined The Home Depot I was new to the world of coding and I am thankful to my peers for giving me this opportunity to learn and make an impact. I am a data engineer and build systems that collect, manage and convert raw data into usable information for data scientists and business intelligence. My ultimate goal is to make data accessible for analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

When I was a kid, every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, “An engineer!” Little did I know I would pursue computer science engineering. I was attracted to technology in the beginning because it just seemed cool. I submerged myself into tech and I’ve remained because of the ever-changing nature of the industry. 

You’ll never get bored in the tech sector, and I love the idea of being able to learn so much and still not know enough. I have tried my hand at different tools and technologies to build, extract, transform and load pipelines — like Informatica, webMethods, Python and more. In the database world, I have worked with SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata and MySQL, to name a few, and yet there is still so much more to explore!

 

I love the idea of being able to learn so much and still not know enough — there is still so much more to explore!”

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Be confident in who you are and what you can achieve. Take on the challenges and opportunities that life throws your way. Yes, there will be risks involved, but that’s okay because the gains will outweigh the losses.

 

 

Morgan Whaley
Engineering Manager • CertifID

CertifID builds wire fraud protection software for the real estate and legal industries.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at CertifID.

As an engineering manager at CertifID, I am responsible for establishing and managing new engineering squads and processes as we grow our organization and deliver new and exciting work for our customers.

I actually started as a print designer and signmaker who was wooed away to software engineering in 2009. I have done a little bit of everything: interactive design, full-stack development, running an incubator and now technical leadership. In addition, I have helped plan and run tech conferences, spoken at several tech events and meetups, moderated women in tech workshops and developed training courses for technical recruiters.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

My love for technology took hold when I was 16 years old. Like a lot of kids who felt out of place, I turned to the internet. This was back in the ‘90s when most websites were visually painful. I learned to write HTML, CSS and JavaScript to customize Geocities sites. Navigating a career pivot from design to development was the hardest thing I have done in my career. 

I was fortunate to have some great mentors, bosses and peers who took a chance on me, built me up and guided me through those critical first years. My design background drove me toward front-end and I rallied through the JavaScript wars, navigating a post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned libraries and battling frameworks, punctuated with the plate tectonics of constantly evolving standards.

I was initially a reluctant leader. I had been offered management roles, but I wasn’t ready to take them for a long time. In 2021, I wrote my last line of code. The shape of my role has changed, but my core mission, to solve problems and enable others, has not.
 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Find allies, coaches and mentors. They will be worth their weight in gold on your path, which can sometimes get scary and lonely. The tech industry is no longer occupied by lone geniuses coding alone in an office for months at a time. It is highly communicative, collaborative and vulnerable. 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I felt like an idiot during the first few years of my engineering career and still feel that way whenever I start a new job. I’ve learned to lean into that discomfort and have grown as a result by trying things that terrify me, whether that is speaking at a meetup to hundreds of attendees, giving a demo to executives or simply saying that I don’t understand something.

Finally, know that you belong here. You are the creator of your own fate and no one can take that away from you. Get firm on your North Star — it will guide you through the adversity that comes with any new journey.

 

Find allies, coaches and mentors. They will be worth their weight in gold on your path, which can sometimes get scary and lonely.”

 

 

Rachel Stemerman
Product Manager, Data Science & APIs • ESO

ESO develops software and data solutions for first responders, emergency medical services agencies and hospitals.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at ESO.

I joined ESO in 2020 after completing my doctorate in health informatics at UNC Chapel Hill. I am the product manager of the data platform, which encompasses all the reporting tools within our product suite. My proudest achievement to date has been spearheading the reconstruction of our data platform by introducing cutting-edge reporting tools. This initiative has not only elevated our product offerings but also empowered our customers to enhance their communities through data-driven solutions.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

My passion for technology was ignited as a paramedic. I couldn’t help but notice the fragmentation within our healthcare system, particularly in the realm of technology. This realization fueled my enthusiasm for data and technology, which was further kindled when I assumed the role of overseeing quality improvement at Orange County EMS. It was during this time that I honed my coding and database system skills.

However, my aspiration to make a more significant impact on healthcare tech beckoned. I envisioned putting cutting-edge technology, such as machine learning and data visualization, directly into the hands of healthcare providers. This passion drove me to recognize a critical gap in the industry: the absence of reporting tools that could transform data into actionable insights.

In transitioning from being a paramedic, where I could only care for one patient at a time, to my current role at ESO, I could leverage technology to influence an entire industry. It’s this prospect of creating systemic change and improving healthcare on a broader scale that solidified my commitment to a career in tech.

 

My passion for technology was ignited as a paramedic. I couldn’t help but notice the fragmentation within our healthcare system, particularly in the realm of technology.”
 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

To all the inspiring women discovering their passion for tech, I offer these words of advice:

Learn constantly. Technology is ever-evolving, so make learning a lifelong commitment. Stay curious, explore new concepts and keep up with industry trends. The more you know, the more empowered you become.

Fail fast and test all your ideas. Experimentation and innovation often involve setbacks, but these experiences are valuable. Embrace failures as learning opportunities and keep pushing forward.

Let go of perfectionism and embrace excellence. Perfectionism can be a roadblock to progress. Instead, strive for excellence in your work. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you continuously strive for improvement.

You are already more qualified than everyone in the room. Believe in your abilities and knowledge. Trust that you bring a unique perspective to the table. Your presence is an asset and your voice deserves to be heard. The tech industry is richer when it includes diverse voices and perspectives. Embrace your journey, be confident and keep pushing boundaries. Your potential knows no bounds.

 

 

Kara Silver
Senior Director of Digital • Tecovas

Tecovas is a direct-to-consumer western wear company offering boots, belts, hats and more.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Tecovas.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in ocean resources engineering. Feeling burnt out in academia and research, I took a job in customer experience at Formlabs, a 3D printer startup, which sparked my passion for improving software and UX. I moved into an operations manager role at a small 3D scanning and printing startup in New York City where I worked with our software engineers to develop our fulfillment software and the company’s website, all while running the manufacturing center. We were a small team and I had to play every role, from printer technician to furniture builder and even shipping associate at times. 

After three years, I joined a skincare startup called Atolla as their first full-time hire. By the time we were acquired two years later, I was VP of ops, product and engineering. We were acquired by a beauty brand, Function of Beauty, where I became director of digital product and worked with engineering on a full site redesign and re-platform. That ultimately led me here to Tecovas, the first digitally native Western brand, where I am the senior director of digital and currently building our new website.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to do and took school too seriously. I excelled at physics and calculus but it wasn’t clear at the time how that could translate to a career. My brother was in college for civil engineering at a time when there was a lot of pressure to choose a major that would translate to an immediate career post-graduation. My master’s thesis was on the use of underwater passive acoustics to study whale migrations, which is quite a jump to designing a website for a company that makes cowboy boots! 

Looking back, I can see that tech interests me because I appreciate logic. I relish that there can be clear answers and an efficient way to get from problem to solution. While the industries I was interested in have shifted and evolved, my love of innovative problem-solving and building best-in-class tech systems has stayed consistent.

 

Tech interests me because I appreciate logic. I relish that there can be clear answers and an efficient way to get from problem to solution.”

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Try not to take things too seriously. You don’t have to get straight As or be perfect to prove your worth. Being excited about an industry or field of study is enough to try it as long as you can support yourself. You can always change your path later. 

If you’re going to school, be curious, ask a lot of questions and go to office hours. Just because there is someone louder in the room doesn’t mean they have the right answer. Your voice deserves to be heard. Don’t let anyone make you doubt whether you belong. Being a woman in tech comes with extra challenges, but that’s why we need more diverse voices in this space. There are many here to welcome you with open arms.

 

 

Pauline Keys
Senior Director of Software Engineering & Belfast Site Lead • Workrise

Workrise provides a platform for companies, vendors and workers in the oil and gas industry to connect and do business together.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Workrise. 

My journey started when I was extended an offer as a Java engineer. As I progressed in my career and moved into a principal engineer role, I evolved into the go-to engineer entrusted with the responsibility of handling critical projects to ensure their successful completion. Over time, a natural inclination toward delivery processes and nurturing talent manifested. I found my true vocation as an engineering manager, a role that integrates my enthusiasm for both people and technology.

My professional trajectory gained momentum along the leadership path. A pivotal factor throughout my journey has been an exceptional mentor who consistently propels me to embrace audacious thinking, ensures that I’m persistently in a state of productive discomfort and extends invaluable support. Today, I lead an excellent team building the Workrise platform as the senior director of engineering and the site lead for Workrise Belfast.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

Raised without a tradition of higher education, attending a university wasn’t the norm. Upon approaching the end of high school, I explored options at a career fair. While considering the finance sector, the software engineering booth — represented by a woman — intrigued me, and her view of software engineering as problem-solving resonated with me. 

My university journey proved arduous, compounded by my lack of coding experience. Had it not been for my dad’s mantra, “We don’t quit, just keep trying,” I’m certain I would have dropped out. I ultimately secured a year-long internship where I was introduced to my first mentor. I shouldered responsibilities and gained invaluable insight into the product development lifecycle. It was during this time that my passion for software engineering was truly ignited.

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Firstly, tech is a multidimensional field and software engineering encompasses much more than just coding. It’s about fostering curiosity and viewing challenges as a collection of problems and puzzles that are solved collaboratively. It involves delivering solutions that delight users. Never allow the constraints of stereotypes to dictate your path. Instead, defy these stereotypes and become a trailblazer.

Should you find yourself surrounded by individuals who fail to uplift you for who you are and challenge you to grow, seek a new environment. At Workrise, I work alongside a fantastic team that continually propels my growth. This kind of thinking is upheld by our company's value of “learn and grow” and is reflected in the actions of leadership. 

Lastly, dedicate time to reading. Among my favorites are “Accelerate,” “The Confidence Code” and “Range.” These books have enabled me to bring out the best in those I lead.

 

Should you find yourself surrounded by individuals who fail to uplift you for who you are and challenge you to grow, seek a new environment.”

 

 

Manasa Bowenpally
Lead Software Engineer • Billd

Billd is a fintech company that offers commercial construction subcontractors financing terms that align with their payment cycles.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Billd.

I embarked on my professional journey as a Salesforce admin and built a robust background in Salesforce, Apex and Visualforce. I advanced through positions including Salesforce admin and developer and senior Salesforce developer, amassing expertise in Apex, Visualforce, Aura and Lightning development. At present, I’m a lead software developer at Billd where I engage in close collaboration with product and business owners, ensuring the successful delivery of projects that cater to our business needs.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

Technology holds the potential to profoundly influence the way we live, and my enthusiasm for it stems from its capacity to construct more effective tools. As I advanced in my education, I engaged in hackathons and coding competitions, which offered a platform to generate inventive solutions and swiftly construct prototypes.

Internships at technology companies exposed me to the rapid-paced atmosphere of the industry. Observing how teams harnessed technology to solve intricate problems and enhance daily life further cemented my ambition to pursue a tech-oriented career. Constant opportunities for learning and growth and the ability to contribute to advancements have led me to a path where I can combine my enthusiasm for technology to affect positive change.

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Building connections in the tech community is crucial as they can open up opportunities, provide guidance and lead to potential collaborations. Believe in yourself. Don’t doubt your abilities or your right to succeed. As the tech industry evolves rapidly, stay up-to-date with new technologies, programming languages and certifications. Be proud of your interest in tech and don’t hesitate to pursue your career with passion and determination.

 

Building connections in the tech community is crucial as they can open up opportunities, provide guidance and lead to potential collaborations.”

 

 

Georgina Elizondo Griffin
Senior Product Manager • Aceable

Aceable is an edtech company that partners with states to offer online and mobile driver’s ed and real estate licensing courses.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Aceable.

I graduated from UT Austin with a degree in communication science and disorders and worked as a speech-language pathology assistant, providing treatment to children with speech and language disorders. The reward was undeniable, but the toll it took led me to explore new directions. 

I entered the tech world through a coding boot camp and eventually co-founded a startup, a pivotal moment that propelled me into the realm of product management. It was during this journey that I learned a lot of invaluable skills — all self-taught — including strategic road mapping, the intricacies of managing development teams and the principles of crafting intuitive app designs.

The connection between my past as an SLPA and my current role as a product manager is striking. Just as I creatively solved problems for children’s speech needs, I now tackle challenges that require unique solutions in the tech world. The empathy I used to connect with my young clients now guides me in understanding users’ needs.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

My journey into tech wasn’t like a lightning strike, but more like a series of small, exciting sparks. Building a product from the ground up during my startup days ignited my passion for products. I found a thrill in untangling complex challenges and crafting innovative solutions. 

Having a software engineer as my better half didn’t hurt, and his mentorship influences my management style today. This dual perspective was so helpful in connecting with developers and solidifying my path in the tech industry.

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Never underestimate the power of a coffee chat! Reach out to those in the know: product managers, mentors and anyone with a tech tale to tell. Gather insights about learning the ropes, specifically the skills and resources you’ll need to be successful. You don’t need a tech degree or a stack of certifications to make waves. I certainly didn’t. 

If starting a business isn’t on the menu, that’s okay. Dive into projects within your current role that you can champion, upgrade and measure. My superpower is empathy, and when you find yours and lean into it, it will set you apart.

Taking a page from Brené Brown, I would also embrace the art of vulnerability — the courage to show up and be seen even in the face of uncertain outcomes. It’s the trust you extend to others and your integrity that makes you worthy of their trust. When things don’t go as planned, vulnerability becomes your ally, helping you rise with resilience and learn from setbacks.

 

Never underestimate the power of a coffee chat! Reach out to those in the know: product managers, mentors and anyone with a tech tale to tell.”

 

 

Haley Lenner
Lead Product Manager • Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy enables travelers to rent idle RVs, trailers and vans from their owners for road trips and camping. In addition, the company recently started listing yurts, tiny homes and cabins.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Outdoorsy.

I studied computer science and fell into product management through a college internship at Bleacher Report, which I joined after graduation as an associate product manager on the internal tools team. From there I changed tracks to more consumer-focused product management and got to work on many super fun projects. After Bleacher Report, I moved to Outdoorsy because I loved the idea of helping people reconnect with the outdoors and was excited to work on a product that embraces both the digital and physical worlds. 

When I originally joined the company, I was focused on optimizations for the checkout experience, expanding payment options and combating fraud. I shifted gears as the needs of the business changed and am now leading the expansion into a new and exciting vertical for the company: campgrounds. It’s been a really fun and rewarding time.
 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

I have always wanted to understand the technology I use in my daily life on a deeper level and was fortunate to try a coding class in high school. This was when I decided to pursue technology in some capacity. It just made so much sense to me and felt logical, challenging and fun. While I had coding internships throughout college, I was not 100% sure full-time software development was the right path for me, so I started exploring other types of roles to which I could apply my skill set. 

I fell in love with product management during the summer after my junior year of college. I loved the collaborative aspect of working across so many different disciplines and bringing a vision or idea to life. 

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

There are so many different paths to explore in technology and new types of roles are emerging all the time! Research all of the different potential career options to find one that is most interesting and exciting to you, whether that’s through reaching out to folks in the industry and asking questions, finding a mentor or trying internships. Make sure you don’t settle and that you really enjoy the work you’re doing. Being passionate about your career means you will likely be more successful in the long run, so finding the right fit is super important.

 

Make sure you don’t settle and that you really enjoy the work you’re doing.”

 

 

Kaisa Kromhof
VP of Ment Global Sales • M-Files

M-Files is an information management company whose Ment product enables users to automate the generation of complex legal documents.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at M-Files.

I like to refer to myself as a lawyer-entrepreneur because I began my career as a corporate lawyer before founding Ment, which was acquired by M-Files in February 2023.

My career in the legal sector alerted me to the numerous challenges in the daily lives of lawyers. Continuously reinventing the wheel when drafting legal documents, excessive hours spent working on simple manual tasks and difficulty sharing best practices were huge areas of frustration. And thus, I founded Ment in 2016. 

Today, I am proud to continue to lead Ment as part of M-Files’ global business strategy. Together, we can help even more businesses turn document generation from an annoyance to a delight.  

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

My passion for technology stemmed from my desire to solve a challenge plaguing the legal sector. I wouldn’t say I was driven to technology but rather I was led there to help alleviate a burden. I was frustrated that document automation tools were difficult to use — I hated reading manuals and learning the programs seemed to require weeks or months.

Without any technical background, I made the first sketches of the user interface, user flow and functionalities that better adhered to a lawyer’s workflow. I felt such a strong passion to bring the idea to life that I went for it and leaped into the technology sector! As we developed Ment and built the platform, I discovered my passion for technology. At the end of the day, the success of our team as a whole makes or breaks us. At M-Files, we continue to have an absolutely brilliant team that works seamlessly together.

 

I wouldn’t say I was driven to technology but rather I was led there to help alleviate a burden.”

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

I had a problem and thought I could solve it. I didn’t overthink it — I just did it. If you feel strongly about something, trust your intuition and be persistent. Don’t be arrogant. Keep your ears open and remember you are most likely the best judge of your own business. There are plenty of people who will tell you how things should be done, but it is always easier to talk than do the thing yourself. Technology is a beautiful area to work, learn and make a difference, especially when you have the opportunity to be part of developing it!

 

 

Ericka Steinbrick
National Account Management Lead • Skimmer

Pool service and repair companies use Skimmer’s software to manage all aspects of their businesses, including invoicing and payments, customer communications and route planning.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Skimmer.

I worked with a field service management startup for nearly six years in a sales role. After being a part of the success of that company, I was ready for a new adventure, one where I could play a foundational role in a growing, industry-specific organization. At Skimmer, I spearhead our revenue expansion efforts. Specifically, I was brought on to launch the company’s first integrated payment processing tools. 

I am responsible for our customers’ adoption and implementation of the billing tools and, most importantly, educating them about how operating the entirety of their business under one platform is by far the most efficient method for running a business.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

Growing up, my parents owned and operated a general contracting business. I witnessed their late nights of digging up receipts, writing quotes and driving around to track down deposits. I always knew there was a better way. As tech evolved, I turned to the space to find solutions to address the everyday problems faced by hard-working people like my parents. Tech truly helps improve lives, and if we can build solutions to give people more time with family and build a legacy then that’s a career path I can get behind.

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Just do it! Don’t second guess the power of passion and adaptability. If you are remotely interested in pursuing a career in tech, let your passion and drive shine. Skills can be taught and learned. Listen to that voice that is telling you, “I know I can do this and I’m going to prove it.”

 

Don’t second guess the power of passion and adaptability. Listen to that voice that is telling you, ‘I know I can do this and I’m going to prove it.’

 

 

Fionnuala Word
Senior DevOps Engineer • Hypori Inc.

Hypori is a cybersecurity company that enables workers to use their own devices to access secure virtual workspaces, apps and email all without any data being transferred.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey thus far and what you do at Hypori.

After college, I worked at IBM’s Linux Technology Center as a software engineer on the security team. In 2015, a colleague recruited me to write SELinux policy for Hypori. I was nervous about job stability at a startup and I didn’t have much experience with SELinux, but I’m grateful for the career change. Now I’m a senior DevOps engineer at Hypori with a focus on infrastructure as code and CI/CD pipelines. I also specialize in SELinux policy for Linux and Android.

 

How did you originally discover your passion for technology, and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

While studying mathematics in college, I took a computer programming course to expand my career options. I liked using creativity and analytical skills to solve problems. I immediately fell in love and changed my major to computer science.

 

What advice would you give to other women discovering their interest in tech and considering a career in the field?

Tech is a broad field, so keep exploring what is out there until you find your niche. Consider who you will work with because team dynamics can matter more than specific technologies or the projects you work on. Don’t be afraid to take risks and challenge yourself as you will learn and grow.

 

Consider who you will work with because team dynamics can matter more than specific technologies or the projects you work on.”

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and listed companies.

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