From first-gen grad to tech professional
- Posted on November 2, 2022
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
As I approach my two-year Avanade anniversary, I’ve reflected on my journey. As a Bolivian-Nicaraguan American and first-generation college graduate, I can easily say a career in technology was not in my plan, simply because I did not know it existed. Growing up, my parents worked physically laborious retail and warehouse jobs to keep us comfortable. They did their best to support me in my own journey of achieving success, encouraging me to pursue a college education and a career that promised a comfortable life. As the anxiety of making decisions and the unknown of the future crept up through high school, I decided to take a year off to explore.
During my gap year, I discovered careers in technology. My interest in video games – thanks to my brother – and fascination with eSports pushed me further into the technology space. By the time the year was up, I knew I wanted a data science-adjacent career. I attended a community college to complete my general education and transferred to Cal Poly Pomona for their Business Administration program, where they had recently added a new emphasis, Business Intelligence. This aligned perfectly to my data science aspirations.
In my time at Cal Poly, I decided to apply myself in every way I could to prove my gap year had minimal effect on my career readiness. I signed up for classes that incorporated real-life experience in the curriculum, attended career fairs, and applied for scholarship programs. Ultimately, I landed Avanade’s STEM Scholarship, a scholarship and mentorship aimed to prepare minority women to enter careers in STEM! My parents were over the moon to hear I was accepted into the program. I suddenly understood the importance of putting yourself out there and the impact these types of opportunities have on underrepresented communities. I felt unstoppable and proud.
After an internship at a Navy base, where I conducted analysis on their combat systems, and working with an advertising agency on market segment analytics, I felt ready to apply to Avanade in Analytics, and here I am today. I have been promoted twice since joining Avanade in September 2020 and am now a consultant in Advanced Analytics, primarily working on finding business insights using data.
Outside of my primary role, I stay heavily involved within Avanade’s I&D space, specifically with the Adelante Latinx Employee Network as its North America Area Co-Chair managing a leadership board of 30 members. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the community my parents taught me to appreciate. I have seen first-hand the value in early exposure to the tech industry in helping Latinx people feel comfortable—and, most important, hopeful— as they step onto an otherwise unknown career path. I’ve also learned the importance of going at your own pace and defining success in your own way.
As I continue with my career journey in tech, I continue to find a balance between simply being the representation and advocating for the community I represent.