Category Archives: career

Systers at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

I am a long-time Syster, and I have attended and spoken at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing a few times before.  This year, I’m speaking again, and wanted to support my fellow Systers as well.  To that end, I have compiled a list of Systers who are speaking at GHC.  Come see us! (Last updated: 2017-10-03 13:02 PT)

Wednesday, 04 October 2017

1:30-2:30pm
Panel: The Engineer’s Journey: Choose Your Own Adventure
Panelists: Cindy Burns, Pi-Chuan Chang, Leor Chechik, Mary Dang, Nadyne Richmond
Panel discussion of engineering career paths and important decisions along the way

1:30-2:30pm
Panel: The Myth of the Unicorn: Perspectives of Native American Women in Computing
Speakers: Amanda Sharp, Kylie Bemis, Nicole Archambault, Squiggy Rubio, Sarah EchoHawk
These extraordinary women in the tech industry identify as members of indigenous tribes from across Northern America. They will discuss their experiences, what it means to be a unicorn— a “mythical” or “non-existent” figure in tech—and what the tech communities can do to increase support and visibility.

1:30-2:30pm
Panel: Navigating Change: Ride the Waves of Change Without Feeling Underwater
Speakers: An Bui, Indu Khosla, Ariel Aguilar, Vanessa Hernandez, Alex Riccomini

1:50-2:10pm
Interactive Media Research Presentations: Inverse Procedural Modeling for 3D Urban Models
Speaker: Ilke Demir

3:00-3:20pm
Demonstrating Value Presentation: Managing Up: Managing Your Manager with Compassion, Humor, and Data
Speaker: Steph Parkin

3:00-4:00pm
Panel: Systers Celebrates 30 years Supporting Women in Computing
Panelists: Angel Tian, Danielle Cummings, Laura Downey, Neetu Jain, Dilma Da Silva

3:00-4:00pm
Workshop: Consciously Tackling Unconscious Bias
Speakers: Lilit Yenokyan, Amala Rangnekar, Saralee Kunlong

4:30-5:30pm
Panel: Navigating Change: Ride the Waves of Change Without Feeling Underwater (repeat session)
Panelists: An Bui, Indu Khosla, Ariel Aguilar, Vanessa Hernandez, Alex Riccomini

4:30-5:30pm
2017 Systers Pass-It-On Award Winners

Wednesday poster session, 1-4pm

Framework to Extract Context Vectors from Unstructured Data using Big Data Analytics
Presenter: Sarah Masud

Race against Troubleshooting: Predictive Maintenance for Data Protection
Presenter: Dhanashri Phadke

Thursday, 05 October 2017

11:30am-12:30pm
Panel: Why and How to Prepare for Hackathons?
Panelists: Bouchra Bouqata, Rose Robinson, Sana Odeh, Shaila Pervin, Xiaodan (Sally) Zhang

11:30am-12:30pm
Panel: Virtual Humanity
Panelists: Erin Summers, Jenn Duong, Gemma Rachelle Busoni, Elisabeth Morant, Charity Everett
In this panel, industry experts will share knowledge building and creating virtual reality (VR) experiences, games, and tools centered around the human experience.

11:30am-12:30pm
Panel: Hello, It’s Me! Differentiating Yourself With a Multidimensional Career
Panelists: Jenna Blaha, Vidya Srinivasan, Kelly Hoey, Ilana Walder-Biesanz, Cassidy Lara Williams

11:30am-12:30pm
Speed Mentoring with Systers mentors
Organizer: Zaza Soriano
Mentors and attendees sit at tables, each of which has a topic. For 15 minutes, attendees ask questions for the mentor to answer. Then attendees change tables and select a new topic, and the Q&A starts again.

11:30am-5:30pm
OSD Code-a-thon for Humanity with Project Jupyter
Organizers: Carol Willing, Jamie Whitacre

1:30-2:30pm
Panel: Get Out of Your Own Way!
Panelists: Mayoore S Jaiswal, Carolyn Rowland, Maybellin Burgos, Lilit Yenokyan, Lulu Li

1:30-2:30pm
Panel: Navigating Social Impact as a Techie
Panelists: Sharon Lin, Yada Pruksachatkun, Daniella Cohen, Gwen Wong, Gemma Rachelle Busoni
This panel will tackle approaches to creating social impact with technology, from eliminating social stigma of ‘civic technology’ to merging product paradigms from tech startups and philanthropic work.

1:30-2:30pm
Speed Mentoring with Systers mentors
Organizer: Zaza Soriano
Mentors and attendees sit at tables, each of which has a topic. For 15 minutes, attendees ask questions for the mentor to answer. Then attendees change tables and select a new topic, and the Q&A starts again.

3:00-3:30pm
Career Success Presentation: Negotiation Tactics to Make Your Manager a Strategic Career Partner
Speaker: Amy Yin

3:00-4:00pm
Panel: How Male Allies are Supporting Women in Computing through the Local Community
Panelists: Natasha Green, Anthony Park, Edwin Aoki, Evin Robinson

3:00-4:00pm
Speed Mentoring with Systers mentors
Organizer: Zaza Soriano
Mentors and attendees sit at tables, each of which has a topic. For 15 minutes, attendees ask questions for the mentor to answer. Then attendees change tables and select a new topic, and the Q&A starts again.

3:20-3:40pm
Career Success Presentation: Communicating, Promoting, & Developing Yourself Professionally: A Peer’s How-To Guide
Speaker: Rucha Mukundan
I will discuss key takeaways and lessons learned from her experience joining the workforce, and how professionals in their early career can use this information to position themselves for success.

4:30-4:50pm
Career Success Presentation: Negotiation Tactics to Make Your Manager a Strategic Career Partner (repeat session)
Speaker: Amy Yin

4:50-5:10pm
Career Success Presentation: Communicating, Promoting, & Developing Yourself Professionally: A Peer’s How-To Guide (repeat session)
Speaker: Rucha Mukundan
I will discuss key takeaways and lessons learned from her experience joining the workforce, and how professionals in their early career can use this information to position themselves for success.

Friday, 06 October 2017

9:00-9:20am
Open Source Presentation: Getting Started with Your First Open Source Project
Speaker: Mandy Chan

9:00-10:00am
Panel: Highlight and Recognize Your Organization’’s ‘Hidden Figures’
Panelists: Tamara Nichols Helms, Mona Hudak, Rachel Shanava, Larry Colagiovanni, Yolanda Lee Conyers

9:00-10:00am
Workshop: A Hands-on Dive into Making Sense of Real World Data
Speakers: Xun Tang, Jamie Whitacre

9:00-11:00am
Workshop: Learn to Negotiate And Stop Holding Yourself Back
Presenters: Karen Catlin, Poornima Vijayashanker
Learn how to discover your true value, leverage it to craft an ASK for decision makers, and handle common concerns and objections of decision makers. You’ll be able to practice your ASK and receive feedback on it.

9:00am-noon
Student Opportunity Lab: From Passion to Product: How a LEGO Fan Learns Data Science
Presenters: Xiaodan (Sally) Zhang

9am-noon
Student Opportunity Lab: Importance of Internships and Strategy to Get One!
Presenters: Deveeshree Nayak, Mayoore S Jaiswal

9am-noon
Student Opportunity Lab: You were hired to be you!
Presenter: Angela Choo

9am-noon
Student Opportunity Lab: How to Successfully Apply to Graduate School
Presenter: Laura Dillon

10:30-11:30am
Workshop: Designing Intelligent Hardware: A Day at Nest
Presenters: Jung Hong, Lulu Li, Soja-Marie Morgens
Hands-on experience of the decisions we make to build IoT intelligent hardware with close integration of cloud services, data pipelines and algorithms.

10:30-10:50am
Security Operations Presentations: When a Picture is Worth a Thousand Network-packets and System-logs
Speaker: Awalin Sopan

11:10-11:30am
Finding Your Fit Presentation: Finding the Right Fit: Discovering a Job You Love
Speaker: Kelly Irish

noon-12:20pm
Putting Yourself First Presentation: A Stay-at-home Mom’’s Guide to Continuing Your Career
Speaker: Adina Halter

noon-1:00pm
Panel: From Here to Internity
Panelists: Melissa Ann Borza, Kelly Irish, Marissa Alexandra Schuchat, Jenna Blumenthal, Chang Liu
Panel discussion of current/former interns and hiring managers on how to succeed in your internship

noon-1pm
Panel: Wonder Woman and the Amazonians: Build Your Local Community
Panelists: Bushra Anjum, Abigail Shriver, Melissa Greenlee, Maigh Houlihan, Marian Tesfamichael

noon-1pm
Workshop: Getting the Glass to Half-Full: Managing Your Moods at Work
Presenters: Mamta Suri, Beth Budwig, Harika Adivikolanu
Are you stressed out or negative at work? Do you react to situations at work impulsively? Being positive and well-balanced is a learnable skill. In this workshop, you will practice mindfulness and learn to apply techniques from Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to the workplace. You can use these tools daily to help manage your stress, stay calm, and improve your mood.

12:30-2:30pm
Workshop: Learn to Negotiate And Stop Holding Yourself Back (repeat session)
Presenters: Karen Catlin, Poornima Vijayashanker
Learn how to discover your true value, leverage it to craft an ASK for decision makers, and handle common concerns and objections of decision makers. You’ll be able to practice your ASK and receive feedback on it.

thoughts on career fairs

Career fairs are hard events.  They’re hard for me as someone who is there to evaluate candidates to fill positions that my company has open, and I certainly remember them being hard when I was in college and looking for a job.  Now that I’m on the hiring side of the table, I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned that might help someone on the please-hire-me side of the table.

At most career fairs, the employers are going to speak to dozens of candidates.  At some of the larger engineering career fairs that I’ve attended, we have walked away with hundreds of resumes.  That’s just one career fair at one university.  Now imagine how many career fairs our University Relations staff go to.  (For us engineers, we usually only go to one or two career fairs per year.)  We get a lot of resumes out of these, and we have to figure out which candidates we’re going to call back after we’re done with our career fairs.  Here are some things to do to stand out at a career fair.

  1. Spend the time now to get your resume into great shape.  Your resume represents you.  It should be clear, well-written, and underscore your unique combination of education and experience that makes me want to hire you.  If your university has any resume-writing resources, take advantage of them.  If not, get your friends and a trusted faculty member to review your resume.  A resume that has typos in it says that you don’t pay attention to details. A resume that lists every single Computer Science course that you’ve taken does not tell me why I should hire you.  A resume that says that you play intramural lacrosse makes me wonder why you think this is something that you want me to know.
  2. Tell me whether you are looking for an internship or a full-time position, and when you are available for this position (summer internship? full-time position starting in September?).  It saves me from having to scan your resume and guessing.
  3. Explain why you are a great candidate to work at VMware.  This tells me that you’ve done research on my company, which is always a good start.  You should tell me what from your background matches up with goals for my company.  Even better is if you’ve looked at some of our open positions and can thus reference skills that we often look for.  Also make sure that you look at our locations.  You should know the location of our headquarters and our other primary offices, and you should be comfortable with living in one of those places.
  4. I’ve got a standard spiel that I have ready to go for candidates at career fairs.  I’ll tell you about the company, where we’re located, what kind of work we do, why it’s awesome to work here, what kind of career opportunities we have, what our internship program looks like, and so on.  A candidate who already knows all of that, and we can get into details about why you would be awesome for us and who has specific questions for me about why they should come work for us is a candidate that is more likely to get my attention at a career fair.
  5. You should talk positively about your experience so far.  If you can take something difficult and tell me what was positive about it (“I learned a lot about how to handle uncomfortable situations with others in our group project when one of the team members was unable to meet their commitments”) makes me think that you’re resilient and can solve problems.
  6. Talk to your professors, your department administrator, and professional campus groups about companies that will be visiting.  For example, when I visit a campus for a career fair, I’ll often give a talk to a department or a class that is relevant to the user experience jobs that I have open.  You’ll have an additional opportunity to talk to me, it’s usually a smaller setting than the big career fair and so you have more time to make a positive impression on me, and you’ll learn more about the company and the work we do.

Here are some things that reduce your chances of being successful at a career fair.

  1. Ask me what my company does.  I’ll tell you (as I said, I’ve got that standard spiel), but this tells me that you didn’t do any research before you walked up to me.  You’ve lowered my expectations about you, and you’ll have to work harder to convince me that you’re a great candidate.
  2. Be unsure about what you want out of an internship.  It’s valid to say that that you’re exploring options, but that means that you should be able to tell me what kinds of questions you have about software engineering careers and how you think an internship will help you answer them.
  3. Start off by telling me that you don’t use my company’s products.  Since I work for an enterprise software company, I don’t expect that candidates at career fairs will have experience with our products.  Instead, tell me why you’re interested in working for a company that makes enterprise software.  (While “I really need a job” is an answer that’s probably true and I certainly remember that feeling, please come up with something better.)
  4. Don’t stuff a resume in my hands, ask for a t-shirt (or whatever other swag we’re giving away at that career fair), and then leave without talking to me.  That resume goes to the very bottom of the pile.  If you really don’t want to work for my company and just want a t-shirt because free clothing is a good thing when you’re in school, come around at the end of the career fair.  If we’ve got extra shirts at the end of the career fair, we’re pretty likely to give them out to anyone who asks, so that we don’t have to ship them back to the office.
  5. Don’t assume that talking to a woman means that you’re talking to someone who isn’t technical.  It’s perfectly okay to ask what I do.  Assuming anything about me, or any of my colleagues who are working with me at the career fair, tells me that you’re likely to make assumptions in the work that you do, too.  Invalid assumptions cause lots of problems in software development (“no-one will ever enter invalid data here” is the root cause of many bugs).  Doing this leaves me with a very bad first impression of you, and since our time to talk at a career fair is very limited, that very bad impression is likely to stick.
  6. Don’t have any questions about what it’s like to work at my company.  Remember, this isn’t a one-way interaction.  It’s not just about the company deciding whether they want to hire you.  It’s also about you deciding whether you want to work for the company.  As we talk, you should ask follow-up questions if there’s something that you hear that you want more details about.  You should also have questions about the company, the team, the product, or the working environment.  Not having questions tells me that you’re not necessarily as interested in working for my company as other candidates who did ask me questions are.

Our interaction at a career fair is limited.  There’s a lot that you can do to make that interaction very positive.  The more positive that interaction is, the more likely you are to move forward.