Marissa: What were you doing before you joined Dataprise?
Brittany: Before Dataprise I worked at the Pentagon as a Requirements Analyst for the Army. I then came over to Dataprise as an Account Manager and did that for about a year and a half. From there, I moved on to more technical work and have held various technical roles over the past 5 years.
Marissa: Can you describe what you do now?
Brittany: I recently moved into a Business Intelligence Developer role. I taught myself Power BI, SQL, and R programming and have used that knowledge to create a new position for myself at Dataprise. Essentially, I saw a need and went to my manager at the time and told him my ideas. He told me to go for it. So, I worked on it for about 3 years to develop it into what it is today.
Marissa: That is fantastic that you had the ability to create your own role at Dataprise! How did you go about self-training and teaching yourself Power BI and SQL?
Brittany: I found websites such as Microsoft Academy that offer free online classes with video lectures, labs, and hands-on exercises. I started out with Power BI by taking those classes, and once I had a high-level understanding of that, I realized my skills could be improved by writing queries in our database. To do that, I learned SQL via online classes. I taught myself all of that in my free time and then did a little bit of R programming. We don’t really use that here, but it is still useful.
Marissa: Do you feel like being in the IT field is empowering?
Brittany: Yes! I really take pride in my Dataprise work because I created my role on my own. I worked hard, and I’ve come a long way from where I started as an Account Manager 5 years ago.
Marissa: Do you ever feel like people are surprised when you tell them what you do?
Brittany: Oh definitely! Especially when I explain my background. I didn’t go to college for Information Systems or anything related to computers. I have a Master’s and Bachelor’s in Chemistry, and here I am. I never thought this was where I’d be!
Marissa: How does working in the Information Technology field keep you challenged?
Brittany: I really like how I can apply my chemistry/math background to my work now – the step-by-step analytical process that I really enjoy is very similar to what I do at Dataprise. I start with data and work through it until I get my end result. It’s a line by line, step-by-step process, which is what I appreciate. Being a Type A person, I really like sitting down and working through things. It is a different challenge, but my skillset is still being utilized in the same way, including the math, critical thinking, and thinking outside the box.
Marissa: What would your advice be to women who may be considering changing career paths and moving into technology?
Brittany: My advice would be to start teaching yourself, find a mentor, or just start attending networking events. Even if you know nothing about a subject in which you have an interest, push yourself to go to the events anyway. It’s a great place to get started. Professionals you meet at these events can share with you helpful tools, websites, or books. I’ve attended numerous Women in Tech networking events and have met inspiring and empowering women in high-level positions. It’s just so great and inspirational.