Marissa: Hi Tara! Dataprise is running a Women in Technology campaign. We feel that it’s very important to highlight the women who make Dataprise great. I just want to get a feel for your background and how you ultimately got into IT. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Tara: The first thing I remember wanting to be was an epidemiologist, an infectious disease doctor. I was in 5th grade and had to do a report, and half the students in my grade wanted to be doctors or teachers.
Marissa: Where did you grow up?
Tara: I grew up in North Jersey and went to catholic school my whole life, from 1st grade through my masters.
Marissa: How did technology become a part of your life? Were you introduced to it through school?
Tara: It wasn’t my education that necessarily brought me into the technology realm – it was more so my father. He ran a software development company, and I would always be listening in to what was going on. It’s not that I took a huge interest, but technology was always in my world.
Marissa: Tell us a little bit about your background?
Tara: When I got to college I double majored in Political Science and International Studies and minored in Peace and Justice. I got my Master’s degree in Diplomacy and International Relations, with a concentration in Global Negotiation Conflict Management in Eastern Europe. After that, the last thing you would expect is that I would wind up in technology, but there is overlap, which is something I found to my delight. I know how political science and technology seem vastly different, and in many ways they are, but the way that you approach problems transcends whatever industry you end up in. It provides you a critical thinking mindset, which has set me up for success in my job at a technical program manager.
Marissa: Wow, that’s an impressive background! Tell me about your work history after you finished school?
Tara: One of the places I used to work was a non-profit, which centered around technology and using it for international development. That’s where my interest really came from. How are we using technology in ways that we have not before to help people who really need it?
Marissa: Do you feel like you started your career in technology by chance?
Tara: I always say to people that once something technology related is on your resume, it will follow you for the rest of your life, for better or for worse. My first work experience was product development at in IT company. I thought it was something to pay for grad school, but once those skills start to build on your resume, you can try to leave the technology field, but it will find you.
Marissa: What would be your advice to women who are trying to enter into the technology field?
Tara: You can side-step into technology at any time. It’s such a diverse field. It’s not just engineers, network architects, and developers that are needed. I don’t think people realize how vast the technology field is. If you want to get into it, you can absolutely do it, and right now is the absolute best time to do so.