Welcome to another edition of IntelePeer’s Tech Tuesday series. This week Ale Hanley, a Product Manager, tells us about her journey jumping from graphic design to coding to product management, and how it’s ok to pivot and follow your passions.
1. How did you end up in the tech industry?
I started in graphic design, followed by several years in marketing. I was working for the University of Colorado and began taking some online coding classes in my free time. I eventually wanted something more disciplined and left my job to enroll in a 6-month, full-stack web developer bootcamp.
I finished the program with greater interest in product management than coding and accepted my first product role before the course ended.
2. What technology do you use the most – whether in your personal or professional life?
Hands down, my Garmin watch and the Garmin Connect app. I spend most of my free time on trails – running, hiking, and mountain biking. I love reviewing my activity stats and trying to improve.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of your career and how did you overcome it?
The most challenging aspect of my career was switching careers. It’s daunting when you think of a career change as “starting over” and that was the phrase that kept me in my last career for longer than I should have been. In the end, I made the decision to better myself by learning something new – not necessarily starting over but changing paths in an effort to grow.
4. Any advice for women who want to break into the tech industry?
Surround yourself with women who already are where you want to be in your career. Network, join meetup groups or local tech happy hours, find a mentor, offer to take someone out to coffee to pick their brain, etc. There are plenty of women in tech with valuable information to share, so seek out those opportunities and learn from them.
5. What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting in the workforce?
Your career is not your identity. If you’re interested in something, pursue it until you’re no longer interested, then pivot if needed. For me, it was difficult to break from a career I had already invested so much time in.
In the end, there is no need to stick with a career path that no longer serves you.
Bonus: Who is your tech role model?
My tech role model is Debbie Sterling, Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox. She is a former engineer who started GoldieBlox to educate young girls about STEM with the overall goal of inspiring the next generation of female engineers by growing their interest in inventing via the use of stories and toys.
iPhone or Android?
iPhone, no matter how many screens I shatter.
Sitting or standing desk?
Both. I work from home and rotate between a sitting desk and a high counter that I stand at.
Lunch inside or outside the office?
I eat lunch at home and make sure to take a break from the screen.
Email or IM?
IM unless the message is too long.