Welcome to another edition of IntelePeer’s Tech Tuesday series. This week Rebecca Nelson, Content Marketing Director, narrates her start in tech, shares the challenges she’s overcome, and grants us some great career advice.
1. What first got you interested in working in technology?
I began working in the tech industry immediately after college as a technical writer for an environmental remediation and software company. As a fiction writer, I was surprised to find that technical writing was satisfying. It required lots of independent learning before translating complex topics into content that anyone can consume.
Later, I transitioned into content marketing. I found an even greater sense of satisfaction in this role. I was still challenged with absorbing complex technology and breaking it down for all levels of readers – but this time I was able to add layers of strategy to the content I was creating. Content marketing is both emotional and rational, so I began to enjoy blending experience with both fiction and technical content creation to create powerful content that resonates.
Moving into telecommunications was the biggest challenge yet. Luckily, my manager at the time enjoyed teaching and taught me the evolution of telecommunications, starting with the first telephone created by Alexander Graham Bell. Later, I benefited from other colleagues (thank you, Fran Blackburn) who patiently shared their knowledge.
All that knowledge continues to help me as I create content and strategy around communications workflow automation.
2. What technology do you use the most – whether in your personal or professional life?
My smart phone – I’m an ardent reader and the day I downloaded the Nook application was a game changer. I love the ability to pick up my phone whenever and wherever I am to get a few pages in. Waiting to pick someone up at the airport? That’s a couple of chapters. In line at the grocery store? I can at least get a few minutes of reading in. I also enjoy audio books and podcast apps. They allow me to consume different types of content while I’m multitasking. It’s wonderful to be able to learn something new or to be whisked away into a story no matter where I am.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of your career and how did you overcome it?
There was a point in my career when I knew I was ready for the next step but was running into roadblocks. I worked for an individual who promised big things but never followed through. To make things worse, they were very good at quietly slighting their employees. I was stuck feeling that I wasn’t quite good enough to move on to a bigger role or to another company.
I overcame the situation by believing in myself. It’s cliché, but there are many many paths to success and the only person who knows the right path is yourself. I took a huge leap of faith and left the role I was in. I had established an LLC in the past for contract work and decided to take on consulting full time. To my immense pleasure, I landed on my feet and found success. Today, after many plot twists, I’m at IntelePeer and love the work that I do and the individuals I work with. I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t believed in myself and taken that leap.
4. Any advice for women who want to join the tech industry?
Practice active listening. Many people think about their response or questions they want to ask during a conversation- instead of simply listening to what another individual is saying. Active listening will help you understand what’s going on, as well as help you better respond and reflect later.
Active listening can be tough. I take notes during important conversations so that my mind doesn’t wander and I’m truly listening to what’s being said. Additionally, if I have a question or idea during the conversation, I write it down. That gets it out of my head so that I can focus on the conversation at hand without focusing on the thought that I need to bring up later.
5. What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting in the workforce?
Learn from your peers. Every single peer has something to teach you, whether it’s about a strategy, skillset, or product. If you see something that was well worded in an email, save it for future reference and inspiration. If a coworker offers to review something for you, take advantage of the offer. They may have a different perspective that can lend some insight. Listen carefully and ask questions as much as possible – your peers are your greatest resource.
Bonus: Who is your tech role model or what podcast(s) are you currently listening to?
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Dan does a magnificent job of breaking down even the most mundane historical events into captivating stories.