Welcome to another Tech Tuesday highlighting women in technology. This month, we speak with Cora Brito, application support manager at IntelePeer, who shares her story of how she came to work in technology. During our discussion, she mentions her daughters being involved in a coding camp. How many parents are encouraging their daughters to study computer science or engineering?
Curious, when looking into the topic, ComputerScience.org published an interesting article on May 5, 2021, Women in Computer Science: Getting Involved in STEM, which indicates only 18 percent of women earn an undergraduate degree in computer science. The article also notes that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer science research jobs to grow 19% by 2026. Some colleges are seeing major shifts after working diligently to increase diversity. Cornell University College of Engineering, for example, states it now enrolls “equal numbers of undergraduate women and men – the first engineering school of its size and stature to achieve this milestone.” Very encouraging.
At IntelePeer, we continuously focus on promoting diversity within our culture.
We hope you enjoy Cora’s story and find it inspiring.
How did you end up at Disney for an internship? What did you learn?
While in college, I went to Disney for a one-year internship. There was a team-management focus, branding, marketing, how to pass the info onto employees, and having manager-related responsibilities. I did day-to-day operations while taking management classes. Here I got to work with leaders who understand how to service customers, treat their employees with respect while maintaining the Disney experience.
Where did you go after your internship ended?
I started working at PNC Bank as a banker then worked my way up to Manager then Business Account Executive within 10 years. Over time, I saw encouragement at the bank to replace human operations with computers and automation such as ATM’s that can speak, and open accounts. The ATMs were doing a lot of operations a banker would do, and consumers were using new technology more often than coming inside the bank.
What led to your decision to get into technology and, more specifically, coding?
Even before becoming a mom, I enjoyed solving problems. I enjoy solving puzzles and sudokus. So, I decided to leave banking and go back to school. I thought, omg, tech is not for girls. But I looked at coding and said, “I can do this!” And that is when I said, “I am going to do this.” Once I decided to learn coding, I was a natural software engineer.
After finishing school and learning to code, how was your experience looking for a technology job?
I wanted a job for my skills that offered room for growth and provided a work life balance. I wanted a place where I was using my skills of problem solving and was always being challenged. I am not an order taker and not that kind of coder. I want to upsell and think of ways to improve the business. Women in this industry have a hard time finding a job. I witnessed tricks and things that a lot of girl colleagues did in resumes, such as taking away gender, to be considered. I am honored that Adam Klodner, being who he is—a huge female in tech supporter.
How are things going at work being a female in technology?
Recently, I got promoted to application support manager. Previously, I was an implementation engineer. In my previous role, I took normal English and turned it into geek language. I listen to customers, partners, sales about any challenges or issues they need solved and communicate that to our developers to solve. These are more technical and coding conversations, customer conversations and questions such as, “Can we build a connector through API that can go here?” I am the liaison between consumers and developers.
How big is the Application Support team?
We are a team of three and growing! It is exciting, as we can grab onto more projects and facilitate conversations with developers to get what the customer needs faster. This includes developing solutions, scripts, extracts and other artifacts that require application support. We work with a lot with internal employees who may have issues or features they would like to see in SmartFlows or our portal or contribute to design documents and participate in design reviews where code will be reviewed. If someone runs into a roadblock, we troubleshoot it. You must be proactive and inquisitive in finding solutions.
Sounds busy! Are you and your team always hearing from different areas of the business?
Yes, my team and I are in the middle of everything. This is an octopus type of position, reaching into different departments and areas and finding a solution to a problem that is not normally visible. We receive different tickets submitted from different departments. We look at one ticket, and if we fix one thing, sometimes that leads us to address five tickets. Now these different team members are not facing 20 problems. We dig into the small things and get the development team to do it. The team takes feedback from customers and internal team members who have ideas for new features and figure out who can help solve the customers issue and if we can do what the internal team is asking us to create.
It sounds like you really enjoy your job, problem solving and technology. Does your family share in that passion or are you introducing your daughters to coding?
My girls are into gaming, but yes, it is a tech world. They will be taking coding classes in the summer and as part of their tutoring curriculum. We find it important for them to learn. It is a combination between online coding schools, STEAM projects, coding camps and others. Technology is not going away and we need to get our kids exposed to it.
That’s wonderful you have them learning coding already! As a parent, it must be rewarding leading the way for more women to get into engineering and the developer role. Are you involved in your children’s school, being they are girls, and showcasing how women can break the mold into technology?
Ethel and I went to our daughter’s elementary school. We were asked to speak about what we do for work. We focused on coding and development to encourage girls, from first grade and fifth grade, classroom to classroom, and talking to boys and girls about what we do for IntelePeer. We focused more on coding and made it into coding games. We sent kids home with coding apps and websites they can play on. Our idea, as girls in this tech world, is to encourage others to join. We need more girls in technology because we are built for this, too.
What is one of piece of advice you would give to girls interested in code/software development?
One piece of advice: The one thing that helped most was to break away from the common belief of it being a male-only industry. When it comes to the way guys speak to each other, I would be the only girl among 20 guys in a room. So, I have to be careful what I say and more conscience. That’s something in this industry that could push away girls. Going into this industry, I advise girls to follow their gut, have confidence in their ideas and move into what they want without letting social ideas drive it or guide it. Break those glasses. Go for it!
What do you enjoying reading or listening too when you want to escape the real world?
Being a mom, I have very little time to read, so I enjoy listening to podcasts. I am a podcast junkie for human stories and currently listening to Hidden Brain, The Daily, think positive, TED Radio and others about mindfulness.
Questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you. Next month, we will be talking to one of our new hires to hear her story. To learn more or read last month’s Women in Tech post visit: www.intelepeer.com