ExtraHop is spending this week celebrating International Women's Day (March 8th) by hearing from some of the brilliant, passionate women so integral to this company and the tech industry as a whole. How'd they get into STEM? What advice do they have for other women and girls? Gear up for a whole week of blogs from the women of ExtraHop, from the engineering departments to marketing and everything in between. Happy International Women's Day!
My dad was in tech sales, and growing up I was sure I'd never become a tech salesperson. I was SURE of it. But here I am. So how'd that happen, exactly?
When I thought about STEM jobs originally, I thought of researchers and engineers and mathematicians. Sure, I always loved science and math—so much so that I took middle school math classes in elementary school and my favorite part of school was the "computer club," which functioned like a mini IT helpdesk using rainbow-colored Mac computers. I was definitely a nerd, but I wasn't that good at math or science or engineering. That meant I wasn't "into technology," right?
In college, I wasn't confident I could succeed in a STEM field so I went to business school. I figured with a solid business degree, I could get a job anywhere, at any time. So I studied marketing and lucked into an internship at a Seattle tech startup, where I learned that even though I thought marketing or finance in the medical field sounded most interesting, the tech talk surrounding me at the office wasn't as foreign as I had originally thought. Not only did I get it, I kind of loved it.
Nine years later, I've been at ExtraHop Networks for almost that entire time. From inside sales to marketing and back to sales (but this time in the field), I've been lucky enough to have positions that forced me to talk about our technology to engineers almost every day, and I've learned a ton from it.
Finding a mentor you respect and trust is invaluable - when I first started, our best (and only!) SE was a woman. Not only was she brilliant, but she had the ability to explain the really tough technical stuff to me without over-complicating it, and it was from her tutoring that I learned so much of our secret sauce here at EH. Most of it doesn't go over my head anymore, and I'm pretty proud of the fact that I can still demo our technology to prospective clients if there isn't an engineer available.
The opportunity to learn and grow extends far beyond my current role too, as the tech sales/marketing world is made up of hundreds of different mini-industries—tech is constantly innovating, and that means there are more opportunities popping up practically by the hour.
Even if you don't see yourself as an engineer or mathematician, there are so many supporting and interacting roles that weave their way through STEM fields!
That's what I love most about tech. You don't have to be an engineer to be in a job that is integrated into the world of STEM, and if you're like me—a nerd who loves technology but can't see herself behind a screen all day - there is no other field that offers as many interesting opportunities as this one!