We interviewed Heather Gonzales, a Systems Engineer at St. Luke's Health System, in honor of Women's History Month 2018. Here are her thoughts on her own career, some of the challenges facing women in STEM, and advice for young women and girls looking to follow a STEM path!
What is your current role and what are some of your responsibilities?
IHT (Integrated Health Technologies) Systems Engineer 3. I evaluate, design, develop, implement, and administer server monitoring systems. I currently manage Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and ExtraHop.
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
While in college pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Master of Secondary Education, I worked four years at the University's IT Help Desk. I discovered I was good at troubleshooting and enjoyed it. After graduating, I was more interested in a career in technology than in teaching Spanish.
What has your career path been like?
After college, I began my career with St. Luke's Health System. I've been with St. Luke's for six years. I started at the IT Service Desk and then moved into a Data Center Technician position. In this role, I worked a lot with SCOM and ended up taking over administering it. The need for additional monitoring of our environment was identified, and that's when we decided to purchase ExtraHop. I moved into my current role at that point and began managing SCOM full time and implementing and managing ExtraHop.
What opportunities or challenges have you encountered as a woman in the technology field?
When I worked at the IT Service Desk, people would sometimes think I was a secretary or phone operator due to me being female, and they would ask me to transfer them to IT.
Tell us about an accomplishment you've achieved in your current workplace, and how ExtraHop has affected your life. :)
I've greatly improved our SCOM implementation and expanded our monitoring capabilities, and ExtraHop is one of the main reasons I'm in the role that I am in today. It's been helpful in troubleshooting issues I have with SCOM, and it's given me easy access to packet captures, which have been invaluable in troubleshooting.
Do you have any advice for women considering a STEM field?
It's a very satisfying and rewarding field to work in.