“What the heck does that mean?”
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that after I introduced myself, I’d be sitting on my own private island right about now. I’ve had a few unique roles in my career—instructional technologist, principal consultant, product strategist. It’s not surprising that people don’t get exactly what I do right off the bat. The titles are either industry-specific or in some cases, a lot of the roles I’ve held didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago.
A few weeks ago, I talked about this very thing with Adrienne, a prospective Skillcrush student who desperately wanted to change careers. She felt drained in her current role and really wanted to switch to a career where she could create products or work in design.
“But that’s not a career right?” She asked me. “Like, I’d have to pick between being a designer and whatever the other thing I want to do is?”
We talked some more and then it hit me—she needed to meet and talk to my friend Natalie Armendariz, one of the first professional mobile product designers of the smartphone age who cofounded a mobile product design company here in Austin called Funsize.
“Whoa, that’s what I want to do!” exclaimed Adrienne after reading a bit about Natalie’s career trajectory. She had no idea this was a hot new career in tech.
“I thought you were either a designer or developer and that’s it,” she said.
I don’t think Adrienne is alone here. With the tech industry changing at such a rapid pace, it’s tough to stay on top of the myriad of jobs and career paths available.
This is why I’ve rounded up some women who work in fascinating, modern tech roles that are now available to you in the tech industry. Most of these likely didn’t exist when you were born!
It’s exciting, isn’t it? With the industry evolving so quickly, there’s plenty of room for people like you to learn tech skills and work in this exciting, impactful field.
If you’re ready for one of these awesome job titles but not sure you’ve got the tech skills you need, sign up for our free 10-Day Coding Bootcamp. The email course will introduce you to common tech terms, give you an idea of what it’s like to work in the industry, and even give you the chance to write your first lines of code in our code editor. Sign up here!
DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
- Ximena Vengoechea – User Researcher at Twitter
Ximena works on Twitter’s research team where she focuses on developer products. Her role is a hybrid of UX, tech, and design thinking.
- Katie Kovalcin – Senior Product Designer at Vox
Katie is a product designer at Vox and also hosts a podcast called The Path to Performance, which is all about web performance.
- Natalie Armendariz – Mobile Product Design Lead
Natalie previously worked as a mobile designer and visual designer, and now leads a team of product and interaction designers at her company Funsize.
- Kim Swift – Senior Designer at Amazon Game Studios
Kim was part of the team that brought the world the gift of Portal (seriously, play it immediately if you haven’t yet). She’s now working at Amazon Game Studios.
- Kristy Okada – Interaction Designer at Chaotic Moon
Kristy has worked in UX and Product Design for companies like Target, Wikia and Razorfish. She recently started at Chaotic Moon Studios in Austin, Texas as an interaction designer.
- Jen Simmons – Designer Advocate Mozilla
- Jane Portman – UX/UI Consultant
Jane does everything, from running UI Breakfast as a UX/UI consultant/owner to hosting a podcast, speaking at conferences and authoring books.
- Bushra Mahmood – Senior UX Designer Adobe
Bushra is a UX and design powerhouse who has held roles in graphic design, product design and motion graphics. She is currently a Senior UX Designer at Adobe.
- Charlotte Wise – Lead UX Research – VISA
Charlotte leads the user research program in Visa’s UX lab. Her previous roles have included information architecture, technical writing, and design.
- Sophia Huang – Product Manager at InVision
Sophia is a product manager at InVision who also teaches 8-week immersive product management bootcamps at Product School in NYC. (Note: InVision is a fantastic product and a must if you want to work in UX, design or development, so I highly encourage you all to create an account and play around with it ASAP!)
- Sameera Salari – Product Manager at Facebook
Sameera is a product manager at Facebook who’s held previous roles in implementation consulting and project management at Box and Berkeley.
- Natasha Dua – Optimization Director at Clearhead
Natasha owns the digital product and testing strategy (think a/b and multivariate tests, data analysis and product optimization) at Clearhead.
- Stacy-Marie Ishmael – Managing Editor of Mobile News at Buzzfeed
Stacy’s role at BuzzFeed focuses ton creating the best possible mobile experience for users at BuzzFeed News. Her previous roles have included senior roles within editorial, product management, and audience engagement.
- Rachel Fenn – VP of Engineering at Upworthy
Rachel has deep expertise in product development and engineering and serves as Upworthy’s VP of Engineering and interim VP of Product.
- Dianne Marsh – Director of Engineering Tools at Netflix
Diane leads a team of engineers at Netflix who are responsible for building and implementing all the tools used by every engineer across the org.
- Lea Verou – Computer Science Researcher at MIT
Lea is pursuing her PhD and works in research at MIT focusing on data-driven web apps. She’s written books on CSS and has also worked in developer relations at W3C.
Mandy leads a team of developer evangelists at Cisco. The team is tasked with running Cisco’s API for developers. (Note: Mandy will be speaking at a Skillcrush master class this March! Open to Skillcrush students!)
Joyce Park is the CTO (and cofounder) of PandaWhale, a social content start-up in Silicon Valley. One of her previous roles was as an engineer at Friendster.
- Parisa Tabriz – Security Engineering Manager at Google Chrome
Parisa manages chrome’s security engineer team working to make Chrome as secure of a browser as possible. Parisa’s business card and LinkedIn profile famously list her title as “Security Princess” – that’s definitely the ultimate in title conversation starters!
MEDIA & SOCIAL
- Regina Anaejionu – Creative Business Coach/Media Entrepreneur
Regina runs her own site and coaching business. She produces a ton of actionable content from videos to e-books and teaches classes for infopreneurs.
- Audra Lindsey – Senior Community Strategist at Mightybell
Community strategy is definitely one of the most well known modern careers and one of people at the forefront of community is Audra. Her role at Mightybell is a mix of digital content strategy and user experience and she focuses on engagement for all the platform’s hosts. (Note: We use Mightybell in our Skillcrush blueprints as a way for our students to interact and share their class work!)
- Juliet Chen – Social Media Strategist at Buffer
Juliet is a Strategist at Buffer (one of my absolute favorite social tools) where she focuses on Buffer clients’ success. Juliet’s previous roles include roles in digital marketing, strategy and customer experience.
- Ashley Milne-Tyte – Podcast Host at The Broad Experience
Ashley’s podcast, The Broad Experience, is one of the best podcasts you’ll ever listen to. Ashley is a journalist, educator and public speaker who has previously worked at R/GA, WNYC and Columbia University.
Gina and Ashley founded recruitHER, a full service agency that seeks to connect job seekers with tech companies. The company is focused on diversity in the tech space and has worked with clients like GitHub, Pinterest and RetailMeNot.
Katharine and Milena founded PowerToFly to place women looking for remote tech work at tech companies all over the world.
- Georgene Huang – Founder at Fairygodboss
Georgene has worked at Dow Jones and Bloomberg Ventures in previous roles. She recently founded Fairygodboss, a website and community that allows women to review the benefits of framework and culture at prominent companies.
- Lateesha Thomas – Director of Diversity at Dev Bootcamp
Lateesha has worked in QA, application support and social media. She currently manages diversity programming and initiatives as Dev Bootcamp’s diversity director.
- Anita Sarkeesian – Executive Director at Feminist Frequency
Anita is the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video series that deconstructs common stereotypes of women in videogames. Anita is also a major voice speaking out about the harassment women go through in online spaces and gaming communities.
Image credit: CC by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv