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Student Profile

Christina Brown

Program Manager at Microsoft

Course Taken

Data Analytics

Course Type

Data Analytics Course

Key Skills Learned

  • Python Programming
  • Data Analysis
  • Modeling
View Course Details
Christina Brown

Interview

Where are you working currently and what is your job title? What are some key responsibilities?

I am currently a Program Manager at Microsoft, making sure that our product teams build AI systems that are more inclusive, efficient, and reliable for our customers.

Can you tell us a bit about your education and career background?

I studied sociology in college and was a content marketing professional before my current role. But I have always had an appreciation for technology and the potential it has in helping people build generational wealth, especially for historically marginalized and low-income communities.

What motivated you to start digital skills training at BrainStation?

The last few months of 2021 afforded me the opportunity to really tap into the world of big data. Data touches almost every industry. The ability to use it to solve the world’s toughest problems is limitless in the right hands for the right reasons.

What was the highlight of your learning experience?

Honestly, I think that learning SQL for the first genuine time was the highlight of my time at BrainStation. I really liked how I got to work on real-time SQL exercises with my Educators and peers and that the material actually stuck this time. My relationship with prior programming languages left me discouraged because I didn’t have the patience or knowledge to correct my mistakes and ask for help. Not anymore.

What would you say were the most valuable skills you learned? How have you incorporated those skills in your current role?

In my new role, I work with data professionals who code in SQL. It’s nice to have that vocabulary ready to go if I need to talk technically. I now have the confidence to tackle new side projects beyond my BrainStation course.

What advice would you give women who are considering a career in the tech industry?

No industry, including tech, has a well-balanced representation of every conceivable human identity. But know that you’re capable of not only shattering the glass ceiling but disrupting it for future women tech leaders to walk into safer and calmer waters. Women, especially those who are career changers, need the time to explore their options and transferable skills in a constructive way before deciding whether tech is the right path for them to succeed. Without that self-awareness, you may not be happy with the outcomes. I would also recommend tapping into your current social, academic, and/or professional networks to conduct informational interviews with individuals who have your ideal jobs.

Once you have that position in mind, begin watching YouTube tutorials and follow #womenintech, #blacktechtwitter, or other Twitter threads for free tech resources. But more importantly, we as women must move from this mindset of constant self-doubt to a more productive one. We all have insecurities. Yes, our insecurities will overwhelm us on some days, but we cannot have that energy block our dreams every day.

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