Want to Dive Into Tech? 4 LA Women Share How They Started Their Careers

by Michael Hines
September 23, 2019

If you ask four people why they chose a career in tech — you’ll get four different answers. One of the things that makes the industry so unique is that everyone discovers their passion for using technology to build products that delight users and solve problems in different ways. Continue reading to learn more about how four local women discovered their passion for tech, the careers they built and what they love most about their work.

 

SteelHouse Los Angeles tech jobs

SteelHouse Director of Ad Operations Hannah Hesser worked in the manufacturing and beer industries before she began her career in tech. While Hesser’s career journey may seem like it’s full of detours, her path was actually planned with a lot of purpose. For Hesser, working in manufacturing, beer and tech have all provided the opportunity to solve challenging problems in a new way — and break up the status quo in the process.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

In my first job out of school I was a consultant for KPMG, and I worked primarily in manufacturing process improvement. I decided to make a career change by moving out west and becoming a business analyst for the largest brewery in LA. I worked on everything from production forecasting, sales analysis, inventory management systems and financial planning. After taking a year off to travel, I came to SteelHouse. 

It ticked all my boxes: problem-solving, data analysis and fast-paced. Throughout my career, I’ve found that I repeatedly gravitate toward industries that are typically seen as masculine and male-dominated, like manufacturing, beer and tech. That’s because I’m excited by the idea of implementing new ways to approach problem-solving and conveying the message to women that there is space for them to be smart, strong and intelligent, even in a male-dominated environment.

I thrive in environments where I am challenged to have creative solutions and facilitate process improvements.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

At SteelHouse, no day is the same. We’re constantly elevating our technology, platform or business integrations. Our team is always enhancing performance with new integrations, quality testing product releases and streamlining campaign setup and customer communications. I thrive in environments where I am challenged to have creative solutions and facilitate process improvements.

 

Rapid7 Los Angeles tech jobs

 

Corrine Druhan discovered her passion for tech because of her college’s passion for tech. You see, Druhan went to a school where all freshmen were required to take a computer science class. Druhan, and likely many of her peers, dreaded taking comp sci. But she ended up loving it. However, the Rapid7 senior software engineer only decided to go all in on tech after spending a summer interning at Microsoft.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

At my college, every student was required to take a computer science class in their first semester. I was dreading it, but it ended up being my favorite class. I learned that computer science is creative, collaborative and something I really enjoyed doing. Before committing to a career path in tech, I spent a summer doing National Science Foundation-funded research and the next summer interning at Microsoft. 

Although I liked doing research, working on real software that people were using excited me more, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in tech. I started working at Rapid7 after graduation, and I’ve been here for five years. In that time I’ve progressed from the most junior person on the team to a senior software engineer. As the company and my skills as a developer have grown, I’ve gotten to take on increasingly more complex and interesting projects, which makes me excited about the future of my career in tech.

I love that there are always new problems to solve, and we have to keep building creative solutions.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

Rapid7 is a cybersecurity company, and when I tell most people that, they assume I’m a hacker. Some people love tearing software apart, but I love building it. Cybersecurity is such a cool and challenging field because we haven’t figured it all out yet. People get hacked all the time! I love that there are always new problems to solve, and we have to keep building creative solutions. Security threats are always changing, but our customers’ environments change too. Many of our customers have a large part of their infrastructure running in the cloud and in containers. We’ve done a lot of work to support this modern infrastructure, but it’s always changing, so there’s always more to do. 

Right now, I’m working on a new feature to help secure containerized environments. I’m learning so much more about Docker, Kubernetes and containers in general in the process. I’m designing what the feature will look like and what technologies we will use to implement it. This involves a lot of research and speaking with other teams at Rapid7 who have solved similar problems, as well as with customers who use containers every day to see what they want and need from our product. It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding to see it all come together.

 

Jumpcut Los Angeles tech jobs

If Catherine Ton had never followed her passion for journalism in high school, there’s a chance she might never have found her love for working with technology. Here’s how a passion for reporting helped Ton, who’s Jumpcut’s Product Manager and Head of Design, kick off her career in the tech industry.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

I launched my high school’s first online news magazine and I started college as a journalism major. That was the initial inspiration for my tech career — I loved being able to connect with people through an online medium. When I graduated college, I knew my passion was for building useful interfaces. I worked at a healthtech company where I found myself constantly bothering the tech team about how and why our software worked the way it did. Eventually, I joined that team as a product manager.

I worked at a healthtech company where I found myself constantly bothering the tech team about how and why our software worked the way it did.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

The people I work with. When you’re on a tech team, you get to work with smart individuals who all have something to bring to the table. I am constantly challenged, from engineering to design, to think differently and outside the box.

 

Flexport Los Angeles tech job

 

Taylor Oliver kicked off her career in tech almost five years ago when she joined Flexport as a sales development manager. Fast forward to today and Oliver is now the General Manager for the company’s Southwest region. Here’s what brought Oliver to Flexport and what she loves most about her work at the company. 

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

I didn’t always know I wanted to work in tech and logistics, but I did always want to be part of a company that embraced change and innovation. Luckily, I found the perfect balance of that at Flexport. We’re using technology to disrupt the extremely complicated global trade industry. I get the fun and fast-paced work pace I crave and can see the real-world impact of my work. I’ve spent half a decade at Flexport, helping secure over 10,000 of the customers and suppliers that are on our platform today, and I am currently the general manager of our Southwest region.

I didn’t always know I wanted to work in tech and logistics, but I did always want to be part of a company that embraced change and innovation.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

The people! Between my incredibly bright, driven colleagues and clients, I am always learning something new about technology and global trade. And because logistics managers are under more pressure than ever to adapt to tight timelines and the ever-shifting environmental and political demands that impact shipping, helping our customers complete daily tasks and derive value from their supply chains is especially rewarding.

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