3 LA Women Share Why They Changed Careers to Work in the Tech Industry

by Michael Hines
September 30, 2019

One of the best parts about working in tech is the chance to grow your career and company at the same time. Early stage startups provide the chance to wear multiple hats and develop strategies that directly impact the trajectory of a company. More established companies offer opportunities to develop new products and provide mentorship to the next-generation of leaders.

All of this — and so much more — is what makes the industry an attractive place for professionals launching their second or third careers. But don’t take our word for it. We recently spoke with three LA women who began their careers in other industries about how they found their passion for tech and what they love about the careers they’ve built.

 

DISQO Los Angeles women in tech
DISQO

Anna Aladadyan built a long career in branding and marketing before an interest in software inspired her to make the jump to the tech industry. However, DISQO’s Director of Product Management initially began her tech career in another field. Here’s how she discovered her passion for product management.

 

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

I started my career in the branding and marketing space over a decade ago. As the popularity of digital brands picked up, so did my interest in software, hence joining an early stage startup as a designer. As the company grew, I realized I could create greater impact by guiding our product and engineering teams to build valuable software. Today my knowledge of design, paired with the management and technical skills I acquired along the way, help me support our teams to deliver successful products and experiences to our customers. 

There is nothing more gratifying than seeing your work come to life in a matter of just days and making a measurable and impactful contribution.

 

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

Regardless of team size, we’re galvanized into action by a single goal and quickly deliver solutions from inception to implementation. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing your work come to life in a matter of just days and making a measurable and impactful contribution. This instant gratification empowers and fuels us as we undertake our next challenge. Moreover, the best part is the team of people with whom I can share and celebrate these successes.

 

Josephine Yen Cloudvirga SVP of Product Management
CLOUDVIRGA

As a management consultant in the financial services industry, Josephine Yen found herself working with technology time and again to help clients become more data and analytics-driven. Working with tech eventually became working in tech as Yen joined Cloudvirga as SVP of product management. For Yen, the best part about working at a young company at the intersection of fintech and real estate is the opportunity to make an impact — both in her industry and on her team.

 

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

After graduate school, I worked in management consulting for financial services clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. This was at a time when there was a huge push to bring data and analytics-focused technology to the financial services market. I have always been a problem-solver, so this early career choice was a perfect fit. I helped clients understand their business problems and recommended solutions, of which technology was a critical component. That experience led me to where I am today, leading the product management function for Cloudvirga.

I work every day knowing that our products will positively impact millions of home buyers as they prepare for one of the largest financial transactions they will ever make.

 

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

At Cloudvirga, I have the opportunity to accomplish two things. The first is to be part of a major change and shift toward efficiency and cost savings in the $1.5 trillion-dollar mortgage industry. I work every day knowing that our products will positively impact millions of home buyers as they prepare for one of the largest financial transactions they will ever make. 

The second is to be a leader and a mentor. I am fortunate to work with extremely intelligent people every day. I am better, stronger and smarter because of what I learn from them. In turn, I work with my team regularly to provide opportunities to expand their knowledge base and skill sets so they don’t get bored or complacent. I also coach and guide them to achieve the highest level of professional success.

 

Aspiration Senior Software Engineer Wendy Gwo
ASPIRATION

Software engineers have no shortage of opportunities in Los Angeles. For Aspiration Senior Software Engineer Wendy Gwo, that’s one of the best parts about working in tech. However, when it comes to finding the perfect fit, Gwo is less interested in comparing perks and benefits packages as she is in finding a company whose values match her own.

 

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

Before I pivoted to software engineering in 2016, my degrees and work experience were in electrical engineering. I switched to software engineering because I wanted to work with startups, which didn’t leave me with many companies to choose from if I kept my career as an electrical engineer. Startups were and are appealing to me because they’re often working on hard and interesting problems. They also interested me because I’d be able to have a much bigger impact with my work, versus the bigger companies where I had been working. I’m glad to say that both my hunches were correct.

Startups were and are appealing to me because they’re often working on hard and interesting problems.

 

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

I love that things are always changing, which means there’s always something new to learn. It’s both the scariest and most exciting part of working in tech. In addition, most companies need software engineers nowadays, so it makes it a lot easier to find jobs at companies that have values that align with your values, like Aspiration. I love that the work that I’m doing is benefiting both our customers and society.

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