A different path..

In my last post I wrote about teaching my younger daughter about arduinos and my dad’s change of heart on whether I sit on the edge of technology or am an active participant.  I wanted to explore this idea a bit more this week, especially as I watch my older daughter sit on the fringe.

My older daughter, Cayla, is 16 years old and typical in many ways. It’s difficult to find a time when she isn’t on her phone, or iPod or computer. She has taken some very basic computer classes in school, but has never expressed an interest in learning to code or playing video games other than the ones on her phone. Cayla likes science and math, but has been struggling this year with geometry and biology. In many ways, this is not unlike my own experiences.

We got our first computer when I was 7 years old. My dad taught me the DOS prompts to be able to get to do what I wanted and I was a pretty avid “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” fan. I was placed into an advanced math class in 7th grade, but then had to drop it because I was too busy with dance and other after school activities. In HS, I enjoyed my sophomore chemistry class and took the only advanced science class I could take. It was that Physics class where I got so frustrated with the instructor that I took it out on my father by throwing the book at him. Poppa John still holds this over me.

Despite my early exposure to technology and my dad having an education and experience in chemical engineering, I did not even consider engineering as an option. It was the constant learning and growing that inspired me to pursue my advanced degree and go the business route. That said, that technological interest fostered early in life has carried me to some unique opportunities. I was involved in internet at a dotcom in the late 1990s, then moved to telecom/software company and then most recently worked at a big data analytics company. I have been able to combine my soft business skills and technical interests to be a strong project manager and business analyst. I am able to get in the weeds with my team and work through fairly technical problems. I am able to discuss big data and algorithms with data scientists and less technical customers. I am also able to be that cardboard batman when my husband is having one of those moments. I do all this while writing about and networking with other women in technology (or those too hanging on the fringe). I am also able to get my hands dirty writing some SQL, programming that arduino or learning enough HTML, CSS and Javascript in a 2 week period to take my younger daughter to an app development workshop.

IMG_2937At the end of the day, I believe that being involved with technology will provide better lives for my daughters, and a bigger impact on the world. While Cayla isn’t ready to sit down and program a website, she is willing to support her sister. I have brought them to a couple recent STEM symposiums and showcases. Cayla does a great job encouraging Ana and stepping in when Ana is feeling a bit shy and overwhelmed. I hope that Cayla continues to appreciate the technology and become open to the possibilities. Let her be her sister’s mentor and advocate. We all have our own path’s to technology.

P.S. Cayla agreed to learn about data analytics and R as her internship this summer. May the journey begin.

One thought on “A different path..

  1. Pingback: Starting the process of predicting who will win the next Stanley Cup | Cayla Evans

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