Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Story

I grew up with no particular career in mind. I did well in school but I never saw a vision of myself as an adult.  I remember being asked in the second grade and I replied real estate agent (because my parents were) or a teacher (because I like school).

Later on I wanted to be a meteorologist because the tour I went on at OU was cool.

In high school I replied Economist, even though I'd never really had any economics classes.  I did well in math and chemistry. For some reason I never considered math as a career path and if I had just asked the question or been given a nudge in this direction I may have gone down that road. 

I took some chemistry in college but I imagined that thinking about molecular structures and being in a lab all day would be boring. 

Psychology and psychiatry were options, mainly because I'd had my own experience with mental illness that I hadn't quite worked through yet.  Going to medical school scared me, since I felt like I would always be second-guessing myself and berating myself over any mistake and agonizing over each patient 24 hours a day (see my mention of mental illness in previous sentence).

Psychology research seemed fun.  I took Statistics, Experimental Design, Intro to Personality, Abnormal Psych, and worked in a Psych Lab for a year.

I enjoyed making web pages but for some reason didn't consider that I could do that as a full time job and not just as a hobby.  

Political Science seemed fun.  I worked in Washington DC for a summer and got a little jaded with that.

The next summer I worked as an intern for a state-wide housing study.  I enjoyed traveling to small-town Oklahoma and hearing the stories of what was going on there.  There were cities that had a lot of hope and were working to bring businesses there; there were cities that had given up and were just waiting for their old people to die.

I did take lots of Economics, which ended up being my major as I predicted as a clueless high school student.  I ended up with minors in Psychology and Political Science.

I graduated without a clue as to what I wanted to do.  I liked Economic Development but it seemed like it required more of a Sales personality than what I have. I was extremely burned out on school due to my perfectionism.  I was terrified of making the wrong choice for a Masters program so I made no choice.

I moved to Tulsa from Norman to work with one of the companies that was involved with the state-wide housing study I worked on the summer before.  I was a commercial real estate appraiser and market analyst.  It was data-heavy which was fun. There were aspects of real estate appraisal that were not me, however.  I was Not Happy.

So I remembered that I liked web pages and started thinking of that more broadly.  I took some programming classes at TCC in the evenings so that I could use that part of my brain and maybe make an escape plan.

I eventually found my first IT job, which later let me jump to my current position of testing software at StatSoft/Dell.  StatSoft was acquired by Dell in 2014.  I call it my dream job.  It combines my natural OCD + analytical personality tendencies with the Math I loved but didn't know I could do anything with with the Statistics I loved but didn't know I could do anything with with the computer programming I had failed to consider as a possibility.

As I plan for the future growth of my career, I try to keep aware of the latest trends in each of these fields.  I know a little something about many things but deepen my understanding as much as I need to depending on the project I'm working on.

I *still* don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I'm beyond happy right now with a career that lets me get immersed in both the technology and the subject matter. 

1 comment:

  1. Great to see a tester publicly announcing that they consider it "my dream job". A very honest and inspiring story, Amanda, and the testing community is strong & supportive of your efforts to deepen your understanding.