This article is featured courtesy of Jamie Holter, Communications Manager, Department of Information Technology
Tamara Davis, KCIT IT Project Management
How did you get your start in IT? I started in GIS as an analyst and quickly realized I had two choices: one, pursue GIS as an IT career developing databases and applications, or two, pursue using GIS as a helpful tool in support of a particular line of business most likely transportation planning. I picked number one.
Do you bring a different perspective to IT? Female employees bring different traits to the workplace that benefit organizations. I value relationship building which is useful in team building and contributes to getting the job done.
Do people treat you differently because you are a woman? Yes. I think that is natural in every area of life. From an IT professional standpoint, things have changed a lot since I started my career in 1994. King County has always been a progressive place to work, setting the standard for encouraging diversity in the workplace. This is a value I share.
Do you have advice for young women considering a career in IT? Get as much technical education, training and working opportunities as possible. Don’t just go for the classic soft skill promotion path (management) because you are encouraged to do so. I took the management direction and feel very fortunate to be here. However I would encourage any young person considering a career in IT to make sure they really understand what the work is and what about IT they find exciting. Find a role model or mentor who will commit to productive engagement and to invest in yourself.
If you could go back in time, what do you wish you would have done? Pushed myself into new opportunities more frequently and much earlier than I did.