This article is featured courtesy of Jamie Holter, Communications Manager, Department of Information Technology
Gabriela Aranda, KCIT IT Systems Specialist Entry
How did you get your start in IT? Growing up I have always enjoyed working with computers and learning about them from a user standpoint. I always had the feeling that’s what I would do for a living and it wasn’t official until I decided to pursue IT while attending community college. I had no previous experience in IT as far as building computers or knowing how to code. I am very grateful and happy to have chosen IT as my career.
Do you bring a different perspective to IT? It’s easy to assume that if you’re in IT, you’re supposed to know everything. I believe IT is about collaboration and working with others to be successful. Sometimes technology can be intimidating, especially if it’s brand new to the public and as a female in IT, I think we bring comfort and ease to help others feel like they are being taken care of.
Do people treat you differently because you are a woman? Yes. IT is a male dominated field and customers have the tendency to feel that women in IT are not as skilled or capable to complete a task compared to a man. I enjoy this notion because I can always push the assumption out and show people that I am just as good. I love that King County is encouraging in many ways about the importance of diversity.
Do you have advice for young women considering a career in IT? There are a lot of free resources and services out there that will greatly benefit and improve your skills in the IT field. IT is a very broad field with ample of opportunity to grow and learn, so I think it’s very important to dip your toe into different skills and knowledge to help narrow down interest and then become stronger in that area of interest. Having a mentor is a huge investment because they will be able to guide you in the direction you need to go as well as being there for support. Don’t hesitate to ask someone if they will be your mentor!
If you could go back in time, what do you wish you would have done? Build computers and learn programming because I believe those are good foundations to understand in IT no matter what the job title is. I also wish I had taken the opportunities that were given to me such as a free seminar, joining IT club, or joining competitions like Capture the Flag. I think those would have been very valuable and would have helped further my skills and knowledge.