Math has always been a favorite of mine. The beauty of numbers, the elegance of obtaining the one correct answer, and the discipline of problem solving was a perfect match for my introverted, results-oriented self. I knew I wanted to find a career that allowed me to do math but I had no idea what that would be.

Headshot of Lisa Schlosser - technologist and women in tech advocate

Graduating from high school in the early 80’s, computers were a blimp in most people’s minds, and definitely not on their desktop. A floppy disc was actually floppy with my operating system code on one floppy and my total storage on whatever fit on the second floppy. Going to college, numerical analysis was the class where I first began to think that knowing how to program would be hugely helpful. I discovered that many of the classes I needed for math overlapped with a computer science degree, so I thought, why not get two degrees? So I did.

My first job interviews were for either software development or actuary roles. I chose the path of computer science and have never regretted that decision. It was a constant learning opportunity starting with mainframe programming in JCL then learning C and object-oriented programming in C++. The languages kept changing and the learning kept evolving.

My introverted-self learned to work on teams, with each person having responsibility for a very complex application. Eventually, I learned to lead teams and acquired business acumen. Working for a global business, I was able to travel the world and work with teams in many locations, experiencing diverse cultures. Business professionals were our primary customers and I was able to learn more about the challenges of their roles and how our teams could enable them to be more productive.

There was so much I would have missed if I hadn’t stumbled into CS or thought it was nothing but sitting in front of a computer all day. Technology is all around us and we need a diverse workforce pipeline to ensure the future of tech reflects the communities for which it’s built.

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