How Do You Build a Career in Tech? 4 Colorado Women Share Their Stories

by Michael Hines
September 18, 2019

Not everyone who works in tech grew up dreaming of being an engineer or a product manager. In fact, many who work in the industry only realized their passion for technology while they were studying something else entirely in college, or after they kicked off their career in another field. 

The tech industry is unique in large part because of the people who work in it — people like the four Colorado women we spoke to for this piece. All four have built careers in tech, and took very different paths to get to where they are today. Continue reading to learn more about their career journeys, along with what they love most about their work.

 

Gloo Colorado tech jobs

Gloo Staff Engineer Meagan Combs didn’t grow up wanting to work in tech. In fact, she only discovered her love of engineering by chance after a friend suggested she take an intro to computer science class in college. Combs has since built a career as a developer, and it’s all thanks to that one class and, more specifically, the professor who taught it.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

I’d never planned on a career in tech! A friend of mine recommended intro to computer science as a great freshman year course, so I gave it a shot. I was inspired to pursue a career in tech by the professor of that class, Gloria Townsend. She’s really passionate about inclusivity and supporting and encouraging women in tech, and she helped me discover my love for engineering.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Are there any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

Right now I love building APIs that get consumed by my teammates! It’s really fun to know the value of the code I’m writing.

 

Zen Planner Colorado tech jobs

Nelle Zukowski had been with Zen Planner for almost a year when she interviewed for a role on the company’s product team. While Zukowski wasn’t fully confident she’d nailed her interview, her passion for product was palpable. Her career in product management — she’s now a product manager at Zen Planner — began that day. However, her tech career journey actually began six years prior in South America.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

When I was teaching English in Argentina, I was asked to serve as the editor of content for an English learning app. The mix of team members with their unique expertise contributing to a shared vision through technology felt like the collaborative and innovative type of work I had been on the lookout for. I finished my degree and later moved to Colorado to start a career at Zen Planner on the services team. As I moved my way up through the services team, that thirst to work even closer with the tech team didn’t go away. When it was announced we were hiring internally for an associate product manager, I couldn’t resist. I was surprised, stoked and honestly a little bit scared when I was told that I got the job. 

Product has allowed me to continue to work with customers, empathize with their needs and be in a position to do something with their data. It has incorporated all the elements of collaboration, data analytics, communication and ideation I had been looking for. I am blown away at the growth this type of work has provided me, both as an individual and as a professional.

As a woman in product, I get fired up knowing I am contributing to the rise of women in tech.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Are there any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

It’s a privilege to help solve problems for real people. As a woman in product, I get fired up knowing I am contributing to the rise of women in tech. I love supporting and speaking with women about working in tech and helping explore and break down any myths or assumptions we have around it. I get to work with incredibly intelligent and kind people on my tech teams and be a part of an enthusiastic community of product people. The product leaders I learn from and the tech team members I work with all share a common goal: work hard, be kind and have fun while doing it, and I dig that.

 

Formstack Colorado tech jobs

According to Formstack, nearly 70 percent of its employees work remotely 100 percent of the time. This willingness to embrace remote workers is what allowed Operations Analyst Dyan Meahl to pursue her love for working with technology and streamlining processes. Even though she’s remote, Meahl said she’s no less passionate about her work and is still learning and growing as a professional.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

As an undergrad, I wanted to pursue video production but decided to pair it with a business degree. After taking both management information systems and video production classes, I realized that the passion I had for video production was actually because of the powerful tools and technology used during post-production work, which was only a small part of the degree.  My MIS classes, however, gave me the ability to work with technology and processes all day. I knew I wanted to change my career focus after nights of staying up late to work on passion projects, like creating websites, and researching and improving my skills with large software platforms. Working in tech wasn’t something I planned on doing at a young age, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.

Working in tech wasn’t something I planned on doing at a young age, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Are there any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

Tech is one of the few industries that gives employees the ability to work remote, and Formstack is a company that focuses on finding the right people to do the job, not the location of the person. What is remote life without passion, though? I am driven by learning new things and seeing the impact that I am making for others. Tech has allowed me to be lucky enough to work with multiple departments to streamline internal processes. Watching something go from being an idea to working with a team to design the dream, to implementing a fully utilized and impactful solution is inspiring and empowering. Each day there is a new challenge and no day is quite like the last.

 

Flowhub Colorado tech jobs

Every college student has taken one class they absolutely hate. For Maire Chew, a software engineer at Flowhub, that class was Computer Science 101. Here’s how Chew went from a communications major who hated computer science class to a developer who loves using technology to solve problems and build products.

 

Tell us a bit about your career journey. Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?

I had intended to be an entertainment engineer, a cross between fine arts and mechanical engineering. I ended up taking CS 101 in college and hated it, but it was challenging, and that made it very interesting to me. I switched my major to communications and eventually started working in marketing and communications roles, but I kept remembering how interesting and challenging that tech class was. Finally, I told myself that I would be an engineer by 2018 and signed up at Galvanize. That challenge and the ability to create something that so many people interact with is what interested me in tech.

I ended up taking CS 101 in college and hated it, but it was challenging, and that made it very interesting to me.

 

What do you love most about your tech career? Are there any specific aspects of your job that really make you light up?

I love working with extremely intelligent people who are all interested in problem-solving and creating great products. I love the instant gratification and seeing all of my hard work come to life.

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Formstack
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Gloo
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Gloo
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Gloo
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Zen Planner
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Zen Planner
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Gloo
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Flowhub
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