Women in Tech - Spotlight: Elena Rose
6 minute read
March is Women’s History Month and in honor of this occasion, NextRoll is launching a month-long Women in Tech Spotlight – where we highlight a few of the women here at NextRoll. This will be a limited three-part series of interviews, showcasing three of our extraordinary women in technology. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elena Rose!
Title: Manager, Data Science Engineer
Can you share a little about what you do at NextRoll and what your typical day is like?
I have migrated to a manager position a couple of years ago. My day changed quite a bit – before it was mostly coding, now it is primarily connecting teams together, understanding the strategic way to develop our product, cross-team dependencies, and try to compensate for that. This is where all where my brainpower goes to.
What do you like most about your tech career?
I enjoy how tech people know what they want: they have the right expertise and a good definition of what they want to do. They have a clear path, are logical, and have structure. The types of people who pursue tech career – engineers joining engineering workforce – join for a reason. These are the people who like to poke around with different ideas. They are curious, and being around with these people is very interesting.
What would you say was the reason for you to pursue a career in science/technology?
My father. He is an engineer. He created 50 patents in night visions. Growing up, I wanted to be an archeologist. I was looking into the history and participated in archaeology session during summer. Then my father told me that archeologists are people who find something, and then they spend time looking at that stuff. You can build them devices and make their workflow much more efficient, and I just swallowed that idea and decided to go into physics instead.
Is there one piece of advice you wish somebody gave you at the beginning of your career?
Don’t skip programming classes. Focus on programming more because it will pay off. Start working hard as early as possible. Every minute you spent developing your brain will pay off in the future. That is definitely what I’d like to hear.
Who has been your biggest advocate/mentor in the workplace, and why?
So I was not always in tech. I started as a physicist and migrated to finance, and I’ve grown emotionally and matured quite a bit during that period, and I had great mentors in the finance field. Working with the bankers was a real good time for me because right now it’s paying off: I now developed intuition to know how to tackle open-ended questions.
Secondly, My husband is probably the biggest influence for me in tech. He started working at Google being one of the early engineers. Through his years he touches very successful companies at the beginning of the stages. He developed a very deep understanding of approaches, best practices, and focuses for me to grow in the early days that shaped the way that I focus. I benefited quite a bit from listening to him. When he starts talking, I have a pen and paper writing it down because it is something that he should be teaching/have starting training materials on.
Is there anything that NextRoll does to support women in technology that other companies should do too?
Historically, women are not frequently joining in engineering. Women think differently. Women pay attention to different things. What attracts women in positions needs to be pitched differently between men and women. Women are very cautious about which job opportunity she would pursue. If she does not fit in any of the job descriptions, she would not apply.
Also at the workplace, there should be some set of mindful places for women to be comfortable among a purely men’s culture. We need to develop certain islands to be comfortable to think and iterate. This is hard actually. I am a woman, I see women around. I am trying to understand how to formalize this. It’s not purely just diversity and inclusion. It is certain details that make a change.
Women in tech meetings here at NextRoll are really good. They are talking about formalizing what is good for the women, and how the group should act, and what is the beneficial way for women to express her idea.
Who are your role models in women in Tech?
People who are forward-thinking are the most interesting and influential to me. I don’t have anybody among women that is my role model, but I have quite a few among men. Right now, I am quite fascinated with Elon Musk. He has an amazing ability to work, focus, extraordinary thinking, and also he is capable of encapsulating himself in his current life. I just read a book about his life, and it was amazing. I think we will say in the future that we lived in the Elon Musk era.
Any advice for Women in Tech/Allies you would give?
Througout my tech career, I don’t sense any difference between being a man or a woman. My class at the university was 130 people and only 8 women. At that point, I would prefer more women. But after that, I don’t think that I had any disadvantages during my life because I was a woman. I would say try to gather as many mentors as possible, no matter what the gender is. Because among men, you might get some interesting ideas that could enhance your ability. Try to catch attention to those that are most knowledgable, and have the most expertise in whatever field you want to pursue right now. Usually, those people don’t need you. You need them and spend time to make yourself interesting to them. It doesn’t matter who they are, but the right person and the right time would make tons of differences.