Carnegie Mellon University

Diana Esteves describes her early career as being “on steroids”. Immediately after graduation she was employed as a Software Engineer 2 and soon found herself transitioning into the role of Senior Consulting Engineer at MongDB. Although it was challenging, the change in direction of her career was rewarding. Being a consultant gave her the opportunity to help a lot of people and experience many different companies. “I worked with over 100 companies, and no matter who the customer was, or what industry they came from, they were somewhere on that spectrum of the software engineering life cycle. Through the knowledge I gained at the MSE, I had the awareness that is necessary to recognize where in the life cycle the customer is, and how to take them to the next stage to ultimately make them successful. The MSE really gave me a leg up on how to tackle real-world problems.”

Representation Matters 

As much as she loved being a consultant, Diana became painfully aware of the lack of representation in the tech sector. “In the five years I worked as a consultant, unfortunately, the number of times I got to work with an expert from an underrepresented group was very small. I could probably count on one hand the number of people.”

Wanting to make a difference, she decided to once again change directions in her career and enrolled in a teaching certificate program at The University of Texas at Austin. “I’ve always loved computer science and mathematics, and I think teaching at the high school level will be a chance for me to bridge the representation gap in STEM. I have been very fortunate and have had amazing role models at every step of my education. My computer science teacher in high school, Miss Sceppa, has been, by far, the most influential teacher and role model for me. I want to be in a position to encourage the next generation to pursue careers in STEM, to influence them while they’re still going through an early exploratory phase. I feel that is where I can have the most impact long term.“

Finding a Balance

Although she loved consulting and wanted to remain active in industry, Diana realized that attending an accelerated and immersive program would be time consuming. On top of working full-time, she had a wedding to plan, a puppy to raise, paddling, two houses to renovate, and a “hobby” that involves using “IoT devices using LoRaWAN to track her paddling statistics and to automate just about everything.” Not wanting to leave industry completely, but realizing she would need to scale back in her responsibilities, Diana took a junior role as a DX Engineer. “It really helps that I had the opportunity to join a really cool team who are aware of, and supportive of, my long term career goals. I think it’s super important to have that transparency in the work environment. And vice versa. The amount of support I’ve received by sharing my goals with both my work and school has been amazing.”

Do What You Love

Diana's decision to change directions in her career wasn’t entirely altruistic. During a time of  reflection, Diana realized that one of the aspects of consulting she really enjoyed was training industry professionals. “I love the art of teaching; magical things happen.”