Pamela Krzypkowska, an AI Cloud Solution Architect for Microsoft, wasn’t exactly sure of what she wanted to do when studying computer science at university or while working on her philosophy degree, but a future in the STEM field was always something that felt right she highlights in her first interview as a member of the #AiAllies initiative.
“Growing up, I was drawn to physics and envisioned myself as a scientist. Even though I later realized it wasn’t my calling, I was certain about pursuing a career in STEM,” Pamela shared.
She added, “University doesn’t truly mirror professional life. While I acquired many skills, I was unsure about the specific role I wanted.”
To gain real-world experience, Pamela took initiative. She landed internships at Samsung and Goldman Sachs as a software developer, diving into natural language processing and artificial intelligence.
“Engaging in professional projects related to your interests, even on a semi-professional level, is crucial. It offers a glimpse into the industry and helps you discover your passion. Internships might not align perfectly with your aspirations, but they expose you to the professional world, introduce you to intriguing individuals, and occasionally, there’s free pizza!”
After earning her first degree, Pamela ventured into freelancing. Concurrently, she pursued a philosophy degree and embarked on her journey with Microsoft.
“I joined the Microsoft Aspire program which had a flexible working schedule that enabled me to finish my second degree in parallel. So far, I have worked in three different roles with Microsoft, firstly with partner strategy, then with customer strategy and now on cloud architecture.”
Pamela’s ascent in the tech world wasn’t solely due to her academic prowess. She emphasizes the value of engaging in extracurricular activities and proactively extending assistance.
“Engaging with others is crucial,” Pamela advises. “The most effective way to forge connections is by volunteering your assistance. Everyone, regardless of their position, appreciates a helping hand. I consistently offered my support to professors, peers, and those I admired. This hands-on approach not only gave me insights into the professional realm but also equipped me with vital skills.”
Supporting Women in the World of Tech
Rising steadily through Microsoft’s ranks, Pamela now collaborates with large businesses and public sector entities to bolster their growth.
So, what’s the secret for women aiming for similar success and a robust career launch?
Pamela credits her proactive stance during her university years as a pivotal factor in her career trajectory. She offers several tips for students:
“Engaging in student organizations can teach you about teamwork and organizational skills, opening doors for networking. Organizing conferences is another avenue to hone essential skills.”
She emphasizes the importance of going beyond the curriculum to ensure a smooth transition into the professional realm.
“Engage with your professors about potential grant projects. Offer assistance for any hands-on tasks they might need help with. Remember, professors are professionals too, often juggling personal projects that could benefit from some support.”
Network and Connect
“Keep networking, get connected and make use of all of the free resources and training courses that are available online. There has never been so much support for people who want to train themselves and improve their skills, so take advantage. Virtual training days are a great example where you can learn for an Azure Fundamentals Certification and get a free exam voucher.”
“I would also say that cybersecurity is a huge topic and if you can fuse that with data science, you will be in high demand as a professional.”
Importantly, Pamela highlights Doing Data Science as a key read for those wanting to learn about the field, while Towards Data Science offers regular information and analysis from industry experts of the subject.
“If you really want to learn about data science and become a professional in the industry, I think you should also find somebody who works in the sector and ask for a mentorship.”
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Pamela also highlights the importance of mental health and recognizing limitations as a junior coming into the technology sector.
“It’s really easy to get sucked into endless work and striving for progress, but nothing is worth sacrificing your mental wellness for. It’s very important to remember that you can’t know everything right away and that asking for information is a good thing. Right now, every job is a lifelong learning journey.”
“Remember that even the most experienced people simply make the best educated guess they can when solving a problem. Every project is different, and you shouldn’t feel nervous about putting your thoughts forward or asking people for help.”
“Finding out what you want to do is a complicated task. Be kind to yourself and if there is anything you think I could help you with – Hit me up!”
Finally, when assessing the current state of the technology sector and how improvements can be made for women and minorities.
“I think that all minorities should do everything they can to support other minorities (women included) in the technology industry. We need more diversity in leadership positions because every minority offers a different leadership style and this has an enormous positive impact on a business and its employees.”
To learn more from Pamela, you can connect with her directly here.
Access a wide range of accredited online training courses for free from Microsoft, here.
Browse the current internship programs and junior openings, here.