Karina is a first-gen college graduate who pursued a degree in computer science, despite the lack of diversity within the field. Through her actions and generous support, she has helped many young women feel included in the tech community.
When I initially met Karina, I was seeking advice, but after our meeting I came out with something better-a supportive friend who encourages me to continue my journey in this highly competitive industry.
After only a year in her role, she now works on large international projects, i.e., the Olympics! In this interview, she shares advice on how to stand out in your career and free resources that you can leverage!
What message or advice would you give to recent graduates right now?
My advice would be to network right away. By looking for online resources and reaching out to people who are in the field you want to be in, you will have a better chance of landing opportunities.
Some of the groups that helped me were Latinas in Tech, Techqueria, and Tech Ladies. They are great resources because they not only provide job boards, events, and relevant news, but they also offer mentorship and an uplifting community. The best thing about these groups is that they make an effort to help you reach your goals. You will always find someone willing to help.
What woman inspires you and what’s the best advice she has given you?
I would have to say my current manager. While it’s not specific advice, she taught me how to be a great leader through her actions. She empowers me to voice my opinion and tackle any challenge face on. She asks what areas I want to grow in and keeps me accountable. I would say I lucked out.
What is the most important lesson you learned when you started your professional career?
It doesn’t matter how small the task is, put your effort into every project you are given. Even if you realize that you don’t like the role and want to pivot, show your dedication and work ethic by putting in your all. That way, if you decide that you want to do something else, people will vouch for you because they have seen the work you do.
Is there a resource that you would recommend to people who want to work in Tech?
Since I studied computer science, I thought it would be helpful to learn the fundamentals of business and how culture can influence your success in a company.
In terms of learning business fundamentals, I listen to the podcast How I Built This by Guy Raz. It features founders of large companies and walks through their journey from startup to IPO. It’s really interesting and entertaining!
In terms of culture, I learned how POC have difficulty attaining opportunities and understanding basic professional etiquettes, such as voicing their opinion in meetings or email etiquette. Invisibilia is a great podcast in explaining these topics.
What is your favorite quote?
I have two different ones that I really like. The first would have to be a quote from Frida Kahlo- “Pies para que los quiero, si tengo alas para volar,” It reminds me to have optimism in bad situations.
The other would have to be “As you climb the ladder of success reach down and pull others along with you” by Frank Sonnenberg. This quote has been a common theme in my life. I live my life this way because I got help from the communities I mentioned earlier, and it’s important for me to continue to support other Latinas who might be struggling.
Follow Karina on her social media for more resources and advice!