LinkedIn: Equasha Colley
Tell us about yourself.
Hello! Firstly, thanks for considering me for an interview. I am happy to share a bit of my journey with other interested parties. Well, my name is Equasha, but I go by E or Ebay. I am 25 years old and recently separated from the Air Force. I have two fur kids, Enzo & Enyx… they are my whole world.
In my free time, you can find me spending time with them at the dog park or taking my motorcycle out for a ride. Pre-Covid, I travelled, now I am trying to explore my own “backyard”. I am also a huge fan of anime and true crime. I am almost always listening to an audio book or podcast when I am not sleeping ☺.
How did you decide to get into technology?
The decision was actually made for me. When I joined the Air Force, they assigned me to the field of Cyber Transport, which is their version of network engineers. From there, my interest grew as I gained more experience. I am now beginning my journey to transition into Cyber security. The field is really exciting, and I am thrilled to see where this path will take me.
How would you describe your experience in the industry so far?
So far I would say my experience has been good. I have not experienced any direct discrimination. I would say I was treated fairly and respected in most settings. My peers have always been easy enough to work with. Aside from military politics, I cannot say I have had a rough time anywhere.
What does a typical day in your job look like?
Currently, my day consists of waiting on a fire. I support a unique mission that requires high availability and when that is interrupted, I get to do some troubleshooting. Aside from that, I prepare for upcoming maintenance events on our network infrastructure. For instance, I have been preparing about 20 switches to get replaced and preparing for OS upgrades on firewalls.
Has your expectation of what the tech world is like matched the reality? How?
I am not sure. I did not have any expectations of what the tech world would be like outside of the military. I just knew that I wanted to be in it. So, I cannot say its met my expectations, but it has definitely been eye-opening. The way things are operated in the civilian world is completely different from in the military and it has taken some adjusting. However, I am enjoying my new way of life.
How do you navigate working with men daily (if you do) and how do you make sure to get your voice heard?
I am a bit assertive. I ask a lot of questions and try to be a part of the important conversations. I am the only female in my department and the newbie.
Therefore, I am making sure that I am visible, and my peers acknowledge my existence & expertise.
If you could change one thing about your journey in tech so far, what would it be?
I would want more black, female mentors. I have not had any mentors, only peers that I admired. If I had guidance earlier on, I possibly could have skipped some obstacles. So, if I could have changed anything, it would be my access to knowledgeable people who looked like me and could relate to my experience.
What was the best professional advice you ever received?
"Apply anyway. ".
What advice do you have for younger ladies aiming to pursue a career in technology?
Find a mentor! Anybody that you see doing what you want to do – ask them for guidance.
Do not be afraid to ask questions!
Any other comments?
I just want to welcome the newcomers! No matter what you feel, you belong here. ☺Keep studying and practising those skills. Someone is always watching.
I would like to send a massive thanks to E for taking the time out to answer the questions above. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about your story. I think it is amazing that you spent some time in the military. On behalf of the whole world, thank you for your service. I love the professional advice of "Apply anyway". This is an important advise that I will urge everyone to take and listen to. We all need to get out of our heads and overcome the feeling of not being qualified enough. You never know where the next opportunity might be.
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