Princess Palacios Reyes
Georgia, United States
Tell us about yourself.
I am a proud black woman. I grew up having strong black females as role models, that is what really shaped me into who I am today. I have loved science and technology since I was young. When I was a little girl, I dreamt of being an astronaut. Now as an adult, all the work I do I equate with something grand like getting ready for a launch. You can say I have big dreams. I love tech, if for the opportunities it presents to people like myself alone. I think it takes hard work, but to make a career in tech there are opportunities that did not exist before because of the strong leaders and trailblazers within the field today. I want to be one of those trailblazers as well.
How did you decide to get into technology?
It started as a hobby and grew into a passion. I was self-taught at first until I realised, “I really want to do this!” After that I enrolled in a coding history and the rest was history.
How would you describe your experience in the industry so far?
I have not faced some of the challenges a lot of women in the field face. Of course, you have to be professional to be taken seriously, but within my roles there have been very supportive men and women in the field that want to see my success come to fruition.
What does a typical day in your job look like?
Start of the day is all meetings. We have to catch up on the day before and the progress that has been made. The rest of the day typically involves coding or researching an issue, or even investigating how written code functions. Sometimes there are deadlines to meet and after that, everything picks up pace.
Has your expectation of what the tech world is like matched the reality? How?
It is actually quite different than I expected. I always imagined this senior-junior dynamic and for the most part I have had people on my team that are more senior. Most of my teammates treat me as an equal, and help me when needed. I definitely have a lot of autonomy.
How do you navigate working with men daily (if you do) and how do you make sure to get your voice heard?
At first it was a bit scary.
On my first ever project I ended up being the only girl on my team, but honestly, that was the best experience ever. Men are just as nervous working with women. I would say there are advantages to being the only woman on a team sometimes, men will definitely assist you with your issues first.
At the same time, it is hard to keep up with the pace that men set. I worked with men that flew in from all over the country/world and it was tough to keep up with the long hours. I ended up finding a happy medium that worked for me.
If you could change one thing about your journey in tech so far, what would it be?
I would not change anything. I had a non-traditional start, but I love the diversity I bring to the table.
What was the best professional advice you ever received?
Work hard, and if you think you are working hard, work harder.
I think there is a lot of truth to that. In this field it is so heavily dominated by men, you have no choice but to keep up. I am married with my own domestic duties and I have to perform at the same level. These men wake up and work until they go to bed, it is very different for them. There are no sick days, sad days, etc.
What advice do you have for younger ladies aiming to pursue a career in technology?
If you want a career in tech, know that it can be tough and demanding.
People are going to hold you to a high standard, but you worked hard to get there, and you should always remember that.
Any other comments?
Always treat yourself kindly and practice a work-life balance. If you feel yourself burning out, never be afraid to take a day to rest.
I would like to send a massive thanks to Princess for taking the time out to answer the questions above. Thank you for sharing your journey in tech so far and for the great advice you have given. It is indeed important to remember that we worked hard to get to where we are and even though we are constantly learning and growing, there is always room to work harder.
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