A New Way to Return to Work: Spotlight on Returnee Tricia Slovacek

Name: Tricia SlovacekTriciaSlovacek-03

Return Path position: Software Engineer in the Data Pipeline group

Career past life (What did you do?): I have experience as a weather modeling and verification software engineer, magnetic recording I/O firmware engineer, and I/O control systems software engineer.

How long were you out of the workforce? 11 years

Return Path role (What do you do each day?) I work on the Data Pipeline team, a group responsible for ingesting, aggregating, parsing, and storing data received by Return Path’s many data partners. I work in all aspects of this process, learning about new technologies including AWS, Kafka, ZooKeeper, Elastic Search, and Storm. Each day, our team has a stand up meeting to report on the progress and problems encountered as we work on our assigned “cards.” These cards describe work documented and tracked using Jira project management software (Agile development). I am also learning new tools for editing, compiling, configuring, and deploying data pipeline’s distributed systems.

Crossover (What skills from your past life do you use in your new position?): Software engineers today build designs and code these designs for computers. These designs are concerned with time, space, maintainability, and error cases. These core concepts that have not changed in the years I have worked in software development.

What does the Return to Work program mean to you? The Return to Work program offers me an opportunity to see cutting-edge applications in a real world setting as opposed to an academic one. As a result, I have a deeper understanding of these applications. In addition, I am building my professional network as well as gaining insight and direction to further my career.

What do you hope to get out of it? I plan to walk away with new technological skills, professional relationships, confidence, and a better understanding of business today.

What advice would you give to future Returnees? Yes, you can! It’s amazing what you haven’t forgotten! It’s amazing what you can learn! It’s amazing what you can do! And, it may have been a bit ridiculous to ask you what you wanted to be for the rest of your life at 18.

Where did you hear about this program? I heard about the program from NCWIT. After that, it kept popping up through Meetups, people I met, and job boards.

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