It’s a common misconception that the tech industry is filled with people who live and breathe code. But many people discover a passion for the industry after kicking off their careers in another field.
That’s the route Holly Meyer took.
“I wasn’t thinking about going into technology after college,” Meyer said. “My degree is in communications and electronic media, and right after graduation I took a retail operations job where I was responsible for buying, product placement and distribution.”
As technology eventually found its way into the retail industry during the early 1990s, Meyer saw her role evolve into that of a systems administrator. Today, she is a product manager and the business analysis team lead at Aquilon Energy Services, whose platform is used to settle wholesale energy transactions between power producers.
We recently sat down with Meyer to learn more about how she kicked off her career in tech, what brought her to Aquilon and the advice she has for women who want to get into the industry.
You spent almost a decade at a professional services firm prior to joining Aquilon. That’s a big career move. What about the company stood out to you?
I saw a unique opportunity for professional development. I loved the concept of Aquilon’s Energy Settlement Network and was impressed by the company’s vision. I also found the idea of working on a cloud-based SaaS solution very appealing. Also, after spending my career in larger companies, I was excited about the prospect of joining a young company.
Can you describe your role and what your team is working on?
My role and the role of the product team at Aquilon is to implement new product features that will push our strategy forward. The team is also responsible for defining the requirements for each feature, including the desired user experience. Right now, we’re focused on making larger enhancements to our application as we begin to serve additional commodities in the energy industry. I’m also working closely with my team of business analysts to document our internal processes.
I would tell young women not to discount a career in IT simply because they’re not interested in being software engineers.”
How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style is collaborative. Everyone at Aquilon works to execute rapidly and with quality. My team does this well, in part because they’re really talented, but also because we work so closely together. We have a shared passion for understanding how things are done and how they can be done better to deliver more value to our customers.
What kickstarted your move into the tech industry?
I wasn’t thinking about going into technology after college. My degree is in communications and electronic media, and right after graduation I took a retail operations job where I was responsible for buying, product placement and distribution. In time, the organization implemented a logistics system that I was trained to use, and I grew into the role of systems administrator.
As an industry veteran, what advice would you give to women who want to work in tech?
I would tell young women not to discount a career in IT simply because they’re not interested in being software engineers. There are so many opportunities that don’t involve writing code: business analysis, project management, technical writing, software quality testing, etc. Find what you’re passionate about, learn all you can and go for it.
I would also suggest that everyone find a mentor. And do some homework on professional organizations. My membership in the International Institute of Business Analysis has been very worthwhile for both professional development and networking with peers.