As part of our series highlighting women in tech for International Women’s Day on March 8th we are we are featuring Gretchen Moran, Software Developer at Pentaho. Gretchen's title may be 'Software Developer,' however, over her nine years at Pentaho, she has worn many technical hats to help lead the company to where it is today!
Rosanne, Sarah, Michelle and Gretchen are just a few of the impressive women that work at Pentaho. Our goal with this series is to promote the theme of this year's International Women's Day...to inspire change. We encourage you to share their stories with girls and women to encourage them to become more interested in STEM or to hopefully bring more strong and smart women to the tech industry.
What do you do at Pentaho? How long have you been at Pentaho? I have been developing software in the warehousing and business analytics space for 15 years, 9 of them with Pentaho.
I have held many different roles through my many years at Pentaho. When I haven’t been coding, I have worked with our talented open source community, managed the technical side of larger Pentaho customer accounts as a Technical Account Manager, and consulted on numerous internal projects.
My current role is software developer for Pentaho Data Integration and Pentaho’s Big Data stack of technology.
What inspired you to want you to work in technology? I have always wanted to push boundaries. In college, I wanted to see how far I could take my interests in math and science. My college career began in the 90’s, and computing and technology provided a great landscape to test my skills.
As I have grown in my career, working in technology has given me the challenges and change I need to stay engaged in my work. It has also allowed the flexibility I desire to be a great mom.
How do you think the industry could inspire more girls and women towards careers in technology? I think we need to talk less about inspiring women toward technology, and talk more about how a career in technology can fuel any passion a person might have. Are you passionate about the medical field? Innovate some tech that will make medical records handling more efficient and private. Are you passionate about drama and acting? Pursue a career in graphics and animation; filmmaking today is as much technology as it is human resources. In my experience, the passion doesn’t lie in the code; it lies in the industries you are coding for.
What advice do you have for women wanting to become a software developer?
Engage! The mainstreaming of open source makes this easier than ever today. Find a tutorial, get some code under your belt, and then start contributing to a project that means something to you. The best part is that there is a project for everyone. From open source medical records systems that serve third world countries to smart phone apps that help you find great shoes. It’s all out there, anyone can contribute, and there are few barriers to entry.
The formal education for computer science does not need to be intimidating. As with any worthy endeavor, it requires focus and hard work, and is absolutely within reach if you are passionate about the subject. The key to finding passion in technology for me was realizing that no subject is outside the technology realm.
Confession - I am not a code junky. A new API or performance progress does not excite me. I get excited when a customer wins based on Pentaho solutions that revealed a market differentiator for them. I get excited when I see Pentaho Community Edition implementations powering countries and organizations that would otherwise be shut out of the business analytics value proposition.
I’ve had the privilege of giving this advice to many different demographic and age groups. I recently spoke to a computer club at a local middle school, and a week later gave the same talk to a house full of single moms in a transitional program. Technology from an open perspective is a meritocracy upon entry; it’s up to the entrant to determine how far they will take it. That advice applies equally to boys AND girlsJ
What is a favorite memory you have about Pentaho? My favorite memories will always be the first year(s) of Pentaho. There is a special energy that a company has as a startup. Late nights, bean bags for office chairs, and a few energetic developers working toward a common vision of disrupting the business intelligence industry is a wonderful thing I’ve been privileged to be a part of. I love that even as we have grown, we have kept this energy and passion for what we do as a company.
Fun Fact about you. I love Christian mission work! I have served in New Orleans and Guatemala and have contributed to missions in Central America and Africa for the last five years.
I also have three of the greatest kids EVER… if I do say soJ