"You are just a few vocabulary words away from being great at it."
Hero Digital is excited to feature Polly Ann Najarian for our Women in Tech series. Polly encourages women to remember that when you are good at something, you are just a few vocabulary words away from being great at it. Read her story below.
I always knew I wanted to be in a science career but ended up getting a degree in Math and teaching high school math for nearly 20 years. QA Analyst is a surprisingly similar career – checking people’s work, based on standards/requirements, need to be able to communicate steps and subtle differences, and ultimately graduate/deploy a quality kid/product. Frankly I’ll test anything – I test a lot of knitting patterns for fun.
After graduate school it is hard to tell if I went back to teaching because I missed it, or because I felt comfortable teaching and changing professions, even after a graduate degree, was still too intimidating. Probably a mix of both. Then during the recession I had trouble finding a teaching position in the Seattle area as we had just moved so I decided to change professions. This time choosing QA was an easier transition.
My hidden talents include knitting and speaking Russian. I used to teach English as a foreign language as well. When I’m not working, I love tutoring and teaching math – any level, in person, over zoom, even in a text, friends’ kids, random Instagramers I follow, old high school friends, people in my neighborhood – anyone that needs some confidence in their math ability!
I heard a lot of negativity about women in technology growing up in the 80’s. “Girls just don’t like being engineers” was a common theme even from the people encouraging me to go into math and science. They don’t realize they are equally discouraging at the same time they are trying to offer guidance – so after a while it was easy to convince myself that I would not really enjoy it – even when I was good at programming, for instance.
I can’t say I regret any of my professional choices because I know I made a real impact teaching, but I probably should have gone into programming. Funny enough, I was still using a manual typewriter in those days and was still laughing at people going to the computer lab.
My advice is to remember that when you are good at something, you are just a few vocabulary words away from being great at it. Seek out someone that can help you improve your voice so you can realize you belong in that space.
Thanks for your interest in Hero Digital’s Women in Tech. At Hero, we strive to showcase outstanding female talent at our company, and in doing so, empower others—both within and outside of Hero—to join the growing number of women in technical roles across industries. Connect with us on our careers page to learn more about open positions at Hero Digital.