3 Questions with a Tech Lady: Cynthia Bell, Sales Operations Manager at Industry Dive

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Hi Cynthia! What are you working on these days?

A little bit of everything! For my day job, I’m constantly looking to improve my Salesforce skills. I’m currently learning Apex (which is an object-oriented programming language, a bit like Java) so that I can automate processes for my team. I’m also hoping to take and pass the Salesforce Admin exam in the spring.

Outside of work I’m teaching myself (slowwwly) a bit of HTML and CSS so that I can host my own website on Github Pages. That has been a ton of fun. I also just received a sponsorship to participate in Microsoft’s Codess and Microsoft Professional Program, which is a 6 month online course that teaches you the basics of data science.

Can you tell us about the Microsoft Codess sponsorship and how you found it on Tech Ladies?

Codess is Microsoft’s initiative to create a community for female coders and help promote diversity in the field of computer engineering. This specific sponsorship is focused on data science — a cohort of us will be going through the 6 month online program where we’ll learn the the basics of data science. We’ll also be paired with a mentor from Microsoft who will assist us with questions related to careers in data science.

I found the application for the sponsorship through the Tech Ladies Facebook group. I think I was just scrolling and reading posts while taking a break at work and I saw it posted as an #OFFER to apply. I’ve been thinking about taking a class to improve my data skills and this seemed to just fall in my lap! I took it as a sign and applied that evening. This is the great thing about being connected to a community of over 8,000+ awesome women — resources and opportunities are constantly presenting themselves.

What’s some career advice you would give to your younger self?

My first piece of advice would be “Take a deep breath, it’ll all work out.” I have gotten way too worked up over things that ultimately worked out. Worrying and stressing does nothing.

My second piece of advice is just because you’re not seeing progress/results right away doesn’t mean you’re not on the right track. The journey of getting from where you are to where you want to be is usually a long and winding one (reminds me of this image), and as long as you feel you’re moving slightly in the right direction then it’s usually fine. I was a fundraiser at a non-profit for 3 years prior to my journey into tech. It’s been 17 months and I’m now finally feeling like I have some clarity. Seventeen months is such a short period of time but when you’re caught up in the moment it’s easy to beat yourself up and feel like you’re doing nothing. When that happens, I recommend taking a deep breath. It’ll all work out.