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Kristi Doughty speaking

What led you to go into the tech industry? 

I started university studying psychology because it was my passion. In my second year, like everyone does, I took what I thought would be a really easy course: Computer Science 101. Many people might not think computer science would be an easy study, but for some reason, I thought it would be a breeze. Turns out, for me it was. Not only that, I really enjoyed the course and decided to pursue a joint major. Psychology and Computer Science might sound like a weird combination, but wasn’t odd to me. 


What was the biggest challenge you faced trying to get your first tech job? 

For me, the real difficulty was getting selected for interviews as a new graduate with no work experience. I’m happy to say that once I got an interview, it was a pretty straightforward and pleasant process. Of course, I didn’t get offered a job from every interview I undertook, but it was because my technical skills and their requirements didn’t match. Once there was a good fit, I got the job and worked for that company for over 11 years. 


What was a pivotal moment in your career that stands out to you as a turning point for your professional growth? 

The most significant shift in my career was when I asked someone to help me with my CV because I didn’t feel my skills were being recognized, and I wanted to find a new, more challenging job. The problem was, I discovered, I wasn’t clearly articulating my skills in a way that made it clear and transparent. When I worked through my CV, the person helping me really dug into the details of what I had accomplished and pulled out key strengths to be highlighted on my CV.

Once my CV truly reflected my accomplishments and the skills I had developed, I showed it to my boss and something incredible happened: I was immediately promoted and given a generous pay increase that was back dated three months. On top of that, I was given a retention bonus because the company valued me. From there, I’ve never looked back. 


Have you encountered any significant challenges or setbacks in your career, and how did you overcome them to continue growing professionally? 

Everyone encounters career setbacks. It’s normal, especially in tech where we’re always trying to improve processes and build new solutions that have never existed before. When you make a mistake, and all of us do, the most important thing is to own up to it and work hard to put things back on track. 


Reflecting on your career journey, what specific project or accomplishment do you believe had the most significant impact on your development as a professional? 

An accomplishment that pushed my development was finding my voice at my first job, when I was an early adopter of agile and brought theorhetical and practical agile testing practices to my team. From there, I’ve continued to bring these techniques to my partners of the development team. I have been entrusted with building teams, as well as upgrading test environments and processes to better software development in most companies where I have worked. 


Have you received any awards or recognitions throughout your career that you're particularly proud of? How do you feel these accolades have influenced your professional journey? 

I’ve been awarded a number of technical awards by  previous employers. Most recently, I won the Plootonian High Achiever Award shortly after my first year with the company. Plooto is a place that welcomes new ideas and embraces open conversation, which really helps with creativity. Finding better ways to do things always requires a back and forth, and we’re able to do that at Plooto. 


In what ways have you personally grown as a result of your professional experiences, and how has this growth impacted your approach to work and leadership? 

Throughout my career, I’ve learned a great deal from my managers: Taking time to reflect, having patience, and making sure I support the people reporting to me to help them build their careers. It was really touching when a peer of mine asked me to be her mentor. I really valued the experience, and we both got a lot out of it. 


What advice or words of encouragement would you offer to other women navigating a career in tech or engineering, particularly in terms of pursuing their passions and overcoming obstacles? 

Don’t limit your dreams. Don’t talk yourself out of what you want. Do understand who you are: What your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you actually want for your career. 


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