Carolyn Lesser

Director of Engineering

Microsoft

Find me online:

“I lead a multi-discipline engineering team that creates inclusive online learning experiences”

MY ROUTE:

The Straight Road

MY WORK LIFE:

Director of Engineering

foundation interest 1 interest 2

My work allows me to combine the foundation of LEARNING AND BEING CHALLENGED and the interests of ENGINEERING and EDUCATION.


DAY IN AND DAY OUT

A great day starts and ends with learning, all centered around our customers. It includes a check-in on our real-time vision, business, operational, and behavioral dashboards and some time spent using our own products and services. I touch base with my engineering leads and conduct a quick huddle for addressing possible problems and concerns. I connect with our organization's functional leaders and business stakeholders and work through a prioritized list of items that need my attention.

SKILLS, TRAINING, OR EXPERIENCE NEEDED

Two primary skills: Growth Mindset and Collaboration. You will not know everything nor will everything that you do end in success. However, you can always approach it with a mentality to keep learning, reflect upon what's happened and make changes. Have an openness to try and experiment and continue to improve. And of course collaboration. Much of what I'm able to do requires the collective efforts of a diverse team and many interconnected systems. We have to communicate well and be dependable.

EDUCATION TO GET HERE:

Director of Engineering

I RECOMMEND COMPLETING:

  • High School
  • Undergraduate - Computer Science

What I studied STRONGLY RELATES to my work...

MY EDUCATION

  • High School - Midlothian High School
  • Undergraduate - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Computer Science

SOME HELPFUL FIRST STEPS FOR SOMEONE IN COLLEGE

Find internships!  Technology (and Computer Science) is such an expansive field. There are a multitude of disciplines and domains. Use internships to explore your areas of interest and find the types of roles and fields you're interested in. You'll often find that what you experience in your internship will be new learning opportunities. I learned object oriented programming in my 1st internship before covering it in school and was exposed to different software development practices.

HURDLES I OVERCAME

THE “NOISE” FROM MY PEERS

“You won't be able to install this. You won't figure it out.”

HOW I OVERCAME THE “NOISE”

Not all assumptions are true. You'll never know unless you try and in many cases there's a wealth of resources from your own intuition and ability, to online communities, to your friends that will enable you to succeed. Don't allow others to paint you into a corner or dictate your capability.

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