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Photo Credit - NJIT

Anjana Dandapani

Systems Integration Specialist

Genentech

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Opportunities are in abundance and if you are looking at this if I can do it you can do it too!!

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I currently work as a System Specialist at Genentech. I was always a people person with great attention to detail, so I pursued a career in Data analytics and Business Analytics. I had great dreams of developing a product which helps everyone in some ways - so I started working with a start up called Wavicle Data Solutions where I learnt all the new technologies in data analytics and restaurant analytics industry for two years meanwhile delivering many insights and working on a AI product called Nutricalculator.

I have been nominated thrice consecutively for the Google Women in Technology conference.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I choose this field after realizing my business analytics skills in my first job at Aon consulting after my undergrad in computer science. I wanted to use my technical and people skills as my main strengths and learnt a lot about STEM field during my Masters at New Jersey Institute of technology. As also a student body leader and Vice president of Public Relations at NJIT , I was able to identify the benefits of being in the STEM field and was interested in helping out more women and people of color to reach this stage as I did.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

I came from a small town in Chennai, India with a dream of pursuing Masters in a unknown country and did face a lot of challenges and obstacles in my path to pursue this degree. But learning data analytics /data science paved a brand new career path for me in the IT industry. In order to be on top of everything I had to learn AWS,Tableau and Python in a short span of time to survive in the IT industry. But it was all possible because I enjoyed learning and all my professors and dean at my University and work helped me in pursuing certifications and more freedom to learn new technologies.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I was always afraid of not knowing enough tools to sustain in the job, I was always confused of my career path when I was younger. If I get a chance to go back to my younger self - I will definitely tell her whatever career path you choose you have the power of learning new things and can be extremely good at it at the same time. All you need is the entuasism to learn.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

Everyday in my job , I find a new insight in analytics which will help someone understand something new that makes me feel important and technology can do wonders. I would encourage any younger children to definitely pursue a career in science and mathematics as it will change your life forever in a good way.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

From being a shy girl in town to becoming a Scrum Master who is handling a team of 12 members I have come a long way and I am only 28. If not for STEM degree I wouldn't have come 1000's of miles away from home to pursue my dream career. Opportunities are in abundance and if you are looking at this if I can do it you can do it too!! It is never too late to learn anything and STEM degree will open more doors for you anywhere in the world.

INSPIRATION

My role model is Kamala Harris. She believed she could and she did it. If you focus and put your mind into anything the universe will pave way for you to achieve it. She is the first one to be a Vice President of color, woman and she will definitely will not be the last.