Kat's Life at Dell
Kat H. | Director of Software Engineering – Network Escalation Engineering | United Kingdom
Q: Please share a little bit about your role at Dell and what that entails.
A: I am currently the Director of Networking Escalation Engineering team in the Customer Experience Engineering organization. I have a team of highly skilled Software Engineers that work to resolve Engineering level PowerSwitch issues reported by our customers.
Q: I see you have had a great career progression at Dell – Is there something that you’ve learned along the way that has helped progress you through your career?
A: The one thing that I have learned is to choose your leaders wisely, rather than just jump at any role. I adopted this stance several years back and it’s really accelerated by career and my professional development. My leaders have helped me identify my strengths and how to use them more effectively. They’ve also allowed me the opportunity to fail safely. Failure is essential to professional growth because you get to learn new skills and about yourself. Your leader should create a safe space to allow you to fail, recover, and succeed.
Q: How do you find life at Dell? Are you a member of any ERGs or programs?
A: I have had a chance to participate in so much more than just my core role at Dell. It’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to accelerate the growth of a youth-based program that encourages exploration of STEM careers across the world, build a more inclusive and understanding workplace by participation in Women in Action and Black Networking Alliance, and even partner with others doing the same work across the technology industry. More importantly, Dell has really made sure to support me on my personal journey, allowing me to move closer to my family and be there for them, with no concern of impacting my professional growth.
Q: As you’ve moved within Dell both geographically and in your career, can you share your thoughts on the career opportunities within Dell?
A: Dell offers a diversity of careers and options. I once explained to a friend – “once you’re in, you’re IN”. What I meant was that you might get hired into Marketing, for example, because that’s your background and what you want to do. But then you find you have a passion for Cyber Security. Well, no worries – you can transfer there, and Dell will help you make that transition. Dell tends to return the amount of effort you put in, which is why I think so many of us have been here for so long.
Q: What is your favorite part about working for Dell?
A: My team. I am incredibly lucky to be part of one of the best teams in Dell, if I may brag a bit. Although we are geographically dispersed, everyone is supportive of one another. This includes leaders through individual contributors. I have been part of other teams in Dell, but this one is really the place that feels like my professional home.
Q: As a woman in STEM, is there a piece of advice you can share for other females looking at careers in STEM?
A: Explore! I think that the outside view of the STEM careers is very limited. It’s almost a bit bucketed and the diversity of options within all the fields isn’t very well highlighted. I used to explain to the students that I get paid to talk. Sure, I work in Engineering. Sure, everyone is very technical. Yes, I’m surrounded by people who code or create sparks that move along metal to generate artificial thought. But my skill is not doing all those things. My skill is helping others understand those things. So, my STEM career is communication. That’s why it’s so important to explore to see what is really out there. STEM is a place for everyone.
Q: What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started at Dell?
A: That regardless of your role, you have the power to change the world. Maybe not the entire world, though that would be my personal moonshot goal. But you can change the life of others in such a positive way in Dell and the role that you have makes no difference to that ability.
Q: How do you find the level of diversity and inclusion at Dell?
A: I’ve been with Dell for ten years and I am happy to say that the feeling of inclusion increases year over year. We’ve an amazing culture that really embraces differences and encourages us with opportunities to learn about one another, celebrate differences, connect with similarities. But we still have some work to do. And we acknowledge that, which is why we make our moonshot goals and our progress towards them publicly for all to see.
Learn more about a career with Dell here.
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