Meet Rachel Burke!
Rachel is a software developer for Experian Marketing Services. She works on the Agile team that helps develop Audience Engine, a web application that assists clients who are looking to find target audiences for marketing campaigns. Learn more about Rachel and her experience as a woman in technology. #ExperianCreators
What led you to a career in the tech space?
A bit of luck and following what I was passionate about- When I started my undergrad, I had no idea where I wanted to go in my future career except that I wanted it somewhere within the mathematics or graphic design space. My very first class in college was a computer science version of a math course that I took because it counted as a required course for my major and I needed a math class that fit in my schedule. I ended up falling in love with the math applications in the computer science field and eventually it led me to software development.
Tell us your story and career journey that led to your current role?
In college, I studied software engineering and mathematics as well as was a student-athlete on the swim team. My experiences in school led me to look for software developer positions on Agile teams and begin the first job in my career at Experian. Since I started two and a half years ago, I have been a software developer with the Audience Engine team and I enjoy every second of it! I love working with my team and growing an application that allows clients to find target audiences for their campaigns. There is always something to do, the work is fast paced, and I have learned a ton both in my field and about marketing!
Outside of Experian I am earning my MBA, with the goals of one day being a leader within software engineering and helping the worlds of technology and business come together and meet company goals. In my free time, I help coach a swim club and manage a swim lesson program in my community. After being a competitive swimmer for over 15 years, I love being able to give back to my community, share my passion for swimming, and help promote water safety in my area.
What has your experience been specifically as Women in Technology?
My experience as a women in tech has been truly eye-opening. I grew up mostly in rural southern Indiana, so much of my life I did not know about the world of tech and where it could take me. My very first major experience in STEM fields was when I was selected to attend a camp at the US Naval Academy. I learned a lot about opportunities that exist in tech fields and I left knowing that my career would lead me that direction. It was not until college I learned where exactly that path would take me, and with the help of family, friends, mentors, and colleagues I have been provided with encouragement and opportunities for growth very early in my career path. One of my first major projects at Experian was a redesign of Audience Engine and I was able to utilize many of my skills for software development and graphic design to help come up with a cleaner, modern and more user friendly interface and experience that users of our application enjoy today.
How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in tech?
Mentorship and community outreach are very important to encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM fields. After moving away from my hometown to go to college, I came back to my junior high and high school and shared my experiences in mathematics and software engineering with kids and former teachers. These were some of my most rewarding experiences and it inspired many to grow an interest in tech and join STEM-related clubs. Sharing knowledge and career advice to those in younger generations is impactful, so let your voice be heard!
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to make the most of every opportunity, especially when trying new things! I used to shy away from them out of fear of failing, but the more I have put myself out there the more resources and knowledge I have gained. Not only does this help you challenge your ideas and learn new things, but it allows you to network and build relationships with others.