The push you need to take the next step in your career

CSC recognizes outstanding leaders and employees in our IT community through a program we call Distinguished Engineers and Distinguished Architects. (And for those in the CSC community, the application process is going on now through Nov 14, 2016.)

Here, we speak with Distinguished Engineer Dr. Abbi Doolittle about what encouraged her to take this next step in her career – and how her experience may inspire others.

Abbi, not many women have applied for either Distinguished Engineer or Distinguished Architect. What made YOU apply?

Having a brother as a practicing engineer, I didn’t put myself in the “engineer” category – let alone distinguished! I’m a data scientist and trained as an applied social scientist rather than an engineer. Of course there are similarities with mathematics and technical skillsets, but I still thought that aligning myself with my definition of an engineer was a bit of a stretch.

Also, when I looked around CSC at the majority of computer science experts, I didn’t really look like that either. And I certainly couldn’t go toe-to-toe with the current DEs in that arena.

I didn’t want to apply because I thought I wouldn’t even get into the “maybe” stack. And I felt very uncomfortable nominating myself for an award and self-promoting as “distinguished” when I work with so many great minds.

So, what made you take a chance?

Things can change. It took a call from someone to push me to apply. I remained hesitant but out of respect for him, I did apply thinking both “I have no chance”’ and “Hey, you never know until you try!” And here I am starting my second year as a Distinguished Engineer.

What advice would you give others considering this program or a similarly intimidating step in their career?  

For those folks that, like me, may be hesitating and need that extra push, here are a few thoughts:

  1. If it’s difficult for you to promote yourself, especially those of us who are technical introverts, approach the application as you would applying for a job you really, really want. Consider this your time to brag, to celebrate your hard work and your successes. And don’t shy away from self-promotion.
  2. Find a mentor who challenges you, who knows your strengths and accomplishments and who pushes you. Our Distinguished Engineers and Architects have several mentees at any given time, and they are open to provide feedback and help guide you through the application process.
  3. Don’t be scared to fail! Even if you don’t get selected for the opportunity, you have benefited from the process and experience of applying. And who knows what other opportunities may become available as a result.

So, go ahead, check out the criteria for that perfect job, the promotion you want or a recognition program such as our Distinguished Engineers and Distinguished Architects.

Think about your expertise, experience and accomplishments. Then get started!

As I told myself, “Hey, you never know until you try!”


Dr. Abigail Doolittle — Distinguished Engineer

Dr. Abigail Doolittle is a distinguished technologist in CSC’s Insurance OmniChannel practice.  Abbi is a results-oriented data scientist with almost twenty years as an analytics subject matter expert.  She is experienced in the design and execution of data-driven strategy using machine learning to drive business results.

See Abbi’s full bio.

 

RELATED LINKS

The chance of a lifetime

How to become a Distinguished Technologist: Advice from a career in progress

Mapping and adapting an ever-changing career

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