October 6, 2022

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Curiosity, bravery and being willing to fail key for women in tech and beyond

2 min read



Following a traditional career path based on an educational degree is the expected standard in society. But looking beyond this path leads to a wider variety of career options.

The key is knowing how specialty skills translate to other roles, according to Erin Chu (pictured), life sciences lead of the Open Data Program at Amazon Web Services Inc.

“I’ve never been afraid to fail,” Chu said. “Never let your degrees or training say that this is what you have to do. Think of it as a starting point. ”

Chu spoke with Lisa Martin, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during today’s Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event. They discussed daring to fail, the power of data, and how academic degrees alone do not define career options.

Alternate career pathways achievable through generalizing specialty skills

Starting her career pathway in veterinary science, Chu worked in mobile vet clinics while finishing her Ph.D. in molecular genomics. This led to landing the role of senior veterinary geneticist at a startup, then leaping into the tech world with AWS.

Armed with her mother’s example (she was the first female Asian engineer to reach executive level at IBM), Chu’s approach to career transformation starts with asking, “What can’t I do?”

When changing careers, “First, look at your resume and define your translational skills. It doesn’t matter what you think you’re a specialist in. It’s how generalized those specialty skills are, ”Chu said.

In her own career jump, Chu is now the life sciences lead for the AWS ‘Open Data Sponsorship Program, facilitating the mission to democratize access to high-quality, high-impact data, allowing for innovations and discoveries – and expedited science.

“AWS sponsors where we will actually cover at the cost of storage transfer and egress of high impact data sets in the cloud,” Chu said. “Data is power, and it doesn’t matter what you are selling or who you are serving. If you have the data about your product and your consumers, you can tailor an experience. ”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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