Meet our Manila chapter lead

These are some of our most dedicated volunteers, ladies who overcame their own mountains and pay it forward by building up our #DataTribe. Say hello to Kathleen Criselle Reverente, a data scientist a Novare Technologies who heads She Loves Data’s Manila chapter.

Could you share a bit about your career journey? How did you shift from Broadcast Communications to Software Development to your current role as a Data Scientist?

After I left my media job, I began searching for a career that I wanted to pursue. I remember asking, what will align with my interest in sharing stories and insights and move people? At that time, I didn’t know the answer. I went about with the openness to learn new things and trust the process of finding my career path. I landed different roles, including as a production assistant, a training assistant, and a sales associate in different industries.

It was 2018 when I interviewed for and won a scholarship to a web development bootcamp. The scholarship sponsors had the mission of encouraging women to pursue a career in tech. At that time, I was healing from my first miscarriage and felt lost with regards to my career. But I remember my mantra at that time was to say yes to opportunities. After completing the bootcamp, I was still not yet confident in shifting career to tech. Self-doubt crept in. I got overwhelmed with the jobs available as most were looking for bachelor’s graduates in Information Technology or Computer Science. Luckily, another scholarship opportunity for a web development course came along. After that course, I got an internship as a front-end developer. A few weeks after, I found out that I was pregnant and needed to be on bed rest. That pregnancy led to another miscarriage.

During this time, December 2018, I hit rock bottom. I didn’t know what to do next. I was sure that I had wanted a job in the tech industry and I would have taken on any job. I’m grateful that at the start of 2019, the company where I had my internship, offered me a Junior Manual Quality Assurance role. I enjoyed it because I had learned so many things. I discovered I loved analyzing systems and workflows, my discussions with developers and the product team, and also anticipating possible problems with our systems. In short, I loved everything!

Around that time, I saw a Facebook post on a data science scholarship for women and applied for it. In March 2019, I heard back and was invited to do the next steps in the application. I later got the scholarship, which offered an immersive data science learning experience.

In August 2019, I needed to make a big decision on which career path to pursue: Software testing or data science? I decided to go out of my comfort zone to finally pursue a career in data science. I received feedback that I was still far from landing a data-science related job, as I needed to learn more. So I kept on learning. I got lots of rejections in job applications. I remember there was a time, I cried during an online take-home exam with my dream data science company.  I had the idea on how to do the exam, but it seems that my skills weren’t enough to execute it.

Again, doubts crept in on whether data science was for me, and I set a deadline of January 2020 to land a data science job. Last February, I started at my current company and I’m so grateful that they saw the potential in me. Every day, I’m happy to learn more about data science and its opportunities. Due to my current role, I get to know more about my learning style and my love for learning. Indeed, learning never stops and I’m loving it!

What inspires you to be part of the She Loves Data community and give back? 

I found out about She Loves Data (SLD) in an Instagram ad way back in 2018. At that time, I was following different women tech groups that have local chapters in Manila. When I heard that SLD was going to have their first event in Manila in September 2019, I made sure to be there! I was like a fan girl at that time! It was so exciting to experience an event that I saw about in Instagram posts and stories. That was also when I met the co-founder Jana Marle-Zizkova.

She Loves Data played a part in helping me get to where I am now. Because of the SLD event last September, it widened my perspective that I would find my place in this field and that I need to keep on learning and going. There’s a community that will always there to support someone like me.

I spent my volunteer time by connecting to other communities here in the Philippines for future collaboration. I also share the current online SLD events. What inspires me to part of She Loves Data is that it is one of the communities that I’ve known that really encourages women to pursue a career in tech. As a career-switcher, I find it important to have a community like my support group, especially when self-doubt creeps in.

Is there anything else you would like to share? Do you have any advice for community members facing self-doubt in their career choices?

With the roller coaster journey that I have been through, I find that my experience with self-doubt keeps me grounded on how badly I wanted to pursue a data science career. What works for me is to find time to confront that feeling. I write thoughts that I’m having at that time and identify what triggers that feeling. After that, I read and process whether there is something I can do about it. If possible, I list down the steps.

Whenever I’m tackling self-doubt, I always end up being reminded of my why in pursuing this career and to trust the process! It’s best if you have someone or a community who have similar goals and you can share your progress with them.

 

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Editor: Alexandra Khoo