Let’s welcome the first mentor in the spotlight Andrea Coifman – a mentor in the Data Analytics track. She has a diverse background in tech with a focus on data-driven products. Originally from Venezuela and partially raised in Spain, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sound and Image Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computer Vision from Denmark. With extensive experience as a data scientist, software engineer, machine learning engineer, and data engineer, she has worked on statistical models, machine learning algorithms, and scalable data processing systems. Andrea is driven by her passion for data-driven innovation and aims to contribute to the advancement of technology. Let’s meet Andrea and learn more about her!
What are some key skills or experiences that you believe are crucial for a successful career in the tech industry?
It’s problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, adaptability, and continuous learning. Tech professionals often encounter challenges that demand innovative thinking and the ability to break down complex problems into manageable components. Furthermore, clear expression of ideas to team members is crucial for effective collaboration and achieving success as well as maintain an open mindset, embracing new technologies and continuously learning to stay abreast of industry trends.
Have you encountered any significant challenges or obstacles in your career, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced in data science, and one that I continue to face today, is the constant evolution of technology and techniques in the field. Everything moves at such a rapid pace, with new algorithms, frameworks, and tools popping up all the time. It’s a never-ending cycle of staying up to date with the latest trends and figuring out how to incorporate them into my work. To tackle this challenge, I’ve made it a priority to stay on top of my game by actively engaging in professional development. This means attending conferences, seeking out research papers, and always being on the lookout for new ways to learn and grow.
What inspired you to become a mentor with Women Go Tech?
It was a natural choice for me as I have always been an active member of diverse communities in the countries I have lived in. When I moved to Lithuania, I wanted to continue this journey by contributing to a platform where I could make the biggest impact. Women Go Tech stood out to me as the perfect opportunity to support and empower women in the tech industry. One of my main inspirations for becoming a mentor was the desire to help aspiring women in tech be successful by providing them with a realistic view of the industry. It is important to show them the challenges and opportunities that exist, helping them navigate through the complexities and build confidence in their abilities. By sharing my own experiences and insights, I aim to guide them in their career journeys and equip them with the necessary tools to thrive in the tech field. I strongly believe that by fostering a supportive environment and promoting diversity, we can create a more inclusive tech industry where every woman has the opportunity to succeed.
What values or principles guide your mentoring philosophy?
The values are centered around cultivating individuality, fostering a growth mindset, and building a supportive network. I believe in recognizing and embracing the unique strengths, talents, and aspirations of each mentee. By encouraging to explore passions and think creatively, I help them discover their own identity in their chosen field. I also emphasize the importance of a growth mindset, encouraging mentees to view challenges as opportunities for growth and resilience. I guide them to embrace continuous learning, curiosity and the willingness to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. Additionally, I place great value on building a supportive network by facilitating connections between mentees and industry professionals, encouraging collaboration, networking, and the exchange of ideas. By fostering a supportive environment and providing access to valuable resources, I strive to empower mentees to thrive and reach their full potential.
Have you ever experienced self-doubt or imposter syndrome as a mentor? How did you overcome it?
Yes, I have experienced that especially when working with mentees who have varying levels of experience in their desired field. There were times when I questioned whether I had valuable insights to offer to those who were already suitable for a tech position, mistakenly thinking they didn’t need guidance. However, I learned to overcome these feelings by recognizing that mentoring is not just about technical skills but also about providing valuable experience and perspective. I realized that even women who seem well-equipped can benefit from guidance in areas such as career development, professional growth, and navigating challenges.
What is your one piece of advice for other mentors?
One piece of advice I would give to other mentors is to embrace the power of storytelling. Sharing personal stories and experiences can have a profound impact on mentees by creating a connection and offering valuable insights beyond technical knowledge. Stories have the ability to inspire, motivate, and provide relatable examples of overcoming challenges. Storytelling is not just about imparting information but about creating a memorable and transformative experience that resonates with mentees long after the mentoring relationship has ended.
What is your one piece of advice for the mentees?
Embrace the power of curiosity. Never stop asking questions, exploring new ideas, and seeking knowledge beyond the surface. Curiosity is the fuel that propels personal and professional growth. It opens doors to new possibilities, expands horizons, and drives innovation. So, stay curious, be inquisitive, and never shy away from pursuing your thirst for knowledge. Embracing curiosity will not only enrich your own journey but also empower you to make a meaningful impact in your chosen field.
Can you share a recent book, podcast, or resource that has had a positive impact on your professional growth?
A recent resource is the “CodeNewbie Podcast” hosted by Saron Yitbarek. I have always been captivated by stories of individuals, whether they are well-known figures in the tech industry or unsung heroes who have achieved remarkable things. It offers a platform for both renowned and lesser-known individuals to share their experiences and journeys in the tech field. It has been an endless source of inspiration, providing me with diverse perspectives, valuable insights, and practical advice.
Another podcast that has greatly influenced my professional growth is the “Women in Data Science” podcast, which dives into the specific challenges and achievements of women in the data field.