« Continued from Laurie Skelly

Kathleen Ting

Technical Account Manager, Cloudera

MS, Computer Engineering, Santa Clara University

BS, Computer Engineering, Santa Clara University

As a Technical Account Manager (TAM), Kathleen Ting helps Cloudera’s strategic customers deploy and use the Apache Hadoop platform in production. Acting as the customer’s technical advisor, she is a technical expert with a passion for customer management. A key aspect to success in this role is persistence: in managing expectations between the customer and Cloudera's product development teams, in forming a relationship of trust with the customer, in anticipating customer needs, and in acting with agility in unexpected situations.

Thinking back to how she wound up in technology, Ting recalls that in high school she attended a week-long engineering camp held at Santa Clara University (SCU). This experience, and the professors she met there, convinced her to major in computer engineering as well as attend SCU. Furthermore, it was at SCU that she met two of the mentors who have helped shape her career.

At SCU, Ting had the opportunity to select Marie Wieck, an industry stalwart at IBM, as a mentor through MentorNet. Encouraging her to continue on for an advanced degree, Wieck afterwards passed Ting’s resume into IBM, leading to an interview, and Ting’s life-long dream to work at IBM was fulfilled.

After Ting worked at IBM on the mainframe for a few years, it was her former SCU Dean of Engineering, Dan Pitt, who piqued her interest in big data. Although she lacked open source experience at the time, Ting persisted in trying to interview at Cloudera. Eventually it was her unconventional offer to work for free that landed her an interview at Cloudera, where she started in early 2011 as their first Hadoop support engineer.

At Cloudera, Ting sought out Apache Software Foundation (ASF) member Arvind Prabhakar, who became her mentor related to all things Apache. In fact, her first conversation with Prabhakar was around the need for an Apache Sqoop mainframe connector by which to easily move data from the mainframe to Hadoop. Ting credits this mentorship with leading her to become an Apache Sqoop Committer and Project Management Committee (PMC) member. Drawing from her work at Cloudera, Ting is a frequent speaker at data-related conferences as well as a published coauthor of the Apache Sqoop Cookbook (O’Reilly).

Appreciative of how mentorship has propelled her career, Ting tries to do her part in shrinking the tech gender gap by volunteering with the Society of Women Engineers as well as by speaking to young women at the She’s Geeky conference and to incoming SCU engineering freshmen.

In addition to using mentoring to shrink the tech gender gap, we need to foster creativity in schools, to build the mindset of learning from failures (rather than being discouraged or ashamed), and to set mandatory programming requirements to build familiarity with and exposure to technology at an early age.

Article image: From Left to right: Patsy Simmers, Mrs. Gail Taylor, Mrs. Milly Beck and Mrs. Norma Stec, holding the ENIAC and newer versions of computer boards. (source: U.S. Army Photo (Wikipedia)).