This article appears as part of the Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, underwritten by the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. It was first published on project partner Campus Philly's website and is republished here with permission.
Candice Holt is a product analyst at Comcast. She’d attended high school in the Philly suburbs, “but plenty of my extracurricular activities like [YMCA’s] Y-Achievers Program and hackathons [like] PilotPhilly kept me in the city on the weekends,” she said. Holt then graduated from Spelman College in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
As an intern at Comcast, she worked in Philadelphia, Sunnyvale and Seattle. Post-graduation, she has worked in New York, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and volunteers with Black Girls CODE. She loves all things cartoons and TV animation, and her favorite thing to do in Philly is chase vegan food trucks.
Below, check out Campus Philly’s interview with Holt in which she dishes on how she got into tech, the programs that helped her advance in the field, and her advice for other young pros looking for community.
When did it click that a career in the tech space was for you, and what were your next steps after this a-ha moment?
My initial interest in technology was sparked in eighth grade. By chance, a school counselor asked me if I wanted to go to the University of Michigan for a week and participate in the LEAD program. The program was hosted by Google and there, I used Google App Inventor to create my first mobile app. I really loved the process of using code to create something that everyone can see and use. My next steps were to take an AP computer science course the next year in high school and the rest was history.
You participated in Comcast’s CORE Technology program. What were some of your biggest takeaways from this experience?
Comcast’s CORE Technology program is a rotational program that prepares you for a competitive career in technology. You get to work in three different cities in three different roles. Through the process I got to find my niche in tech, strengthen my leadership skills, and use my creativity to design solutions.
You’ve interned at Comcast locations across the country, but you’re now full-time at the Comcast HQ, right in the heart of Center City. What’s the company culture like being in one of Philly’s newest technology centers?
There is innovation all around me. The entrepreneurial spirit is infectious. The best part about working in Comcast’s headquarters is that I get to rub elbows with senior leadership in the hallways.
What is a typical day like for you as a product analyst?
Forty percent of my day is spent in meetings, talking to stakeholders and collaborating with colleagues. Thirty percent is heads down work, and 20% I am giving presentations. I spend 10% of my day learning a new skill or having a coffee chat with someone new.
How do you manage your time, projects and work-life balance in your current work environment?
I currently get the best of both worlds by working hybrid. I use Mondays and Fridays as my deep work time where I focus and get a majority of what is needed upfront because I work from home. Tuesdays through Thursdays I keep my calendar booked with meetings so I can speak with my colleagues face to face.
In a big company, it can take effort to build community and connect with other young professionals. How have you been able to do so, and what tips would you give for other young professionals in a similar space?
Join all the ERGs [employee resource groups]. That is where you can meet and connect with coworkers who share a common interest. Don’t be afraid to ask people for a five- to 15-minute coffee chat in person or via email. Once you find someone you click well with, schedule a monthly meeting for lunch to check in and keep the conversation going.
If you were to offer one piece of career advice for a college student or recent graduate interested in pursuing a career in tech, right here in Philly, what would it be?
I would encourage all students to practice for interviews with a partner or record yourself and play back your answers. Grow your social capital on LinkedIn. Your net worth is your network.
Knowledge is power!
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