Spotlight on Carlyn Aarish, Technical Architect

March 14, 2022

In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Privitar is shining the spotlight on some of our amazing women PriviStars. This month, we are featuring interviews with team members across the company, demonstrating the talent, passion, and commitment they bring to their day jobs at Privitar and advancing women in the broader technology landscape. Read on to learn more about Carlyn Aarish, Technical Architect at Privitar.  

 

Describe your role at Privitar

I am a Technical Architect on the U.S. Services team. We assist Privitar’s customers and prospects in evaluating and implementing our privacy engineering and modern data provisioning solutions. We design, prototype, and productionalize these solutions.

 

How did you get started in tech?

After studying physics and environmental science and beginning my career in the energy industry, my introduction to software and data engineering began when I joined a cleantech software startup as a client engagement manager. Working alongside our software engineers, I grew curious to understand how our software was built and started spending my evenings teaching myself Python and using it to make our data QC process more efficient. Eventually, I transitioned to a software engineering role where I used Apache Spark™ to scale our data pipelines. I then went on to a tech lead role designing new data services for our data science teams.

I was fortunate to work at a company that hired many engineers with nontraditional backgrounds. We had many female engineers, from senior developers to our VP of Engineering. Having relatable role models to look up to helped me form a vision of what I wanted to accomplish. In addition, my interest in pursuing engineering was met with enthusiasm and encouragement from senior staff. Having those role models and having people in positions of influence who were willing to sponsor me in pursuit of my vision were important factors in establishing my career in tech.

 

What challenges sit on the path to becoming a female tech leader?

The lack of female role models in technical roles, particularly in leadership, can make it difficult to envision your career path. Having people to look up to that you can relate to or people you have seen navigate the same challenges you are experiencing makes the journey easier. This, of course, applies to anyone who identifies with an underrepresented group.

A key to overcoming this, which I have described as being impactful in my journey, is having sponsors. A sponsor is someone who helps set you up for greater success or presents new opportunities to you when your performance and drive merit it. When it comes to hiring and promotions, experience is often weighted higher than potential. However, it is much easier to teach a professional skill than to teach attitude. Sponsors who are willing to hire, promote, and elevate others based on potential can help outsiders who do not have the connections or experience get to their full potential and contribute to the industry. I personally always respond to students and young professionals who reach out to me for advice on pursuing tech and hope to pay it forward to others as I grow more in my career.

 

What most excites you about working in this space?

The most exciting part about working in this space is being at the forefront of privacy engineering and modern data provisioning and helping define and establish the industry. The problems associated with ingesting data at scale and extracting value from it—whether from latency or privacy compliance or another perspective—have long been discussed and documented in the industry. It’s inspiring to be a part of the solution, and enable organizations to access their data with ease and to utilize their data with integrity.

 

What can the data industry do to increase inclusion and diversity?

Studies have shown that workplaces are higher performing when they foster psychological safety and create environments where all employees feel they can voice their ideas and take risks without fear of negative consequences. This is at the heart of inclusion. Likewise, studies have shown that diverse teams with a range of perspectives tend to be more innovative and even more profitable. Hiring diverse leadership can serve as a catalyst for building diverse teams and meeting diversity and inclusion goals.

Learn more about life at Privitar by checking out our Careers page.

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