For Hispanic Heritage Month, #LatinaGeeks is spotlighting some of the many incredible women working in technology-related fields. Today’s honoree is our very own #LatinaGeeks Los Angeles Chapter President, Samantha Huerta.
Samantha’s beginnings were humble as the daughter of teen parents, and the oldest of four born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Because of her passion for math and problem solving, she graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science, a Minor in Education, and a Certificate in Information Sciences and Information Studies. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she is a Customer Engineer at Microsoft supporting a variety of clients in the application development space.
When asked what steps she took to get to where she is today, she shared that after graduating and holding a few internships she realized she was not interested in pursuing a career in software engineering. She explains that it was a scary feeling to have at first, but to avoid settling, she took time post-graduation to explore career opportunities that better aligned with her interests.
During that time, she worked as an instructor for the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion program in San Francisco, CA. She was later recruited by Microsoft and offered a position as a Premier Field Engineer. Not only did the travel component intrigue Samantha, but the role itself was an opportunity to grow and learn by interacting with various customers in the tech industry. She relocated to Charlotte, NC to develop her skills and engage in hands-on training and soon after made a personal move to Los Angeles, CA.
When discussing the obstacles and challenges she’s faced along her career path, Samantha shares that she felt plagued with so much fear and imposter syndrome stepping into client offices where she was expected to know everything about all of Microsoft’s technology. She shares that it was tough being looked at as an expert without having any industry experience. Through these initial challenges, she embraced the learning curve and allowed herself to grow through the struggle instead of letting it hold her back and keep her stuck in her fear.
Another challenge she faced was learning how to advocate for herself. She shares “I was told recently by a manager that when others are asked about me they say such positive things, but the only person they didn’t hear that from was me. It was hard to hear, because I realized I had been holding myself back from potential opportunities and recognition by trying to be “humble” or letting my “hard work” speak for itself.” Through this, she learned that it’s important for us to speak up and be our own advocates. We can’t be afraid to let our accomplishments be known.Don’t make yourself small for anyone or lower your expectations because people are making you feel like you are too much - Samantha Huerta via @LatinaGeeks Click To Tweet
Samantha would tell her younger self to stand in her power. “Don’t make yourself small for anyone or lower your expectations because people are making you feel like you are too much. Embrace everything about yourself, don’t be afraid of making mistakes and go for everything you want.“
Samantha’s mantra is: “Always believe the impossible is possible – Selena Quintanilla”. She expresses that she loves this quote because as someone who came from a place where the expectations weren’t very high and high achievement seemed farfetched, it was imperative to always continue dreaming. “I think this goes back to my advice to my younger self. My dreams were/are never too big. What seemed impossible at one point in my life I am now living.”