Current: Identity Program Manager at Microsoft
iUT: Tell us about our role at Microsoft and what does it entail?
AL: I work as a Program Manager in the Identity division at Microsoft. My primarily focus is on building and improving tools that enterprise customers use to monitor their identity systems. Identity infrastructure is one of the most important elements for a business to run. It is needed to keep track of employees, customers, partners and more. I get to design the tools and work with developers who convert my designs in to reality. Additionally, I spend a significant amount of time, connecting with customers to get their feedback and ensure we are building the right things for their needs.
iUT: What’s your background and how did it lead you to what you’re currently doing?
AL: In 2015, I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from George Fox University. In addition to my computer science background, I have been involved in IT for several more years. I started helping fix computers at my family’s business in Mexico. This later led to helping with tech projects at my high school. Additionally, I worked at the IT department in my college and had an IT internship at Intel.
iUT: What would you tell Teens about getting into your industry?
AL: The software industry is a fast paced and highly innovative world. Being able to solve complex problems in new ways is key to innovation. To accomplish this, companies are looking for people with different perspectives, education and life experiences. Every time I walk around an iUrbanTeen event, I see a group of teens which many tech companies would be lucky to have working with them. If this is an industry that interests you, take any computer-science related classes that might be available at your school, work on side projects and look for internship opportunities.
iUT: You’ve been involved with iUrban Teen as a contributor and board member for several years now, what interests you about iUrban Teen?
AL: I love introducing teens to different careers within STEM and seeing their faces light up when their creativity gets unleashed. My goal is to help youth learn and experiment with what could become their dream career. There is so many career opportunities within STEM, and knowing about them is super important. When I was a teenager, I would have appreciated the opportunity to participate in a program like iUrbanTeen. I knew I wanted to work with computers; however, I had no clue about what that would look like.
iUT: Can you share something about yourself that isn’t widely known?
AL: Growing up I have always had a passion for music. My favorite instrument is the accordion, which I attempt to play every now and then. Recently I have been spending time learning about the different cultures and music genres where the accordion is used. You would be surprised how this single instrument has impacted the music industry in many countries around the world!
iUT: Anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t cover?
AL: One of my favorite quotes from Paulo Coelho is “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” At multiple points in my short career, I have been afraid to fail. When this happens, I remind myself of Coelho’s words which give me the motivation to take the next step.
iUT: I remember you shared the significance of the photo of you cutting your mother’s hair, can you share that with our readers?
AL: When I set off to pursue the path to a college education and a job at one of the world’s most valuable companies, I wasn’t only pursuing a dream of mine. This was also the dream of my entire family, who stayed behind in Mexico when I moved to Oregon age 16 to pursue this dream. Before I left Mexico in 2009, my Mom (who still lives in Mexico) committed to cutting her hair as an offering, once I graduated from College. Being the first in my family to get a college degree was a big accomplishment for all of us!!