For our second installment of the How I Got Here series, we interviewed an editorial director who oversees content development for engineering books at Wiley! Read on to hear their story:
WSS: What did you study in school? Is it relevant to your current job?
I majored in electrical engineering in college. I love learning and wasn’t quite certain what was out there for me as an electrical engineer, so I also picked up some minors and a certificate in entrepreneurship. On top of that, I worked as a tutor and Supplemental Instructor for high fail-rate courses across majors. I was busy!
As I look back at my career thus far, I realize that all of the projects I worked on were related to education. I was very interested in engineering education, and through my discussions with various professors, I started attending the department’s research seminars and considering graduate school. I eventually decided that I did want to continue my studies and I got a Ph.D. in engineering education.
WSS: How did you find this job?
I actually met one of the co-founders of the acquisition, Smita, through my dad, who had been introduced to her at a networking event for entrepreneurs. At the time, the company was looking into expanding into engineering, and my dad introduced us so I could help answer any questions. At the time, I was in the beginning stages of my Ph.D. but I stayed connected with Smita. Four years later, by the time I was getting ready to defend my dissertation and graduate, and I still hadn’t decided what I wanted to do next. At a conference, my advisor called me over because Smita had asked what my plans were after graduation. I got to talking with the team and the rest, as they say, is history!
WSS: Did anyone help you along the way – helping decide what you wanted to do or get to jobs?
I have a lot of people to thank for where I am today; I relied on friends to talk about dreams and life aspirations, I relied on family for support when things got tough. I’m forever grateful to the myriads of people who entertained my questions around their own paths, their own careers, and gave me advice that helped guide my decisions.
WSS: Any tips for people who are making the leap to a professional career?
My first advice is to talk to people. Don’t be afraid to ask people about their careers and the decisions they made to get there. Most people are happy to talk about their jobs and share their journey! Stay in touch with those people if you can. If you asked someone for specific advice, follow up with them to let them know your decision and thank them for their guidance!
I’m also a fan of finding patterns in the work that you’re drawn to. What did you enjoy? What did you not?
Finally, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Skills can be broadly applied to many different domains, so don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that might be in a completely different field from what you started in. Fortune favors the brave!