Kat's story

Kat Rodriguez
Kat Rodriguez

5.6: Kat's story

Kat.jpg

“Hello! I’m Kat and I’m a Product Manager at Joyous. My friends would say that they are not surprised I got into tech but my career path is not as straightforward as they might think.

I was born and raised in the Philippines where I was fortunate enough to have parents that bought their kids an IBM 386. From age 7, I tinkered with MS-DOS but mostly so I could play games and print posters. At the time, computers were toys. The idea of having your childhood fascination as a source of income was quite farfetched.

Over the years, the tech industry in the Philippines ramped up. By this time, I was the resident computer nerd at my all-girls high school (still proud of it) so it made sense to take up Information Management at university. While I enjoyed most subjects, I did not particularly love programming. So when I graduated, I left the idea of a tech career behind.

I ended up in various call centres in Manila for a few years. I also landed this cool job as an IP Relay Operator where I was a “human telephone wire” for the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech-disabled. It was good pay but it was not challenging enough and I ended up having an existential crisis. My brother insisted I give IT another chance so I applied at a tech start-up that had a graduate programme. I was then trained in a Business Analyst role. I was over the moon as this allowed me to pursue a career in an industry that I fell in love with at a young age without the need to touch code.

After a few years as a BA in Manila, an opportunity came up to move to NZ. Nine years in, I have worked as a BA, Project Manager and now a Product Manager at Joyous. I’m grateful for being part of this industry that’s forever evolving — you learn something new every single day and you get to work with such a smart, fun, and diverse group people. 100% recommend.“

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Pathways is designed to help women, Māori, and Pasifika people into a paid software technology role in six months to a year - without needing a degree first.