Nicole Moore (BA, English ’14) recently visited the Department of English to share how she uses her undergraduate degree and skills in her job at a tech company. Below are some of the questions that were asked during her visit and the advice she offered.
As a managing editor at Human Kinetics, a publishing company in Champaign-Urbana, Nicole came to realize that her job “was more about identifying the problem and knowing who could fix it than fixing the problem” herself. This realization showed her two things: first, her experience in this job could help her qualify for multiple kinds of other jobs and, second, that she liked doing this type of job.
She currently works as a Quality Assurance Specialist with Pixo, a tech company in C-U. While she didn’t have all of the qualifications listed in their job ad, she did have the communication and organizational skills they were looking for. She said English majors are usually great at QA because of this.
“If a job seems interesting, apply” she said. “—even if you don’t have all of the skills listed on the job description.” One student then asked what Quality Assurance Specialists at tech companies do. Nicole shared that they test apps and websites. Like her job as a managing editor, this position entails documenting the problems and communicating them to the right person who can fix them. She added, “It’s not always about knowing how to do everything. It’s about knowing how to investigate and figure problems out.”
Nicole then talked about her transition from publishing to tech. She said the hardest part was transitioning from a product company to a consulting company. Nicole also emphasized that there definitely are other positions at tech companies, not just QA specialists, that humanities majors would be good at. Some examples she gave are jobs in user experience, sales, and project management—you don’t always need tech skills to work at a tech company, and humanities majors can definitely pursue a career in this field.
Overall, Nicole told students not to be afraid to reach out to a company that they are interested in or talk to someone they know who is in a field that interests them. When you ask someone via email or in person to grab coffee and to talk about their experience, that’s how you start making connections and learning about the opportunities out there for you.
by Hannah Downing, Media-Content Developer Intern, Department of English
P.S. In her free time, Nicole can be found teaching 4-H participants to train their rabbits to do tricks through 4H Hopstars: Rabbit Agility of Champaign-Urbana, an organization she founded.