LOFT Latina Turns Full-Time Jr.Data Scientist!

Jacqueline Moreno

Jr. Data Scientist

I first learned about the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) as a high school student – I thought of HHF as the organization that would help me find scholarships for college, so I used their website as a resource for learning about scholarship opportunities.

In 2014, when I transitioned from a career in public service to a career in technology, I experienced the support of HHF’s programming at a more personal level – becoming a member of the HHF family by attending Latinos on Fast Track (LOFT) events. At the time I was merely an intern at Reputation.com’s Data Science department and attended a LOFT Coder Summit, part of their (Code as a Second Language) program, at Stanford University and then at UCLA. But after attending a LOFT Coder Summit at Target HQ, and being offered an internship with Target.com, my company decided to offer me full-time work as a Jr. Data Scientist. I was a little sad to give up the Target.com internship opportunity in Minnesota, but so happy to be offered my first full-time tech job in the Bay Area – and it’s because of HHF’s support that I was able to show my company how desirable my skills were nationwide.

Networking with other LOFT members in person has led to my excitement in joining more LOFT tracks – including that for Innovation & Technology, Engineering, Public Service, and another for Latinas – to keep in touch. HHF recently connected me with Salesforce and Facebook to attend their respective developer conferences.

At Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference, I learned about products my company could use to make our online reputation management platform more helpful to our clients. But my tips for those attending the next Facebook developer conference are to balance the things you learn about – definitely attend sessions about topics benefiting the organization you work for, but also make time for topics you’d like to try outside of work. I soaked in the words of experts on Building High Quality JavaScript Tools, and Creative Ways to do Research to answer product user experience questions on day 1 of the conference, even though I write code primarily in Python at work, and am not on the UX team! Feeding my curiosity was enjoyable. Then on day 2, I focused on topics that are more relevant to helping my Data Science teammates – Automatic Insights from Facebook Analytics, and Natural Language Understanding. Learning is exciting when I can deepen my knowledge about my current work in data science, but if I hadn’t ventured into learning about a completely new field in the first place, I would never have left public service. Now I get to merge both fields together as I plan a civic hackathon coming up next month, and I can’t wait to see what inventions teams of programmers and non-tech professionals come up with together.