Career Mentor – Jennifer Roberts
25 successful years, 25 career mentors
Jennifer Roberts is one of 700+ Career Mentor volunteers who devote time to meeting University of Manitoba students. Each year, career mentors share their knowledge and advice to guide the career plans and contribute to the success of students. In celebration of 25 successful years, 25 career mentors have agreed to share their career stories and advice…
Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?
Working as a product analyst in the IT industry, I am responsible for analyzing potential new features and customer feedback, staying up to date on industry trends and defining product requirements. The most rewarding is getting to see the final product working. The greatest challenge is keeping up with ever changing technologies.
While you were completing your degree, what experiences and activities helped bring you to your career decision or helped you succeed in your occupation?
Enrolling in the computer science co-op program had significant impact on my career decisions. It allowed me to explore different types of job opportunities and make industry contacts while completing my degree. Through my three work terms I was able to gain real world experience that can’t be taught in a classroom and discover what types of tasks were the most rewarding for me. When I graduated I already had a job lined up.
Describe your career planning journey. Please include any highlights, bumps or roadblocks.
While I was in school I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to specialize in. As I went through my three co-op terms I realized I really enjoyed analysis work and was much too social to spend eight hours a day writing code. When I graduated, I opted for a job that would allow me to grow those skills.
What inspired you to be a Career Mentor?
I have been very fortunate to have many people in my life act as mentors and provide support and guidance to me through my career. I wanted to be able to provide that same type of support for others.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in following in your footsteps?
Technology has become part of every industry. Having additional business education can be very helpful if you want to work in an IT analyst or management role. I’ve had people ask me “I don’t write code in my spare time, can I still go into computer science?” Yes, I had never programmed before I went to university.
What career advice do you have for university students?
Talk to people in the industry to find out specific details about any career types you are interested in. Hearing first hand details about the ins and outs of that type of career and the options and opportunities can be very eye opening early on.
Stay tuned for more career mentor profiles! From September 25 to November 2 the Career Mentor Program will be profiling 25 dedicated and wonderful mentors from across several sectors. To view more career mentor profiles and learn about the anniversary event on November 2, 2015, please visit the CMP 25th Anniversary website.