This month’s professional spotlight features Somson Woldemicael. Somson is an Infrastructure Senior Analyst at Accenture, a global management consulting firm. Somson is in the process of creating an app to help people facing depression, bullying, mental health, and coming out on basis of sexuality. Read this month’s spotlight to learn more about Somson, his work, and his app.
Could you briefly explain some of your responsibilities in your current career role.
I monitor the health of different servers such as azure, active directory, and office 365 server environments across the company. Secondly, I make sure the content on the servers are constantly backing and hosting the right content. In addition, I provide support with the network and Skype performance to make sure it is efficient with low drop rates across the company.
How did you come to decide that this was the right career path for you?
It took many long nights, awkward conversations, and time wasted to let me realize what I was meant to do. Growing up, I was never the best student, average at best, but when I graduated high school that’s when reality hit me. I started at a local community college and it scared me because I knew I did not know how to be a successful student. Studying was not my strong suit I cringed at the idea of having to ask others on how they study, fearing embarrassment. One of my early jobs I worked with a manger who was always doing his homework at work and I decided to ask him how to study to get some help. I finally got the courage and asked him how to study and he laughed at me the whole shift. That put me down but made me more determined to figure it out. During my tenure at a community college my major switched like the direction of the wind which caused me to stay much longer at community college than expected, 4 years to be exact. Around late 2009, I was working at Blockbuster video, which was in the process of going under, and I started on the gruesome process of trying to find a job before it closed. I applied to a local Apple store, not really knowing or confident that I would get the job because of my age and educational credentials compared to the other interviewees, but I went anyway. Shockingly, I got the job which bewildered me because I was just some kid from the inner city and for Apple to give me a job, it was crazy to me. Little did I know that this job would be the best thing to happen to me professionally and personally. I stayed at Apple for 5 years where I grew, learning many life and technical skills which has made me that much more successful in my current role now. As the time went on I had an epiphany that Information Technology is what I was meant to do. Shortly thereafter I received my associates in Information Technology from Prince Georges Community College. Looking back the struggles, I would not change a thing because I was meant to go through all of it in order to be where I am now.
Is there a philosophy that drives your career?
That the most finite resource we have on this planet is time. I look at the world like chess; I am constantly thinking of my next step in regards to aspirations, career, and personal life. Lastly, knowing that we all have the ability to leave a legacy, that’s usually my focus in my work to leave a mark while I am here. Some sacrifices you make may not be the most enjoyable now, but at some point down the road they will, so I must stay the course.
What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment?
Well there are two but my first accomplishment is knowing that my parents are proud of me for what I have become professionally and personally, and that they can sleep better at night without worrying about me. My second accomplishment is serving as a resource for so many in my community, providing them career guidance and helping them to navigate through difficult situation. I truly get joy out of helping someone and seeing them get further in there career. Because I did not have someone show me how the game works, I really had to struggle to figure it out.
What’s one piece of advice you would give someone looking to transition into your line of work?
Well, the best piece of advice I can give someone looking to transfer into Information Technology is to know why you are looking to transition to the field. Information Technology is a broad field with many different avenues you can get into, but having some prior practical skills is essential. Though Information Technology is lucrative, it can be mentally draining if you are not in it for the right reasons. Critical thinking is key to being successful in IT and to grow within the field. All in all, if you are looking to transition into IT know there is a lot of work that comes with it and it is not to be taken lightly.
Are you working on something now that is inspiring to you?
Yes, I am and it is the most rewarding and inspiring thing I have ever done. I’m creating an application from the ground up that gives an outlet for people facing depression, bullying, mental health, and coming out on basis of sexuality. Most people do not know or have a safe place to go where they can express themselves freely. Personally, I feel that is something which can lead to a lot of unfortunate instances because people are scared of being judged. The inspiration to create this app came from the night I was watching the news and a mother lost her daughter to suicide because of bullying, she was 10 years old. She looked into the camera and said “she wishes there was an app were kids/adults can go for help for depression/bullying”. It was at that moment I knew she was talking to me and from that point on I started this journey to bring this app to life.
Where can people go to learn more about your app?
The best place now to learn more about my application is at my Instagram’s business page @mentalchats, where I will be putting up cool new content, radio interviews, website release information, and videos as I get closer to the application release date.
Outside of all your hard work and efforts toward building your brand, what do you do for fun?
I have always been a movie buff and I love to work out and see my body change. As cliché as it sounds, helping others is something I enjoy doing with my time as I am extremely patient. I also enjoy reading. Currently I am reading a great book called “The Will to Win” by Robert Herjavec.