Jazz Kaur has been a Certified Expert now for just over a year, but is already proving incredibly valuable to our community. In addition to being experienced with technical support, Jazz is also an incredibly talented cartoonist. We want to celebrate her creativity, insight, and technical expertise.
Jazz Kaur has been a Certified Expert for just over a year, but is already proving incredibly valuable to our community. In addition to being experienced with international and on-site technical support, Jazz is also an incredibly talented cartoonist. She is the owner and operator of The Tiny Koala Doodle Company, and is a member of the National Cartoonist Society Under 27 Club.
This month at Experts Exchange, we’re making an effort to use our platform to spotlight some of our favorite aspects of the tech world that we feel deserve more attention. We wanted to sit down with Jazz and celebrate her creativity and insight that goes alongside her technical expertise.
1. Tell us about yourself!
I have several years of international remote and onsite technical support experience. I’ve also conducted a wide array of in-person training sessions for organizations on topics such as computer security, Microsoft Office and Windows 10. Outside of the world of IT. I’m a cartoonist.
2. Was there a specific moment in your life when you knew you wanted to work in IT?
I was part of a program for about four years called Girls in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (GEMS) where I was exposed to the fundamentals of computer programming, robotics and rocketry. I knew that I definitely wanted a career geared towards tech after participating in the program. However, it wasn’t until my first IT internship that I officially knew I found my passion was helping others with their technical problems.
3. What challenges did you face early on in your career?
I was the youngest person in the first IT Department I worked in, so everyone else had decades of experience over me when I initially started. I was also the only female minority on the Help Desk. I didn’t major in IT specifically nor did I have any certifications. I had to dive into software I had no prior experience with and could not reference documentation as it was non-existent at the time.
4. What did you do to deal with those challenges or solve the problems they presented?
I essentially learned on-the-go and wasn’t afraid to ask questions in order to master processes. I was fortunate to have senior Infrastructure team members who were always willing to share their knowledge with me too and shadow them. Early on I had to create guides and help ramp up documentation. I also designed a training platform from scratch for employees and developed process article resources for my fellow team members. I became more confident tackling problems independently as time progressed, but I knew when to collaborate with my team members to solve immense problems e.g. severe system outages.
5. You have a cool hobby as a cartoonist! How does one start down the path of being a cartoonist?
I am a self-taught cartoonist. I didn’t go to art school nor take any classes. When I was little, I always filled my composition notebooks with doodles of people and my daily surroundings. I was also inspired by cartoonists like Jackie Ormes, Gary Harbo, Bruce Blitz, and Farley Katz. I took time every week to draw and eventually my own style developed. I recently got accepted into the National Cartoonist Society’s Young Professional Program too! To become a cartoonist, I believe it’s essential to keep practicing and networking with fellow artists in order to grow.
6. Do you find that there are unexpected connections between IT and drawing cartoons, or do you enjoy them because they’re totally different?
When you’re solving IT problems and drawing cartoons, you definitely have to leverage creativity, so in that sense they are absolutely connected. I primarily enjoy IT because I love to solve problems and you learn something new each day. On the other hand, I would say drawing cartoons allows me to express myself.
7. Shifting gears, you’re involved with multiple organizations that focus on women in technology. What have been your experiences in such a male dominated industry, and what are some actionable steps to help change how lopsided the industry is?
It can be hard to have your voice heard in a male dominated industry. I’ve also seen a divide between how many males have leadership roles and a gap in pay for the same roles. I was lucky to have one employer establish a Women in Tech organization that promoted mentoring opportunities for females with an interest in technology, allowed us to meet other female leaders who overcame their own challenges and helped spread awareness throughout the company where we were able to talk 1:1 with others, such as the male CTO. I think having a WiT club really transformed the organization, but most importantly communicating openly was undoubtedly helpful.
We must continue to raise awareness on the challenges we’re experiencing and speak up to existing leaders in the industry. Remaining silent will get us nowhere on these issues. Providing access to IT training programs for free or covering the costs of certification programs can be extremely helpful too. Ultimately, I think if all organizations have a mentoring program for women interested in tech that would be incredibly beneficial. Making sure a shadowing program exists is a great way for more women to enter the technology sector at any age.
8. What brought you to Experts Exchange initially? What made you want to stay?
I came across it by accident via an online forum. The Experts Exchange community is phenomenal! I am learning a lot from other fellow Experts, but most importantly it is a platform where I truly have the ability to help others. Experts Exchange really promotes sharing knowledge. It’s also a way for me to continue grow by solving challenging problems and gain exposure on more topics within the IT industry I’m interested in such as cloud computing.