IST alumnus and Latinx workers in tech advocate lands dream job at Twitter

“I try to show young people that they can have career paths within the tech space without necessarily being developers or programmers,” he said. “If you think that you can’t succeed in tech, that’s false; you can learn it, you can understand it, and you can become very good as a product manager, a project manager, a program manager, a scrum master, the list goes on and on for different roles that exist within every organization.”

On Sept. 15, Claudio hopes to instill that message in College of IST students when he serves on an IST Alumni Identity Talks panel celebrating Hispanic heritage. Recalling his own experience at Penn State, Claudio wants current students — especially those from Latino and other underrepresented backgrounds — to know that they, too, can reach their dreams.

“I remember sitting in classes at IST and getting excited when someone would come in that represented a big-name company and thinking ‘wow, I can do this; I’m training to be able to work for these places,’” he said. “There are so many people who aspire to be in the places that we once wanted to be in, so it starts with us as alumni [to share our experiences with the next generation].”

Blending business and tech at IST

While Claudio always had an interest in tech, he also knew that he was not a programmer. The fundamental aspects of coding intrigued him, but he never developed strong programming skills.

At IST, he found the people, organizations, and society option within the information sciences and technology major to be a perfect fit for him.

“It was all about understanding more about how people are using technology,” he said. “We came together to look at case studies and gave presentations, blending business and tech concepts together.”

Those team-building activities, along with courses that emphasized project management and data and organization, were especially influential for Claudio and his career path.

“The concept of working in teams was tremendous for me, and it was completely different than any of my friends who were in different majors and had to do a lot of independent work,” he said. “We got paired up with people we didn’t know, had to find a way to build chemistry with everyone, and produce deliverables.”

He added, “Sometimes you find great people you like to work with, and sometimes you don’t. But that’s all part of the process; it was a very good simulation of what you face in the real world.”

Claudio also benefited from what he learned from working on real-world case studies, which positioned him to help clients as a consultant at the start of his career.

“The point is to be able to help clients think about ideas and innovation and ways to solve and tackle challenges that they may not have been able to tackle themselves because they’re busy working on the primary goals of their business,” he said. “And the beauty of consulting is that you can work with one company for six months and solve a problem, then jump to an entirely different industry and do it all over again, with an entirely different set of people and a new problem scope.”

He added, “And that’s exactly how we tackled things at IST.”

Those problem-solving skills have carried over to his current position at Twitter, which he equates to strategically thinking about how to put together a 200-piece jigsaw puzzle.

“When you start putting those pieces together, and you realize they don’t always fit right away, you have to look at your next steps strategically: Do you build one side first? Do you start with the corners? Or the middle? That’s exactly what strategy and operations is like in the corporate world.”

A continuous marathon

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