This IT Lead’s Message to STEM Majors: You’re More than Your Degree

Alyssa Greenfield
This IT Lead’s Message to STEM Majors: You’re More than Your Degree
Sponsored by, Johnson & Johnson

In college, Nancy Andia sometimes had her doubts about her career path.

As an electrical and computer engineering major, she enjoyed the work she was doing, but sometimes wondered if a job centered around writing code was the right fit. Then, an opportunity to join Johnson & Johnson’s co-op program made all of those doubts disappear.

Because of that opportunity, Nancy discovered a side to IT that had nothing to do with coding. Instead, she had the chance to work with different technology and business teams to implement systems focused on helping people.

Flash forward a few years after graduation, and she’s now the IT Lead for Global Transportation at Johnson & Johnson. But there’s so much more to Nancy’s career story than her job description.

Nancy and her colleagues at a Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM event

Throughout the year, you might find her working with students at her alma mater, Rutgers University, helping them discover their ideal career paths. Or, you could find her attending a diversity conference to help recruit the next generation of Johnson & Johnson employees. Maybe you’ll see her marching in New York City’s Hispanic Day Parade with the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Action.

The impact Nancy made in the short time since she graduated isn’t limited to students in the United States, either. Recently, the US Embassy in Peru invited her to meet with high-potential, underrepresented high school and college women to share her own story as a Peruvian young professional. While she was there, she visited four high schools and three colleges, helping students understand that a STEM career doesn’t just mean becoming a doctor or scientist.

“Especially in other countries, there’s a low percentage of women doing careers in STEM,” she says. “A lot of students in Peru told me they didn’t think they could go into a career in one of these fields.” By the end of her visit, however, some of the students were considering Johnson & Johnson as a potential career path.

Even at home in the US, Nancy talks to a lot of students who don’t know what they want to do, or what they’re capable of achieving. “They tell me that they just want to have an impact,” she says. She can relate. It was the exposure Nancy got to different areas at Johnson & Johnson that helped her understand where she wanted to take her own career.

During college, she participated in a co-op program with Johnson & Johnson. After graduation, she was accepted into the company’s IT Leadership Development Program where she completed two year-long rotations that exposed her to different ways she could use her engineering degree to make an impact at the company. Throughout those two years, she attended leadership trainings and workshops that helped her understand Johnson & Johnson’s impact as a healthcare technology company.

“It can actually be useful coming out of college and not knowing where you want to be in the next few years,” she says. That’s a perspective students don’t hear often enough.

Now, Nancy wants students to know that you don’t need to spend your days coding to have a fulfilling career in IT—unless, of course, that’s your passion. She works in supply chain on the Customer Logistics Services side of Johnson & Johnson’s IT team, focusing specifically on transportation. Her job is to improve the way Johnson & Johnson’s products get into the hands of the people who need them. It’s a fulfilling technology career, and one she didn’t realize was an option just a few years back.

“At first, I didn’t know how technology could impact healthcare or the way we ship our J&J products,” she says. “Now I see how technology can impact millions of people.”

That impact is one of the reasons Nancy has been at Johnson & Johnson since 2013—that, and the people who’ve helped her grow her career there. When she first joined the company, Nancy’s colleagues kept referring to Johnson & Johnson as a “relationship company.” It didn’t take long for her to realize what they meant: her very first manager is still her mentor six years after she joined the co-op program as an undergrad.

Despite what she’s accomplished, Nancy doesn’t consider herself a leader—yet. “When I think of leaders, I think about people who’ve helped me to grow on a personal and professional level,” she says. “As I progress in my career, I want to guide other people as I’ve been guided.” From where a lot of people stand, that’s exactly what she’s doing.

Ready to start your own career at Johnson & Johnson? They’re hiring now, so head over to WayUp, explore open positions, and apply.