Our Black in Tech series features the career path & advice from Black professionals in the tech industry. In this Q&A, Anthony Spaulding, Sr. Server Database Service Engineer at Duck Creek Technology shares his story.
Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in Chicago, IL, mainly on the west side of the city. Growing up, I loved playing sports, especially football and basketball. I enjoyed watching the college and professional levels. Some of my favorite college teams were the Illinois Fighting Illini, Oklahoma Sooners, UNLV Running Rebels, Michigan Wolverines, and Ohio State Buckeyes. On the professional level, I followed the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls, and Bears.
My dad worked at Sears for about 40 years until they closed. My mother worked as a nurse in various nursing homes. Without knowing it at the time, I guess I was destined to work in tech. I used to have visions and dreams about working with computers.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what did you do after graduating?
I received a bachelor’s degree at DeVry Institute (University now) in Computer Information Systems.
What inspired you to get into the tech industry?
I was inspired by my mom to go to college and I was the first out of all of my siblings to go. Although I didn’t know much about computers at the time or even have a computer at home, I always had an unshakeable vision or dream about working with them.
What has your career path looked like in tech and the various positions you’ve held before joining Duck Creek Technology?
I started off as a Programmer/Programmer Analyst (known as a Developer now) submitting my query codes to Database Admins. Then I became a Jr Database Admin/ Database Admin back in 2010 and kept doing some developer work in other positions I held until about 2017. Since then I have been totally focused on Database Administration work.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Sr. Server Database Service Engineer at Duck Creek Technology?
Some of my responsibilities include training fellow associates, migrating data from one environment to another, backing up and restoring databases, providing database maintenance, and troubleshooting database-related issues.
What has attributed to your success thus far and what types of obstacles have you had to overcome along the way as a Black professional?
There are times in my professional career path where I felt like I was overlooked for a job and/or promotion due to my ethnicity, but I have turned those obstacles into opportunities, which has contributed to me continually growing and excelling in life.
What types of programs and initiatives does Duck Creek Technology have that support diversity, equity, and inclusion?
BRG (Black Resource Group), WRG (Women Resource Group), VOLAR (Latino Resource Group, VERG (Veterans Employee Resource Group), and Emerging Leaders. I am involved with and try to support each one of these resource groups as much as possible.
What advice would you give to other Black professionals who are interested in joining the tech industry?
If you are interested in joining the tech industry and you feel like this is your career path, don’t be afraid to join this industry, even if you don’t see as many Black professionals in the same field. When I joined Duck Creek, I think I was the only Black professional in the Illinois office but now there are more Black professionals in that office and at least 5 more working with me on the same team.
While general awareness to increase diversity in the tech industry is a step forward, to make a lasting change, real actions need to be taken. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on what companies or employees can do to step up and make a difference?
Continue to push the initiative for inclusion and diversity. Don’t let it be a one or two-year project that dwindles down to no initiative at all. I think that the more we get to know one another and start to understand one another across various backgrounds and life experiences, the fewer misunderstandings we have, and we can all change for the better.