Our “DocuSign UP Career” blog series places the spotlight on employees who tell us about their first job (how they landed it, why they chose it) and key moments in their career that lead to greater learning or career momentum. At DocuSign, we believe in the next generation of leaders and want to help them get on the right career trajectory. That’s why we started DocuSign UP (University Program). This week we sat down with Kiah in Engineering based in Seattle to learn more about her career.

What do you do at DocuSign? 

I’m a software developer on the Microsoft integrations team. We work on all the DocuSign integrations with Microsoft suite.

What was your first job after school? 

I worked at a government contractor in Florida where I worked on the next generation of the FAA communications system.

Why did you choose that job? 

I grew up in Florida, and I had the opportunity to work with the FAA while I was in school at Florida Tech.

Is it related to the type of work you do today? And what did you learn from it? 

Yes, I worked on web development, and they used a similar stack that I use at DocuSign. I also frequently switched between different projects and that experience has helped me with my job now. The most important thing I learned from that first job was not to freak out when I was given big projects. I leaned on colleagues, learned time management and also discovered the importance of a work-life balance.

 You were working and going to school at the same time.  Are there any habits that help you now? 

I learned to become super-focused and compartmentalize in stressful situations, and that discipline continues to help me today.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped propel you to another level. 

Just earlier this year my boss asked if I would represent DocuSign and speak at a session at a major Microsoft conference. It was great exposure for me, and it increased my sphere of influence at the company. The session was recorded and watched by various DocuSign employees who otherwise wouldn’t have had me on their radar.

Have you had any important mentors in your life?  

My dad was my most important mentor. He told me that if anyone asks me to take on more or do something bigger, never say no. I also never knew there was a diversity issue in the tech industry because that was never a preface when my dad raised me or gave advice.

Have you taken risks in your career? 

I wanted to move out west after visiting Colorado.  I sent my resume around and then got the job at DocuSign and moved across the country. That felt like a leap; it was terrifying for the first six months I was here.

What advice would you give to a college junior or senior breaking into the job market? 

School isn’t everything. If you’re struggling with school, know that it won’t dictate your career. Get exposure to the workplace as early as possible. Find someone who does something similar to what you might want to do and ask them questions!

What would be the most unexpected piece of advice you’d give someone as they begin their career? 

It’s something a friend of mine told me: Keep track of the work you do throughout the year. It’s easy to forget everything we do once we’ve completed one obstacle and moved onto the next. Sometimes it feels like we haven’t done much. But if we keep track of what we do, it’s easier to put things in perspective and boosts our confidence when we realize how much we’ve actually accomplished.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing? 

I’d be interested in renovating houses. My dad was a woodworker, and I’ve always been interested in figuring out how to transform homes.

 Want to learn more about working at DocuSign? Visit our careers page.