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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

How a Culture of Growth Helped This Tech Leader Advance Her Career

Marsha Auld-Saunders, Technology Director at CSC.
Marsha Auld-Saunders, Technology Director at CSC.

Marsha Auld-Saunders is proof that no matter how far along you are in your career, you should never stop investing in yourself. At CSC—which provides business, legal, tax, and digital brand services to companies across the globe—Marsha has advanced from a senior engineer role to the company’s Technology Director.

But even as a leader, she’s continually striving for self-improvement, whether it’s by making deeper connections with her local business community as a 2022 Leadership Delaware Fellow or honing her communication skills through CSC Incorporators Toastmasters.

“Our leadership is amazing at providing space to grow, and they’re willing to equip you with the skills, access, networking relationships, and mentorship necessary to help you succeed,” she says. “The company also has a great stance regarding improvement through training, including self-paced programs on a variety of subject areas through our company intranet.”

Here, Marsha shares more about why CSC is a great place for career growth, what her goals are for her tech teams, and how to stand out in a job interview. (And her teams are hiring now!)

Tell us about your career journey, and what inspired you to pursue a career in software engineering.

My journey into technology started in high school. I loved to type, and would volunteer to type things up for teachers and some of the school administrators. I was even a part of the typing club (yes, it was a thing back then). When my guidance counselor talked to me about career opportunities, he recommended computer science, since I was also great at math.

I really fell in love with it while in college, when I saw the compiler turn green for the first time, indicating a successful execution after quite a few failures. I was hooked, and it’s taken off since then.

What are your core responsibilities as CSC’s Technology Director?

Some say I’m a puzzle solver. As the Technology Director, I oversee the application architecture, UX/UI, and data teams. The application architecture arm is responsible for ensuring that we are building stable, secure applications, which are resilient and configurable to our customers. Our user interface arm is building standards and supporting application teams, which ensures we have a unified look and feel across all our customer-facing applications. Our data arm is identifying and classifying data to ensure that we can easily determine what is sensitive and how it should be protected.

My main responsibility is to gather all three groups together and build overall strategies for supporting our application teams to satisfy the needs of our customers. I build relationships, devise plans, and work with our partners to implement them, making development and releases stable, easy, efficient, and secure.

What are your short- and long-term goals for your department?

My short-term goals are to continue along the trajectory of tech simplification to remove redundancies and ensure that we have a strong path forward when building new applications and maintaining existing ones.

Some of my long-term goals are to completely transform the way that we build our architecture in the next five years, from data to infrastructure provisioning. We’re working closely with enterprise technology on a variety of different projects to simplify our development processes. For example, a current major project we are almost wrapping up is our Oracle database migration effort. This touches more than 200 applications and crosses four business units, which requires a large amount of coordination. We are also working on a major data identification project to determine how our data is owned, managed, accessed, and secured. This is key to determine how we can share data across our disparate applications and business lines to support common customer needs.

Why is CSC a great place for long-term growth?

The sky is truly the limit as there are so many divisions, groups, and programs to support your growth. The decisions are yours, and there are so many opportunities available to you. Where you begin your career at CSC does not dictate where you will end. For example, I have known developers who are now database administrators, and customer service representatives who are now developers or business analysts. If you work hard, ask questions, and are diligent and tenacious, you will grow!

Tell us about your involvement in CSC Incorporators Toastmasters. How has it benefited your career?

I am the president of our Toastmasters club and have held every leadership role since I first joined back in 2017. Being part of Toastmasters has made me more comfortable speaking with individuals at any level. It has also helped me communicate more clearly and concisely, including how to deliver the same message to different audiences. More so, it has allowed me to better understand what kind of leader I am, and the type of leaders I want to be led by.

You’re also a member of CSC’s Black Employee Network. What kind of impact has this network had at the company?

CSC’s Black Employee Network (BEN) is phenomenal! We have quarterly roundtable discussions where people of all backgrounds can share their stories and relate to others. You would think these discussions are simply about issues affecting African Americans, but they actually show us that the struggles and concerns of non-Black employees are sometimes what makes us similar, rather than create a divide. The intention of the network is to bring different groups together by showing what we have in common instead of highlighting the differences. As one of the leaders of BEN, I strive to do just that.

CSC is always building up its tech teams, often hiring software engineers, database administrators, and more. What are a few of your top interview tips?

First, you should be open and honest. If you’re a talker and not a doer, it will show. Second, ask questions if you don’t know something or understand something. Lastly, be prepared to explain how you have been willing to do something that’s not ‘sexy,’ as we like to say, and are OK with getting your hands dirty to get the job done. Sharing an example of when you have done that and the reasoning behind it is important.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

“Be comfortable being uncomfortable.” If you’re too comfortable in a particular situation, that means that you don’t have to work too hard to succeed—and if it’s too easy, you won’t grow. Instead, get out of your comfort zone and try something new and different that will challenge you. Resistance builds muscles.