Mentor Profile: Gabi Dombrowski

Gabi Dombrowski moved from Florida to Kansas City specifically to work for Cerner Corporation. After completing a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology at the University of Central Florida, Dombrowski worked at Cerner as a systems engineer. She recently transitioned the focus of her career, and she now works as a Python developer for Alt Legal.

gabi dombrowskiDombrowski has mentored with Coding & Cocktails for about one year, as she originally joined KCWiT to further her development-based skills. She said she enjoys the growth of her problem-solving skills and the constant learning that comes in working in a computer science and engineering-based profession. Outside of software engineering, Dombrowski’s hobbies include practicing Ashtanga Yoga.

How did your interest in coding begin?
For me, my dad always worked in IT, so we always had computers available. He was pretty encouraging of letting me play with and tinker with stuff.

How has your technical knowledge transferred into other aspects of your life?
It’s helped my problem-solving skills a lot. One of the most impressive things is that when you get a group of female engineers together, things just happen. Someone will ask, “How are we going to do this?” and five other ladies will chime in with how we are going to do things. It’s super collaborative, and things just get done.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I would have to say the constant learning. There’s always a new challenge, and it’s always different. You get the satisfaction of solving a problem creatively. When I started trying to develop my dev skills, it almost felt like going back to school because I was constantly learning

What are the more challenging aspects of your career?
I’d almost say it’s kind of the same thing. Sometimes, it’s really tempting to just give up, and sometimes, you just have to walk away for a bit. You know it’s going to be there when you come back. It’s difficult sometimes to have the stamina to stick with and solve a problem.

What advice would you offer your younger self today, or to someone who is looking to shift careers into one more coding-based?
I’d say start learning today. Start working on projects, and do as much as you can every day. Eventually, you’ll come up with something good, and you’ll get a project out there. You’ll be surprised with how much you learn. I think it’s important, too, to keep track of your progress, because it is really incremental.

If you could tell the general public one thing about software engineers and what it means to write code, what would it be?
I think the creative part of it doesn’t really get emphasized enough. I think people sometimes think you’re just sitting in a corner, playing with numbers, but it requires a great deal of creativity and problem solving.

How do you envision STEM continuing to evolve in our daily lives?
Specifically, I think it’s going to become a much more diverse field and become more accessible to a wider range of people. It’s important because you are getting a multitude of people to contribute to the development of technology. That’s going to give us the ability to solve problems that we haven’t looked at solving before.

-Adrianne DeWeese

Adrianne DeWeese is a Media Analyst-Account Coordinator for Synoptos Inc. A member of the KCWiT Marketing & Communications Committee since June 2016, she also enjoys pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and serving as board chairwoman of Pages & Chapters, a Kansas City- and Washington, D.C.-based family literacy nonprofit organization. Adrianne is married to John Leacox, a dedicated software engineer, and she believes in equal educational rights for everyone and hopes that sharing the stories within KCWiT will inspire others to also pursue their dreams.

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