Getting to know Gen Schmitt

Women in Technology is thrilled to welcome Gen Schmitt to the Leadership Team! She will also be one of the campus representatives for the Big Ten Academic Alliance Women in Technology group.

What do you do?

I am a software developer for the Scholarly Communication and Repository Services team in Library IT. I am responsible for the development and maintenance of microservices supporting the data sharing and digital preservation repositories within the library including the Illinois Data Bank and Medusa. These repositories allow for data reuse and the safeguarding of the Library’s digital collections. Additionally, I oversee the AWS operations for my team, maintaining our current architecture and keeping up to date with new features to benefit our tech stack. As of recently, I am also now a UIUC Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) WIT Representative. 

What led you to this career?

When I started college, I had never written a single line of code. My dad suggested that I take an introductory programming course because he thought my problem solving skills might be a good fit for Computer Science. I loved this class so much that I majored in CS. After I graduated, I spent a year working in Big Tech but I noticed my enthusiasm for software engineering was waning. So I decided to look for a more fulfilling career, which brought me to where I am today. At the Library, I am on a team where I am able to have a positive impact for my colleagues who contribute to the repositories that I help support. And I am constantly growing and learning new technologies. 

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why? 

My eagerness to learn and take on new challenges. When I see an opportunity to gain a new skill that would benefit my team or myself, I take it. This mentality has allowed me to adopt more responsibility and become much more impactful in my work.

What’s a song or type of music you listen to that puts you in the best mood and why?

Recently, I have been listening to a lot of Indie music: The Lumineers, Noah Kahan, and Hozier. It is the right amount of passion and energy without being too overwhelming.

What is something interesting that you enjoy doing outside of work that may surprise your colleagues?

I’m not sure if it is a surprise, but I love Costco. I always say it is my happy place. They recently opened a new one near me (outside of Boulder, Colorado), so if I’m not snuggling with my dog, I’m likely wandering the aisles and looking for samples.