Malena Zook

Major: B.S. in Informatics with a minor and cognate in human-centered computing, 2013

Career: Solutions Engineering R&D, Salesfoce

Advice: If you're willing to put in the effort and preparation, it will pay off.

A lot of people look at a career in computers as being clear cut.

For instance, developers develop, designers design, and never the twain shall meet.

Malena Zook didn’t look at her career that way.

Zook was influenced early on by her brother, Jordon, who was one of the first students to make his way through IU’s informatics program when it was established. Growing up in tiny Flora, Ind., a town of just more than 2,000 near Lafayette, Ind., Zook had an intense interest in technology. She worked on her high school’s website, and she was eager to use any kind of tech she could get her hands on.
With Jordon showing her the possibilities informatics provided, Malena enrolled as a direct admit student in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering in 2009.

Malena was an informatics major with a minor and cognate in human-centered computing, but she also loved graphic design. She took a number of classes on the subject, and as she started to craft her career goals, she turned to Career Services at SICE to help.

“I wanted to bridge the gap and work in a field that has both tech and design,” Malena says. “I could combine my passion for graphic design and graphic art with the technology. It’s not exactly a traditional tech role.”

Ever since her first meeting with Career Services as a freshman, Malena had been impressed by what her advisors brought to the table.

“Oftentimes in the tech world, developers code and designers design, and there’s not a lot of overlap in those roles,” Malena says. “I wanted to work in a role that combined those. It was challenging to think about how to position myself that way and what portfolio pieces could show both of those skills. Career Services really helped me put together a portfolio. They helped me position my resume and learn how to use certain design skillsets and coding languages to make me appealing for both design and development roles.  It was really helpful to have people who have worked with that before from the Career Services office guide me.”

The strategy worked. She first landed an internship with ExactTarget, a company that has since been acquired by Salesforce, the summer following her junior year, and at the end of the internship, she was offered a full-time position after graduation.

“You have no idea how much better you look when you have a well-put together resume,” Malena says. “It shows you’ve taken the extra time and effort to make your resume look really good. It goes a long way.”

Malena is in Solutions Engineering Research and Development for Salesforce in Indianapolis, where she supports the research and development of demonstration software to highlight the company’s products. It requires her to utilize a wide range of skillsets and has allowed her to use both her technical and design expertise on a daily basis.

“Career Services helped me get my job,” says Malena, who graduated with a B.S. in Informatics in 2013. “When I was a student, I would tell people all the time to go see Career Services. Make an appointment, meet with another student or one of the career advisors. Meet with someone, and you won’t regret it.”