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Career Quick Look
Salary: $87,450* Education:
Years in Field: 2.6 CCRI - AS in Electronics, AS in Process Control
City/State: Johnston, RI View Kimberly Cardosi's Resume

"Don't ever let anybody tell you you can't do it."

"Don't give in to [criticism], just keep working and doing what you're supposed to do...they will calm down and accept you"

Getting Started: As a 22 year old single mother of three young children, Kimberly Cardosi needed to change careers to earn more money. She had been previously working as a pharmacy clerk earning approximately $11,700 per year, but a retail wage was simply not enough to support her family. Feeling limited with only a General Education Diploma and some word processing skills, Kimberly decided to go back to school.

Education: In 1995, Kimberly met with a CCRI counselor to explore her options. The counselor gave her an assessment test that showed she excelled in math and science, and recommended that she pursue a technology program at CCRI. Kimberly had always had a curiosity about the way things worked, often taking things apart to examine their components and loved working on cars. Kimberly took some technology courses and did well in them and so chose to pursue duel Associate Degrees in Electronics and Process Control. The extensive hands-on experience and support offered by CCRI instructors gave Kimberly the technology background she needed to get a job after graduation at Keltron Corporation doing electronic equipment repair and maintenance. After working at Keltron for a year, Kimberly's degrees in Process Control and Electronics from CCRI paid off with an entry-level job as a calibration technician at Thermo BLH, Inc. Within a year, Kimberly's hard work and persistence earned her a promotion to the position of software developer at Thermo BLH, where she now earns over $40,000 a year.

Greatest Professional Achievement: Kimberly considers her promotion to be her greatest professional accomplishment. The Vice President of Engineering at Thermo BLH asked her to work for him in Engineering instead of taking a job with Field Service when she was still relatively new to the company. She had very little experience working with code, but she succeeded and was given a good raise. Kimberly is proud to serve as a WomenTech role model, showing other women and girls the possibilities in pursuing technology.

Barriers: Many of Kimberly's family and friends tried to discourage her from electronics, saying that she shouldn't and couldn't do it. But Kimberly's natural persistence and positive experience at CCRI helped to build her confidence and drove her to excel and succeed.

Working with Men: Kimberly is the only female among her co-workers. At first, the men were "not thrilled" about having a woman among their ranks and only left her the smaller, less significant projects to work on. Realizing this was not the way to excel in a new company and a new profession, Kimberly worked harder than her male counterparts and pushed her supervisor to give her more meaningful projects, which would allow her to prove herself. Having exhibited her abilities, Kimberly is now considered a team player and can tease her co-workers in the spirit of good fun if they try to interfere with her work, such as preventing her from lifting heavy objects.

Advice for Women: Electronics is a "tough field," says Kimberly, because it is a quickly and constantly changing industry. It is still male-dominated and women sometimes do have to work harder to prove their abilities. But Kimberly found that women are excellent at electronics and possibly even better than men are. She noticed that the few other women in her courses at CCRI were right with her at the head of the class and did better overall academically. For women working mainly with males or pursuing technology paths, Kimberly advises, "Don't give in to them. Keep on working and doing what you're supposed to do. After showing them up enough times, they'll calm down and accept you."

Typical Workday/Environment: Kimberly's typical day involves working with assembly code, helping to write software for weighing systems and reworking PC boards for testing. Her job is highly technical involving much detailed work with computers and some hands on activities, such as reworking the PC boards. Much of her work is independent, but she must also function as a team player on group projects. Kimberly works in the front offices at Thermo BLH, so the environment is mainly corporate. She wears slacks and a button down shirt, but is allowed casual attire on Fridays.

Career Ladder: Starting salary for a technician-level job in the electronics industry typically begins around $25,000-$30,000 per year. An advancement to programming may bring in around $40,000 per year. Management positions usually start around $50,000 per year and can grow well in excess of that. Your salary and the speed of your advancement in the industry largely depends on the position you hold and the size and type of company that you work for.

Professional Associations: None

Hobbies: For relaxation, Kimberly likes to play golf and go fishing. She also enjoys sharing her technical knowledge by repairing and upgrading computers for family and friends. Kimberly also believes in using her spare time to upgrade her skills. She is currently taking a programming class at home.

*Annual salary number is not the role model's actual salary. Salary for Software Developer based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages in the United States, June 2007.


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