An interview with Desktop geoprocessing and Python analyst, Stephanie W.Bringing you another member of our support staff, we interviewed Stephanie who is a support analyst from the Charlotte, NC office. We talked with Stephanie about everything from her hobbies, a recent trip to the South East User Conference, and Stephanie's career at Esri after studying geography at UNC Chapel Hill.Support Services Blog: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into GIS?Stephanie: Growing up I lived in Wisconsin and Michigan, but I would consider North Carolina my home. My dad got me into GIS with his career as a weather man. He is always working with maps and his passion for weather really inspired me and in turn got me interested in the environment. As I got older, I realized the environment was a lot more complex when you added humans into the mix. This helped me to develop a curiosity about geography and from there GIS was the ultimate tool to understand this connection.
SSB: What brought you to Esri? Stephanie: In my job search, I was always considering the companies I heard of while in school. Esri seemed like a good place to try since it was mostly what I learned GIS on and they are a leader in the GIS industry. I was very fortunate to meet some Esri employees at a career fair at UNC Charlotte and before I knew it I was showing up for my first day at work!SSB: Tell us a little bit about your role as a desktop support analyst and what you like best about being a support analyst. Stephanie: Since this is my first real GIS job, I had a lot to learn. It was a challenge from day one to absorb all the information about the parts of GIS I had never used or even heard of. But this challenge is one of my favorite parts about working in support, I am always learning every single day. In desktop, we work on a wide range of issues. My most favorite is working on geoprocessing incidents that come in as I enjoy figuring out suitable workflows for users or what is causing the tools to fail. Geoprocessing is what really led me to learn Python, which is now my favorite specialty. It really is amazing what things you can do with this simple language to automate your processes and workflows. It's also like a game to me to try and figure out the minor things that need to be changed or done to make the script work perfectly. I know, I know, you probably think I'm crazy to think coding would be any kind of fun!SSB: How do you describe to family members and friends what you do for a living supporting Esri products? Stephanie: I still don't think I have this worked out yet. Sometimes I try to explain that I work with maps for a living. However, when I tell people that I work in a support center, I often end up getting dragged over to my family member’s computer to fix random issues with their OS (usually having nothing to do with GIS!). It seems like it has always been hard to explain to people what one might do with geography and GIS, but if they would just think more about the connection place has with components of society and the environment, they would realize it is a lot more important that just knowing where things are on a map.SSB: So what have you been up to lately at work? Stephanie: Recently, I attended the South East User Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was like a mini-UC for any of you who have been. It was a ton of fun to meet GIS users face to face and help people directly face to face. It is also great to see all the cool projects that people are using GIS for in their day to day lives. And you’re probably thinking, "Orlando, Stephanie… tell us you went to Disney too!" Well how could I not! I was a girl on a mission and hustled around to three of the parks. I needed to get back to my desk just to have a break. But for those of you who've never been to an Esri conference, go! Even if you can't make it to the big one in San Diego, go. It's a great experience to meet people who share the same passion for GIS and to learn new things about what is happening in the world of GIS.SSB: Tell me a little bit about yourself outside of work. Are there any hobbies that you enjoy?Stephanie: Outside of work, I enjoy painting. I've been oil painting for over a year now at the civic center near my house. I love it because time just slows down and my brain can take a break from all the learning that I did throughout the day. I also just recently adopted a dog. He is a basset hound mix; you know the short legs, long body. He's a cutie. We enjoy taking long walks on the greenway near our house. I also enjoy photography; I do okay, with a good picture every once in a while.Previous “Getting to Know Esri Support” Interviews