Sandhya Iyer ’20 is making it simpler to align talents and passions through Geek Girl Careers

Sandhya Iyer Portrait University Scholar Nominee 2020

When we’re five years old we’re overflowing with dreams of all the exciting things we’ll be when we grow up: astronauts, movie stars, fire-fighters, horse-trainers- fearless world adventurers.  As we grow older, however; our once-dazzling dreams turn into overwhelming anxieties. We worry about our capability to fit into a modern career, aligning our skills with our passions, understanding what our skills even are, and finding work that fulfills us. The art of choosing studies in college and jobs in careers is utterly bewildering.           

What if there were a simple tool to help us find jobs that were not only financially stable and forward-thinking, but also aligned with our talents and passions? Sandhya Iyer, a recent ’20 graduate from S.I. Newhouse School of Communications in Public Relations and from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management in Marketing, hopes to empower young women to find a career they love in a tech field.

Iyer is the CEO of Geek Girl Careers, a tool to help young women find careers in tech that align with their passions and personalities. She is also a featured speaker at an upcoming LaunchPad Fireside Chat, September 25 at 3 p.m.

The mission of Geek Girls Careers is two-fold: increasing female presence in tech industries while enabling individuals to combine their passions with their careers.

Geek Girl Careers is committed to increasing representation in tech by broadening the pathways in tech fields. Too often people assume a career in tech means a job in computer science, or a degree as an engineer; when in reality, tech encompasses a myriad of skills and needs people with skills in communications, management, finance, marketing, and so much more.

“No matter what people are passionate about, they can find careers related to that in the tech industry,” Iyer said.

The tool works simply: an individual chooses personality traits they feel describe them from a list. These traits, where an individual can list that they’re understanding, firm, or outgoing; all combine to create a report for the user of careers that fit their personality. For example, those who choose adjectives such as ‘social,’ or ‘outgoing,’ may be advised to find a career in public relations. The test is carefully designed to open possibilities in a booming field while refining an individual’s choice of career to their skills.

Iyer’s father decided to start Geek Girl Careers after witnessing his own daughter’s struggle to combine her fascinating array of interests into a definable career. Iyer, who also received a certificate in Fashion and Beauty Communications and spent her time on campus writing for the Daily Orange, wasn’t sure herself where to apply her diversity of passions. Unsurprisingly, the tool encouraged her to go into public relations; a field that she had already found her niche in.

The impact of Geek Girl Careers is so clear and transformative for people’s life choices that Iyer decided to take it over as her full-time job after she graduated from Syracuse this past year. Her success in growing it over the past few months as the CEO is resulting in partnership with organizations who use it as a career guidance tool. Geek Girls’ latest partner? Syracuse University Career Services currently lists Geek Girl Careers as a resource for job search and self-discovery.

“So many people don’t have an idea of how to turn their passions into a career- they’re boded into what their parents or what their society thinks of them,’ Iyer said. “The ability to carve your own path is so important.’

A simple conversation with Iyer reveals her overflowing enthusiasm and love for the work she does. She breathes joy. To be in a fulfilling career is to be able to live each day with joy and pour one’s soul into one’s work. Creating a successful career does not require abandoning hopes of finding a job that one enjoys and is good at. Through Geek Girl Careers, Iyer has created a space for women to find jobs that fill them with joy in an ever-growing industry that urgently needs their remarkable talents.

Story by Claire Howard, ’23, LaunchPad Global Fellow; photo supplied