Employee Spotlight

Technology Specialist

Sara C. is a Technology Specialist at 84.51˚

Cunningham, Sara 0

Employee Spotlight: Sara C.
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Office Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
University: St. Mary's College & University of Notre Dame (Dual Degree Program)
Major: Computing & Applied Math and Computer Engineering
84.51° Mission (Project Team): Digital

Describe your role as a Technology Specialist.
As a Solution Specialist, I focus on technical details to build tools that other analysts can utilize. My work on the Digital Mission is focused on developing sciences that drive the personalized experience on Kroger’s digital platforms. In addition, these solutions can be utilized by other Missions for their work as well.

What was your experience like in the Development Program?
We began with all new grads, Analysts, Consultants and Engineers, and covered an extensive overview of the business. After that, you dive into more analyst-specific trainings – starting with SQL, R and Linux. Next, I worked on six different projects in the grad pool, which gave me exposure to different areas of the business and the variety of work done at 84.51°. My first and favorite project was with the Digital Mission, and that’s the team I was ultimately assigned to.

How do you believe the 84.51° Development Program compares to other comparable programs?
It’s common for Engineering programs to offer a two-year rotation program, rotating though diverse types of role. This type of program works great if you are less decided on what you want to do. If you know you’re passionate about data science, a more accelerate approach, like what is offered at 84.51°, works better.

How do you believe the Development Program equipped you for success at 84.51°?
The Development Program helped me discover the right role that complemented my technical skillset. I came in thinking my role would be more consulting-focused, but was happy to pursue a career in Data Science.

What did you learn from the Development Program that you have transferred into your current role?
The best part of the Development Program is the connection you make with other new hires. These relationships give you visibility into the work happening across the company. It’s nice to make connections between your work and others’ work.

Is there anything you wish you had known about the Development Program prior to enrolling?
I wish I had known more about the exciting technical changes within the company. I was a heavy Python user in college and in my internships, and I’m glad we’re starting to adopt Python at 84.51°. That’s something I didn’t realize I’d get to be a part of. I thought it would be a lot more SQL-focused.

What has been the most memorable experience or favorite project you’ve worked on?
Working on OptUP, a new Kroger health app, has been my favorite project. It’s the first time I can physically show people what I do – since it can be hard to explain data science to family and friends. It’s rewarding to work on a project the helps customers make healthier shopping decisions.

What advice would you give students who are interested in working in the consulting industry?
Continue to be passionate about learning. Develop Python and R skills. I also read tech blog posts from other companies, which keeps me up to date on current trends.

What’s your favorite part about working at 84.51°?
I appreciate the generous vacation time. Not being from Cincinnati, it gives me the ability to work from home on Friday and be home in Pittsburgh visiting my family. Other companies weren’t nearly as generous with those types of benefits.

What do you like to do in your free time, outside of work hours?
I like to go hiking and spend time outside. Recently, I’ve hiked in Red River Gorge and Ault Park. I live downtown, close to Washington Park. I go there often to eat dinner outside, enjoy festivals or listen to live music.