Tech Lady Janine Harper on putting WiFi kiosks all over NYC


Interview by Breanne Thomas

Hi Janine! Can you tell us about your role as a support engineer and what you did before this?

LinkNYC is a network of Wi-Fi kiosks that are taking the place of phone booths in NYC. Every day, I am processing machine data and feedback from the public about our kiosks to spot trends and put out fires. Before I was pursuing a career in tech, I was a producer for Japanese TV news.

What’s been the most exciting part of the LinkNYC project for you and why?

I grew up in the Bronx, so having a role in changing the landscape of the city I love so much is not something I take lightly. We are working with a new product and rolling it out in one of the most amazing and famously vocal cities in the world. The most exciting part of the job is that there are new challenges every day and we never know what to expect. We are writing the manual as we go, so I am learning a lot.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to pivot their career into tech?

You can’t let anyone pigeonhole you or discount your past experiences. As a journalist, I used to stop people on the street all the time. This skill helped me when I went out with the UX team to talk to people in Washington Heights about our product. There are so many roles in tech so it is really important to get out, network, and find out where you could fit. My goal every day is simply to try to be a little better than the day before. Accept that it might be a slow process. You’re going to have to put in work, especially if you don’t look like you are supposed to be in tech.