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Meet Our Technologists: Ariel, Analyst

During Autism Acceptance Month, we’re highlighting the stories of our autistic technologists, including their growth and accomplishments in their roles for our client companies. This week, we’re featuring a Q&A with Ariel, who joined auticon in 2016 and currently works as a data steward on a client project.

What were you doing before you came to auticon?

I was taking a class at a school nearby where I live in Microsoft Office, refreshing my skills and learning new skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. I was also taking different creative writing courses, one in Novel Writing at UCLA Extension and the other in Poetry at Santa Monica College Community Education.

I heard about auticon (called MindSpark back then) from the Westside Regional Center. I remember filling out the application to enroll into the Mindspark Internship. The Internship lasted three months and included a class in which I learned basic software testing terms and skills. Then I was offered the Analyst I position.

What are your current role and technical project?

My current title is Analyst II and I am currently working for the Regeneron project as a data steward. My job is to inspect the data and verify its accuracy based on set criteria, which is critical to the business process. During my time on this project, besides learning the procedures in working in different parts of Regeneron, I also have developed more leadership skills. When my supervisor is out, I assign the records to the other data stewards in the project and keep them informed when there is a new priority task that needs to be done by a certain day and time and of any updates to the work we do. I also have helped trained new data stewards, doing meetings in which I explain the work at Regeneron and the procedures for each part. I also answer questions when any of the data stewards or project leads send them to me either via Slack or Microsoft Teams.

What have you gained from working with a job coach at auticon?

I have worked with my job coach on learning how to take better care of myself while working and learning how to better manage my anxiety and stress in terms of work. I have taken breaks as needed and found ways to recharge my body and mind. These include taking a quick timeout outside and stretching my muscles. I have also learned to advocate for myself when I need help with a task or when I need to take a break or time off and when I need to attend medical appointments.

What do you like about working for the client company?

Working for Regeneron has helped me develop more confidence in managing tasks (even when I am tired or anxious or stressed) and helping others to do the work. It has also helped me see that I can sometimes lead a group, though not full time.

What’s your favorite thing about working at auticon?

I love auticon not only for granting me work and therefore a structured routine, but also for promoting good health and high self-esteem. I feel I belong here with the friendly people I work with and the work I do and therefore I will never leave the company.