#ClouderaLife Spotlight: Margot Tien, Software Engineer

#ClouderaLife Spotlight: Margot Tien, Software Engineer

A career in transition, a community in need, navigating uncharted territory to solve for both

From fashion to data flow, in this #ClouderaLife Spotlight Margot talks about her career transition from fashion design to cloud computing and her co-founding of Cloudera’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community Employee Resource Group amid the racial tensions of 2021. 

It started with feeling stuck and ended with a brand-new career (BTW, lots of hard work in the middle)

Margot is a software engineer on the Cloudera Data Flow Experience team, but for about a decade she worked in the fashion design industry. It was something she always wanted to do, and while she enjoyed the work she started to feel stuck. She wanted to work in an industry that was constantly evolving and breaking new ground. “I get a lot of satisfaction around constantly learning new things and expanding my perspective,” she said. 

After researching new career paths all roads pointed toward working with technology, and specifically cloud computing. She explained, “While most people don’t think of fashion design as technical, a lot of the behind-the-scenes work requires the use of software tools and calculations that appealed to my analytical side, and I saw software development as something that would be a good fit.”  

She began her journey by first joining a full-time coding bootcamp, at the end of which she participated in a series of mock interviews. A Cloudera technical manager volunteered to conduct those mock interviews and saw potential in Margot. He referred her to Cloudera university recruiting, which ultimately led to an interview. 

“While the interview process was smooth, I was anxious, and at a point where I was moving into uncharted territory,” she said. “I had self-doubt, but I knew this is what I wanted.”

“Since I’ve been working at Cloudera, what stands out the most is its supportive and collaborative culture,” she said. “I came in green and felt intimidated by this whole new world of technology. I had tons of questions and felt comfortable reaching out to anyone in the company for help. I have found this not to be the case in my previous companies.” She added, “The company also offers training opportunities through Udemy that have been very helpful.”  

After settling into her role, circumstances came into play that presented a new journey for Margot. 

Racial tensions gave way to a community of support and greater awareness

Back in 2021, welcome or not, the news seemed to constantly stream into our homes. Margot, like most of us, was just trying to get through another pandemic year, when she watched as a story unfolded around the senseless shooting of six Asian women in Atlanta. This tragedy, combined with frequent reports of violence against Asian Americans throughout the country, hit home. 

As an Asian American woman, she was looking for a community where she could express her anxiety and concern about these recent events and offer support to others like her. So once again Margot entered uncharted territory and partnered with Clouderan Ankita Koratkar to form the Cloudera Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Employee Resource Group (ERG)

What started as a community of support around recent tragedies grew into a larger community with a mission to “Partner with Cloudera to empower and support the diverse needs of AAPI employees while facilitating professional development and promoting cultural and social awareness.”

“It’s important for us to take time to learn and understand each other’s culture and heritage,” Margot said. “While there are many differences, through increased awareness and ongoing dialogue we also find the commonalities that bring us together.” 

As an Asian American growing up in California with parents of Taiwanese descent, she wanted to fit in with American culture. But as she grew up, she came to really appreciate her heritage. 

“What stands out for me the most about my culture is the trait of selflessness,” she said. “Putting family first before one’s own needs.” She added, “This carries over to the greater community, if you have the means and ability why not help?” This is the mindset she brings to her life and work with the AAPI ERG. 

Margot continues to create an atmosphere of support in her community and at Cloudera. Interested in working with others like Margot? Check out our current job openings. 


Gino Gemignani
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