Scholar Voices: My path to becoming an NBA Project Engineer
As a basketball fan, I was always curious about working for the National Basketball Association. The paths to NBA careers beyond the court aren’t as visible as those like Facebook or Google, but I believed it was possible if I built my experience and connections.
After graduating from Dartmouth College, I engaged in self-exploration and forging my own path. Continuing my education was an opportunity that several mentors encouraged me to pursue while the student lifestyle was still comfortable. I was later accepted into the Align Program at Northeastern University and began working toward my master’s degree in computer science. I completed the program in December of 2021.
Using my skills and experiences from Dartmouth and Northeastern, I knew I wanted to work in a role that wasn’t 100% coding and included product management. I wanted to make decisions about what features to develop based on intended uses and outcomes.
My job search process was untraditional for careers in the technology industry. The positions I thought I’d receive a response from, I didn’t, but I received unexpected interest from several companies including the NBA. I found my position through LinkedIn, and a recruiter contacted me for an interview. I went through a swift interview process that ended with an offer I accepted. After finishing my master’s program and taking a well-needed break, I began my role as a Project Software Engineer on the Stats Technology Product Development team.
Every day is different; there are lots of ongoing projects and innovations in the sports and analytics space. Although the NBA is an established company and brand with endless resources, it has the pace of a start-up.
Flexibility is the name of the game. While there are main projects that I work on, every day is different with opportunities to take on spontaneous tasks and learn new areas of the business. Everything that happens in the game is an event that can be used to analyze the sport from a unique perspective, track trends, help teams make informed decisions and find new ways to engage with fans.
I never run out of things to do and support my team wherever they need help. Although it can be challenging at times, the value I see from our team’s work is incredibly rewarding. My team is also very understanding and supportive. I love the work that we’re doing here.
Although the NBA headquarters are in New York, I spend most of my time in my hometown of Boston, MA, where I work remotely. It’s been refreshing to experience the city as an adult, especially since the pandemic. I enjoy reconnecting with my friends, exploring restaurants and hidden gems and playing pickup basketball 1 to 2 days per week, especially during the summer.
When I reflect on my educational experiences, I am grateful for the opportunities and exposure I gained at Dartmouth and Northeastern. The liberal arts curriculum enhanced my confidence and helped me connect and empathize with people while anticipating their needs. Exposure to web development, data visualization, human-computer interaction and various programming languages gave me a foundation for my current projects. Navigating the quarter system has also allowed me to transition smoothly into an adaptive work environment that requires problem-solving within tight deadlines.
I’m also thankful for the support of my family, mentors and support systems like TGR Foundation and the Earl Woods Scholar Program.
As I progress in my career, I’m excited to continue building my skills and experiences while using them to support my team and community. Trying new things through exploration, internships and side projects has helped me find the best sense of self-awareness. There are many opportunities that I thought were right for me that I now know I wouldn’t be happy in. If you’re intentional, put in the work and have faith, the best opportunities for you will come your way.