Cotishea Anderson’s love for computers started early in life. After taking a basic computing class in middle school she was inspired and curious about the creativity in computing. During this class she was challenged to create a basic image with subtext and title to reflect her motivation for the year. As simple as it was, this image was something she held on to for many years and when she heard a guest speaker at her church talk about his career in computer science, she decided computers would be in her future.
Coming from a very small town in MS she didn’t have access to computer labs or equipment, but her family supported her passion for technology by purchasing their first computer at the start of her sophomore year in high school. The agreement was that she would repay the value by setting up the computer, fixing any problems and teaching her siblings and parents how to use it.
Cotishea agreed and to the asks and took all of high school programing classes available at the time to support her curiosity. She started her post high school education at community college before transferring to a four-year university. It was at the University of Southern Mississippi that she found the ideal on-campus job providing IT support to professors. Outside of managing a full class load she spent time helping professors set up their tech in the classroom, troubleshoot issues and assisted students in the computer lab. One advantage she had with her job was owning a set of keys to the lab. When the lab closed, she and her classmates would spend hours geeking out on code. They were all extremely curious and many nights worked until 2 am. Cotishea took initiative to build a community of people on the same journey as her who became her support system along the way.
After many years working in Telecommunications and living abroad for a couple of years, Cotishea chose Microsoft as her next big adventure. And she loves it here. For her it’s the perfect culmination of challenge and opportunity, change and growth. She is passionate about her work in CSE because no day ever looks the same. At CSE, she says, it is a true learning environment. Everyone is fully engaged in what they are doing and open to growth.
Cotishea also loves the opportunity CSE provides to empower their customers. She recently worked with a well-known healthcare company creating a customized solution to access their crucial data in one place. While she intended to shadow on the project, she ended up playing a much bigger role in helping the project launch in a short period of time. Critical to the product launch was balancing the delivery expectations with the customer relationship. As someone who supported professors and students in her college days, Cotishea stepped up to the plate and worked through the challenging situation. She assured the key stakeholders that the solution would be delivered with quality and worked with her team to progress the solution to completion. Despite having the challenges of the virtual work environment and changes to the team dynamic, the project was delivered successfully and the customer was pleased.
When she checked back in with them, they were progressing successfully, which filled her with pride.
Cotishea recognizes her field of work is not necessarily one she would have landed in if she had not been inspired by a computer scientist who looked like her.