respected author, consultant, programmer, and Exchange, Outlook,
Access, SQL integration expert
This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive
interview with the highly respected author, consultant,
programmer, and Exchange/Outlook/Access/SQL integration
expert, Patricia Cardoza.
Patricia has authored many articles on Exchange and Outlook
for TechRepublic, .NET Magazine, and Microsoft’s Office
Communities page. In addition since 2001, she has been a
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in Outlook.
Her most recent book is “Special Edition, Using Microsoft
Office Outlook 2003.”
Q: Patricia, we thank you for taking the time to do this
A: Stephen, I’m flattered you wanted to interview me.
Q: You graduated from the University of California Davis
with a degree in Environmental Sciences. How did you get
into computers? Can you detail your major challenges, their
solutions and significant milestones in your career?
A: Well, you might say I was born into computers (my mother
will be happy I said this). She’s a math and computer
science teacher at a high school in the Napa Valley. Within
a few months of its release, she purchased an Apple IIe. My
first exposure to computers was playing Oregon Trail on the
Apple and writing some Basic code to move the turtle around
the screen. I used the computer a lot in grade school and
high school, playing computer games and writing papers. When
I got to college, I went through a few different majors
before settling on Environmental Sciences. I loved the
Environmental classes and would have been thrilled to find a
job in that industry but when I graduated the market was
flooded with qualified candidates. Luckily by then I had
already gained quite a bit of computer knowledge through
The summer after my sophomore year in college I got a job at
the UC Davis Career Center. One month they didn’t have much
for me to do and they had an Access database package that no
one had been able to figure out. My supervisor told me I
could play around with it in my spare time and see if I
could learn how to use it. I had never used Access at that
time and Google didn’t yet exist so I played around with the
software until I could operate it competently. From then on,
I was their resident computer expert. I used the software to
track all of the students that came into the Career Center
for resume and job advice.
When I graduated I took a job on campus with the Information
Technology Department. There I participated in several
research projects learning how people in the real world used
technology. I had a lot of freedom in how I accomplished my
research so I used the Internet heavily. I also continued to
develop my Access database skills developing a database to
track the various subprojects that were part of the research
project. After that I moved to the Center for Advanced
Information Technology on campus where it was my job to beta
test new software for the University and give presentations
on that software.
At this time (1 year after graduation) I decided I wanted to
leave the education realm and move into industry. My next
job was a great challenge. I took a job as the IT Manager
for a long distance company. I handled billing, commissions,
network administration and e-mail for the entire company.
When I took the job I was told, “We have this Windows NT
Server and no one knows how to operate it. Figure it out.”
Well, I’m always up for a challenge so I bought some books
and learned how to properly setup a Windows NT network. This
was also the first time I used Microsoft Exchange and
Microsoft Outlook. A coworker told me that you could develop
custom forms in Outlook and I was hooked. I designed my
first few simple custom forms that year. It was also at that
job that I learned a lot about administering Microsoft
Exchange Server. Since I only had one other part time
member of the IT staff and the company was growing, the
hours were very long and sometimes required me to work 18
hours straight. I wanted more of a normal life so I left
that job for an opportunity with a manufacturing company.
My duties there began with developing some Access databases
to fill some holes in their business system software. I
quickly realized that Outlook forms could help the company
exchange focused pertinent information so I started working
with Outlook development again. Two years later we had a
robust Public Folder application for requesting product
It was during the development of the Public Folder
application that I discovered the Microsoft newsgroups. I
used the newsgroups to get help with my Outlook development
questions. People like Sue Mosher and Ken Slovak helped me
learn the ins and outs of writing code within Outlook. Once
I started developing my application I began answering
questions on the Microsoft newsgroups. In 2001 I was invited
into the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Program. It
was a great honor to be invited to the program and it has
lead to so many more opportunities.
You asked about significant milestones in my career. I’d
have to list a few turning points that really opened doors
for me. First, my participation in the Microsoft newsgroups
really helped me focus my energies in the right direction.
Once I started posting my own answers, Sue, Ken, and Diane
Poremsky really took me under their wings and helped me
learn. It was through Diane and Ken that I made my entry
into the world of writing. Diane recommended me as a
technical editor for Special Edition Using Outlook 2002.
About the same time I received the invitation to the MVP
program. Once in the program I was able to network and meet
an editor for Tech Republic. That opportunity led to the
opportunity to do some editing for .NET Magazine. Soon after
to started editing for .NET Magazine, their Wireless
columnist left and I was asked to step in. Because of my
technical editing experience working on Special Edition
Using Outlook 2002, I was asked to submit a Table of
Contents for Special Edition Using Outlook 2003. The rest,
as they say, is history.
Q: As an independent consultant, what lessons can you share
with our audience? Perhaps you have a few stories to tell?
A: Timing is everything. I could tell many stories of
unrealistic demands and impossible projects. However,
because I want to keep working as an independent consultant,
I’ll just say that scope creep is probably the biggest
potential problem for any independent consultant. The one
story I will tell involved a Visual Basic application that
was supposed to extract contacts from an Access database and
save them in a local contacts folder. The application very
quickly grew to a large scale SQL database with the VB
application installed on a large number of workstations.
Because I had not listed everything my initial quote
included in detail, I ended up providing much more than
originally intended for the bid price. I’ve since learned to
detail exactly what my quotes will and won’t include.
The other lesson I learned was that I needed to set aside
separate office space in my home for consulting. When I
started consulting I would do my work while sitting on the
couch. I quickly discovered that I was too easily
distracted. Once I properly configured my office as a
private workspace I was much more productive.
Q: What are the major pitfalls in programming Outlook forms
and Access databases? Give us your secrets…
A: That’s a complicated question. Outlook programming isn’t
inherently hard; it just takes a bit to get started. Outlook
doesn’t make it easy for you to browse the Object Model.
There are only a few good resources for information on the
Outlook Object Model. The best resource is
Once you have a basic understanding of the Outlook Object
Model, you really only have to worry about a few key
problems. The first is security. Since the advent of the
Melissa and I Love You viruses, Outlook has included tighter
security. If you try to write code that accesses email
addresses in your contacts folder or tries to send email
without user intervention, security prompts will appear on
the screen. There are ways around these challenges,
including using Redemption (a third party DLL that helps
bypass some of the security features) or deploying a custom
form and public folder on the Exchange Server to configure
the proper level of security for your users. The other major
challenge, particularly when developing custom forms, is
that they don’t work reliably when trying to send them
outside an Exchange organization. Both sender and recipient
need to have Outlook installed and both must also be able to
receive Rich Text messages. Even then, there are no
guarantees that custom forms will work.
Access development is a bit more straight forward. Not that
there aren’t challenges, but programming in Access is
definitely more widely used and widely accepted.
Q: You have one in your home. Can you provide comments and
then tips for installing an 802.11g wireless network?
A: Security is definitely a consideration when setting up
any sort of wireless network. I recently went on a little
fact-finding mission for wireless networks in my area. I
took my tablet PC with a built-in wireless card and drove
around my local business district. I found five different
wireless networks within a 10-block radius. Only two of
those networks were secure. The other three I was able to
use to open
www.microsoft.com. Because I’m a law-abiding citizen, I
didn’t try to access any of their corporate servers, but had
I wanted to, there’s a chance I could have accessed
Setting up an Internet for home use requires the same focus
on security. I have a number of friends who have wireless
networks in their home. I’ve used the following analogy when
explaining the need for security on wireless networks. If
you leave your house in the morning, you probably lock your
front door when you leave. Chances are, even if you didn’t
lock the door, your house would be secure. The average
burglar probably won’t simply go from door to door and look
for the unlocked door, but, every once in a while a burglar
will decide to try your front door. If they find it open,
you’ve just made it extremely easy for them to rob your
Wireless networks work the same way. The average home user
probably doesn’t really NEED to secure their wireless
network. Chances are no one will ever try to access it.
However, you don’t want to be that very small percentage of
people who are hacked this way. So it’s always a good idea
to secure your wireless network. Most wireless access points
and routers have a fairly easy encryption utility. Most
generate the encryption key for you from a word or phrase
Q: You have a Pocket PC Phone Edition—what are the pros and
A: I love my Pocket PC Phone Edition. I use the Samsung i700
on Verizon’s network. Having the phone has enabled me to
leave my laptop at the office when I go out of town for the
weekend. I can check my email from anywhere without having
to lug the five pound laptop with all its external cables
with me. It’s also possible for me to use my Pocket PC Phone
to serve as a wireless modem for my laptop. This enables me
to have high speed access anywhere Verizon’s high speed
network is available.
In addition to using the Pocket PC Phone as my cell phone
and occasional modem, I have a horrible memory. I need to
write everything down. I create notes and tasks for me for
everything I need to do. From remembering to buy eggs at the
grocery store to remembering to backup my server once a
week, everything goes in my PDA.
The only con to having the Pocket PC Phone is that I tend to
be too connected. Even when I’m on vacation, I check my
email. While that often means I can fix small problems
before they turn into big problems, it also means that
sometimes I don’t relax as much as I should.
Q: Why write the book?
A: Well, I asked myself that very same question every time
writing kept me up past 2 am in the morning. I wrote the
book because I love a challenge and I love sharing my love
and knowledge of Outlook with others. I’ve never backed down
from a challenge and this was the biggest challenge of my
career. It’s also been one of the biggest risks. After all,
I put a large part of my wealth of knowledge into the book.
I just hope that the book can help users as much as I want
Three years ago, I decided I wanted to get into writing.
When I made that decision, I set a goal for myself. I wanted
to collaborate on my first book before 2005. When the
opportunity presented itself a full two years before my
goal, I had to jump at it.
Q: You have spent considerable time becoming a recognized
expert in Outlook. Why Outlook?
A: There are days I ask myself that very question. I suppose
I chose Outlook rather than Word or Excel because it was a
lesser-known product. When I first started developing in
Outlook, very few people were fluent in Outlook development.
I saw an opportunity to push the boundaries of Outlook’s
capabilities and create a true collaborative solution. I
know one of the biggest challenges for any corporation is to
facilitate communication. No matter how many different ways
people have to communicate with each other, there will
always be communication gaps. I feel Outlook, used properly,
can help any company solve many communication problems. No
program or process can produce perfect information exchange,
but developing custom forms in Outlook, when used with
Exchange Server, can help people communicate effectively.
Q: Describe the evolution of Outlook from 2000 to 2003. What
new features were added? Why would businesses want to
upgrade to 2003?
A: I feel Outlook 2003 is a significant upgrade from all
previous versions of Outlook. From the new Reading Pane to
Spam filtering to Cached Exchange mode, there are just so
many reasons to upgrade. Cached Exchange mode will make
offline users quite happy as their entire mailbox is
automatically synchronized every time they are connected to
their Exchange Server. Users of Cached Exchange mode will
never leave the office having forgotten to synchronize their
I think that the timing is perfect for many corporations to
upgrade. As much as Microsoft would prefer companies
purchase each new version of Microsoft Office, the reality
is that a majority of corporations only upgrade every other
version. As many corporations purchased new computers around
the year 2000, in part to replace non-Y2K compliant
machines, Office 2000 was the current version of Microsoft
Office. A general rule is that a business computer lasts
approximately 3-4 years. So the timing is perfect for
corporations to replace aging machines and an aging version
of Microsoft Office.
From my experience, Office XP (2002) didn’t provide enough
significant advantages to impel corporations to upgrade.
Office 2000 worked well, why upgrade when there were few
clear benefits? The same isn’t true with Office 2003. In
addition to the new features in Outlook 2003, there are
entire new products that weren’t available in previous
versions of the Office Suite. Products like OneNote,
InfoPath, and Business Contact Manager work better when
installed with the entire Office 2003 System Suite. When you
factor in the advanced collaboration features of Office 2003
when installed with SharePoint Portal Server or SharePoint
Team Services, businesses can save time, money, and paper
with Office 2003.
Q: Which features do you like best in 2003?
A: I think my favorite feature in Outlook 2003 is the new
Spam filter. Since I answer questions in the newsgroups and
sign up for technical newsletters, I get a lot of Spam. It’s
unavoidable these days. Before Outlook 2003 I had to install
a third party Spam filter on my computer. I had to have this
product installed on all my computers that used Outlook.
That can get expensive if you need to pay for a Spam filter
for five different computers.
With Outlook 2003, I let the built-in Spam filter do the
work for me. I have no need for a third party Spam filter
now. Even on its lowest setting, Outlook filters
approximately 90-95% of my Spam with almost no false
positives. On the high filtering setting, Outlook catches
99% of my Spam with a very low rate of false positives.
If I had to choose another favorite feature, I’d have to say
the side-by-side Calendar viewing available when you either
have multiple Calendars in your folder list or when you’re
sharing a calendar with an Exchange user. This feature can
have several benefits. First, when used with Exchange
Server, you can see the calendars of your colleagues in one
view. So you can instantly see if everyone is available for
a meeting at a specific time. For home users, a soccer mom
can put her work calendar and her home calendar on the same
view to easily see when she needs to schedule time off to
watch her child’s soccer game.
Q: Tell us more about those special capabilities that give
Outlook its power but are often overlooked or rarely used.
A: I think one of the most underutilized features in Outlook
is Categories. Every type of Outlook item (emails, tasks,
meetings, journal entries, contacts, even notes) has the
ability to utilize categories. You can create as many
categories as you need. Once you’ve started using
categories, you can ask Outlook to show you all the items
that belong to a certain category. So if you create a
category for your biggest customer, you can use the Advanced
Find dialog box to search for all items with that category
and display them in one window. No other feature in Outlook
allows you to see notes, tasks, contacts, emails, meetings,
and journal entries in the same location regardless of
The next underutilized feature is the Journal. I don’t
advocate the use of the Journal for everyone, however
certain business segments can benefit greatly from its use.
For example, a lawyer has to track everything they do. Every
phone call, email, document, spreadsheet, and task must be
carefully documented in order to properly bill the client.
Using Outlook’s automatic journaling feature, a lawyer can
track all of these items with just a few mouse clicks.
Both of these features, categories and the Journal, can be
enhanced by custom forms and templates. If you need to track
phone calls with a specific client, you can create a custom
journal template that’s prepopulated with some basic
information related to the client. Creating some basic
custom templates can save a user a good deal of time over
the course of several months.
Q: Share a few real-world problems that can be easily solved
A: Hmmm, personally, since I use Outlook every day for both
business and personal use, I tend to think a good deal of
problems can be easily solved with Outlook. However, I
realize I’m not a typical Outlook user. I use Outlook to
manage my personal and professional lives. With Outlook
2003’s side-by-side calendars I can keep my business and
personal calendars in one view. I travel for business
several times a year and try not to schedule any personal
events or travel within a few weeks of my business travel. I
also have several standing commitments every few months. I
need to be able to view both calendars at the same time when
deciding whether to take on a new project.
I think a typical user can help solve some of their
day-to-day organizational issues by making full use of
Outlook’s calendaring and task features. By setting
realistic goals and dates to accomplish those goals, a
typical user can avoid conflicts between work and home life
(at least as much as possible).
Q: From a development standpoint, what are the strengths and
weaknesses of Outlook 2003?
A: One of Outlook 2003’s greatest strengths is trusted COM
add-ins. When Microsoft released the Outlook E-mail Security
Update in the wake of the Melissa and I Love You viruses,
many developers protested that these security features
crippled their development. Well, they were right. Any
programmatic access to certain aspects of the Outlook object
model or programmatic sending of email triggered obtrusive
security prompts for the end user. When this security update
was first released, I was appalled. After all, half of my
applications involved programmatic sending of email to
members of my company. But very soon after, Redemption, a
third party DLL was released which allowed developers to
work around the security update. However, the use of a third
party tool is almost never preferable to being able to make
the native application behave as you need. Microsoft
listened to developers and allowed all COM add-ins that use
the built-in Application object to run in a trusted space.
Their position was that if someone (a user) is going to
install a COM add-in, they trust the add-in so Outlook
should as well. An added benefit of trusted COM add-ins is
that VBA within Outlook is implemented as a COM add-in. So
all VBA code written in Outlook is automatically trusted as
long as the built-in application object is used.
The major weakness in Outlook development is the lack of VBA
support behind custom forms. True, you can accomplish much
of what you need to accomplish with VBScript. However, for a
beginner, just getting into programming, VBScript is harder
to learn. If Outlook forms had a richer development
environment, with a VBA interface, intellisense, named
constants, and debugging tools, a beginner could learn
Outlook forms programming faster.
Q: What other books and articles are you planning?
A: Currently I’m working on an Access VBA Programming book
with several other writers and soon I hope to start a book
on Microsoft OneNote, a new notetaking application released
by Microsoft this month as part of the Office 2003 System.
The book is the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft
Office OneNote. It should be released next year. In addition
to the books, I’m working on a new website exclusively for
the support of a new product, Microsoft Business Contact
Manager, a COM Add-in that works with Outlook 2003. The
www.bcmhelp.com should be up and running within the next
Q: What’s unique about your most recent book?
A: I like to think that I’ve provided a resource for a wide
audience. The book is long, over 1000 pages, but there’s
information included for beginning, intermediate, and
advanced users. One of my favorite features in the book is
the case study section, Improving Your Outlook, included in
every chapter. This section provides real world examples,
many from my own experiences, of how to use the various
features discussed in the chapter. I think that giving
readers some information they can easily incorporate into
their own business processes helps drive the information
home. Simply knowing that Outlook can display side-by-side
calendars is useful information; however, seeing how a
typical user can apply that feature often helps a reader
feel more comfortable.
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 is also
one of the only books on the market that contains detailed
information about Microsoft Business Contact Manager (BCM),
a new product designed to help the small business person
manage their accounts, contacts, and opportunities.
Primarily designed for those in the sales profession, BCM is
relatively easy to use with a myriad of reports and views to
help users manage their data. You can link all sorts of
Outlook items to your business contacts and accounts. I
really think it’s a breakthrough product for small
businesses and individuals. In its first release, BCM is
missing a few features that would be helpful, such as
sharing and customization abilities, but I’ve included some
workarounds for both of those problems in my book. I’ve also
included detailed real world case studies so readers can see
how BCM can be implemented in their company.
Q: Can you speak more about programming in Outlook 2003?
A: I’ve already discussed some of the pitfalls for Outlook
2003 programming. Programming in Outlook 2003 really hasn’t
changed much from previous versions. There is one
enhancement to the security features that some developers
will find cumbersome. Two Outlook properties that were never
subject to the Object Model Guard has been further
restricted in Outlook 2003. Item.HTMLBody and Item.Body are
two properties that are frequently used by developers for
custom forms and add-ins. Many anti-Spam add-ins in
particular use these two properties to examine the body of
an email item. Any access to these properties will trigger
the prompts that developers love to hate.
Because of these additional restrictions, many people are
running into problems with antivirus and anti-spam add-ins
for Outlook. If you’re receiving the dreaded security
prompts and can’t figure out why, check what add-ins you
have loaded. If you have an anti-spam add-in or an antivirus
add-in for Outlook, try disabling it very briefly to see if
that’s the cause. If so, contact the vendor of the add-in to
see if they have an updated version for Outlook 2003.
Q: You choose the specifics however can you provide
additional essential tips from your many articles?
A: Probably the most helpful tip I could provide for anyone
www.slipstick.com. Sue Mosher has created a
comprehensive Exchange and Outlook solutions center. Any
questions you have about Outlook, from administration,
installation, configuration, to programming and add-ins can
be answered somewhere on Slipstick. I couldn’t have gotten
started programming in Outlook without Slipstick.
Q: Predict the future?
A: Well, if I could control the future my book would sell a
million copies. But seriously, I see the next 10 years as a
very exciting time in technology. I think more and more
people will get connected either in their home or workspace.
Pocket PCs will continue to decrease in size and increase in
power. Already my current Pocket PC has more processing
power and RAM than my college computer. Within the next 10
years, I think you’ll see Pocket PCs that can run complex
applications with a rich user experience. There was a
commercial on TV about a year ago that depicted this young
stock trader using a pair of eye glasses that displayed all
of the stock prices scrolling by. He was using these glasses
to buy and sell stocks. Within the next 10 years we could
see a device like this become popular.
I think more people than ever will start to work either from
home or from other locations than their offices. Already
we’re seeing wireless networks pop up in local Starbucks,
Borders Bookstores, and airports. The more people who
continue to use these locations for work, the more wireless
“hot spots” you’ll see. I’m not sure if it will happen, but
what I think would be great would be wireless access from
the local cellular provider. I think it would be great if
one bill from one provider could give you wireless,
cellular, and maybe kiosk access to the Internet. That way
you’d always be sure of having a connection no matter where
Q: Can you provide a list of the most important issues
facing corporations and IT professionals today? How can
these issues be resolved?
A: I’ve always believed that the greatest challenge for IT
professionals is simply keeping up with technology. Someone
asked me once what I did in the evenings when I wasn’t
writing. They were surprised that my answer was that I read
technical journals, and surfed technical websites to keep up
with technology. In IT it’s very easy to get behind. If
you’re out of the loop for even a month or so you can miss a
lot of advances. The IT industry is definitely a “you snooze
you lose” industry. If you don’t keep up with technology,
you’ll soon find yourself replaced by someone who is up to
date with the latest technology.
The second major challenge for IT professionals is funding.
Despite the cheapening of hardware over the past few years,
a good server can still cost upwards of $20,000. Many
corporations don’t want to spend that much money on
something that merely sits in a room. The financial decision
makers of a company often don’t truly understand the
technology they are purchasing. An IT professional needs to
be able to justify the purchase of a machine robust enough
to handle the intended application. Many times that means
purchasing a system that exceeds minimum system
requirements. Justifying the purchase of a system in excess
of the minimum requirements can often be difficult. IT
professionals must become very familiar with the concept of
ROI (return on investment) and be able to defend their
hardware and software choices.
Corporations need to balance the leading edge with the
bleeding edge. If a corporation adopts new technology too
soon, they run the risk of spending too much money on the
technology and too much time working out the bugs in the
technology. On the other hand, if they wait too long to
implement new technology, they run the risk of falling
hopelessly behind their competition. Corporations need to
stay somewhere in the middle. I rarely recommend companies
adopt new technology as soon as it’s released. Office 2003
is the one exception. I believe it’s a very stable product
and offers great benefits to companies. With the majority of
other technologies, such as Windows Server 2003 or Exchange
Server 2003, I’ve always recommended that corporations wait
at least three or four months (and maybe up to 8 or 9
months) after the product is released to implement. There
will always be early adopters of every technology. Let the
early adopters work through the bugs and gotchas of the
software. Then a corporation can benefit from other people’s
Q: Which ten resources do you find the most useful?
A: I can’t say I use ten resources on a regular basis.
Almost all of the information I regularly need can be found
on a handful of websites. Here are the resources I use.
www.slipstick.com – Slipstick Exchange and Outlook
www.microeye.com – Microeye
www.groups.google.com (A great way to search the
(Web interface to the Microsoft Support Newsgroups)
www.google.com (I consider Google to be the best search
engine on the web today)
Q: Why do you do what you do?
A: Sometimes I ask myself that same question; particularly
when I’m jetlagged from a conference and have a deadline I
need to meet or meetings to attend. I suppose the main
reason I do what I do is that I love a challenge. I’ve often
thought that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had
nothing to do. I love learning new technology and I love
sharing my experiences with others.
As for why I love programming, that’s a slightly different
answer. I grappled a couple of years ago with a key career
decision. I needed to decide whether I was going to stay
with programming and development or whether I was going to
move into systems administration. I chose programming
because I loved the challenge of creating something new to
solve a problem. Systems administration is challenging, but
you don’t often get to create something where previously
there was nothing. When I implement a new database or a new
Outlook Public Folders application, I love knowing that I’ve
met a need and helped a company streamline a process.
Q: If you were doing this interview, what three questions
would you ask of someone in your position and what would be
A: Oh, turning the tables on me now? Well, you’ve definitely
asked some good questions here in this interview. I’m not
sure I’d have many different questions that I’d want to ask,
but I’ll give it a shot.
1) If you could add one feature to Microsoft Outlook 2003
what would it be?
If I could add one feature to Outlook 2003 it would be the
capability to share information between users not connected
to an Exchange Server. Back in Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000
there was a feature called NetFolders. NetFolders allowed
unconnected users to share Outlook folders through email
updates sent from one user to another. There are a number of
small offices out there who need sharing capabilities and
can’t afford to implement or support an Exchange Server.
NetFolders never worked all that well. It was flaky at best.
So Microsoft discontinued it with Outlook 2002. Since then,
there has been a definite hole in Outlook’s collaboration
features for individuals and small businesses.
2) What’s the one technology or platform you most want to
That’s a tough choice. Like many IT professionals my life is
a case of too much to learn too little time and too little
sleep. I would love to really delve into Visual Basic.NET.
I’ve used it a little and written a few simple programs with
it, but I haven’t had enough time to really become familiar
with the language. I think with my current projects, it
would be helpful to move from Visual Basic to Visual
Basic.NET, but until I can spend some significant time
learning VB.NET I’ll have to stick with Visual Basic.
3) The IT industry has historically been primarily male. Are
there special challenges being a woman in IT?
Well, personally I don’t really think about that too much
but I know it’s a typical concern of women entering IT. When
I first decided to work in IT in college, I noticed that I
was typically the only woman or one of just a few women in
the department. I’ve been lucky because I haven’t
experienced discrimination based on my gender. However, I
think that has a lot to do with how I carry myself. I’ve
always prided myself that I can hold my own in any
situation. Because I don’t think of myself as inferior to a
man in the same position, I don’t feel I’m treated that way.
I think careers in IT are great for women. My best advice
for a woman thinking of entering IT is to simply believe in
yourself. If you believe in yourself, others will as well.
Q: Do you have any more comments to add?
A: I really appreciate this opportunity. I’d like to take
this time to thank some of the people who’ve helped me in my
career. Sue, Ken, Diane, Randy, David, Maureen, and of
course my husband, Rob. I’ve been fairly successful in my
career. Part of my success is due to my hard work, but a
large part of my success has come from help and support of
Q: It was a great pleasure interviewing you and getting
first-hand, your accumulated wealth of knowledge and tips
for our audience—thank you!
A: Thank you for the opportunity.