Sona Maniyan - Stay-At-Home Mom Turned Sr. Data Scientist #62


If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to change careers into the tech industry (more specifically as a data scientist) after a long time as a stay at home parent, stay tuned!

Sona Maniyan received both her bachelor’s and master’s in accounting and finance. Subsequently, she landed roles ranging from consultant to customer service supervisor and financial analyst.

But Sona’s career path took a turn after a few years as a stay-at-home Mom. She decided to go back to school to become a software engineer. In this second phase of her career, Sona has held roles for the likes of Symantec, Target and General Mills.

In addition, Sona is also the leader for the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology and the cofounder of the Social Data Science meetup in Minneapolis.

If you are enjoying our content, click here to support us!

Episode Summary

“I wouldn’t say relaunching my career was just me alone. It took a whole village. Everybody has in some way contributed to help me get to where I am.

“I didn’t care so much about grades. I cared more about what I was learning. So I would do the harder projects.

“Data science is becoming more of a consultant role where we work very closely with the business. Communication skills and understanding business requirements are becoming a lot more important.”

—Sona Maniyan

Key Milestones

  1. What attracted Sona to finance and accounting at the start?
  2. What was it like living in Kuwait during the Gulf War of the 1990s?
  3. Why did Sona choose software engineering and tech? Why not go back into finance and accounting?
  4. While colleges have certainly gotten better at supporting working adults, they aren’t exactly optimized for it. What was it like going back to school a bit later in life?
  5. One of the things we see often on the show is how different backgrounds help people become better more rounded developers, managers and colleagues. How have Sona’s experiences in customer service, finance and consulting shaped her career as a developer and data scientist?

Additional Resources

Learn more about AnitaB and how it is helping women in technology -

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything - by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner -

Develomentor Ep. 20 JP Sherman – US Army PsyOps turned SEO Expert