Skip to main content

Women in IT
March is Women’s History Month and ITS is celebrating by highlighting women and nonbinary Tar Heels in technology. All month long, ITS News will share profiles and Q&As to share the breadth and diversity of the Carolina women-in-tech experience. For the full list of profiles and to read some historical perspective, visit Celebrating Women’s History Month: Carolina women in IT.


Porschia Holmes' headshot.
Porschia Holmes

About Porschia Holmes

Porschia Holmes has supported UNC-Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy as an IT technician for nearly 10 years. She has a bachelor’s in computer information sciences and business administration with a concentration in computer information systems from North Carolina Central University. Holmes is an athlete, coach and, ultimately, a team player.

Tell us about your current role and what you do.

As an IT technician in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, my job entails providing on-site technical support to faculty and staff, helping them troubleshoot issues with research labs, software and other technology tools. My role requires a combination of hands-on work and behind-the-scenes tasks, such as configuring networks, installing software and maintaining hardware. I also help faculty incorporate technology into their teaching by providing training and assistance with educational software and other tools. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is working collaboratively with my colleagues to find creative solutions to complex technical challenges.

What path led you to IT and where you are now?

My interest in IT stems from a combination of my natural curiosity about how things work and my desire to help others. I have always enjoyed tinkering with technology, fixing computers and figuring out how to solve problems. I find it incredibly satisfying to help someone else overcome a technical issue, whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague. These experiences inspired me to pursue a career in IT, where I can use my skills and passion to make a positive impact.

What excites you about the future of your field?

The field of IT is constantly evolving and presents exciting new challenges every day. Working in an academic environment like the Eshelman School of Pharmacy exposes me to a wide range of cutting-edge research and innovative teaching methods. It’s truly inspiring to see how technology can be used to push the boundaries of knowledge and enhance the learning experience for students. As an IT technician, I am constantly learning new skills and techniques to keep up with the latest advances in technology. I also appreciate the collaborative nature of IT work, which requires me to work closely with my colleagues to find the best solutions to technical challenges.

Has your gender been a factor in your career trajectory, path or choices? How so?

As a woman in IT, I have faced some unique challenges and opportunities. One of the most significant challenges has been breaking through gender stereotypes and expectations to be taken seriously as a technical expert. However, I have also found that being a woman in a male-dominated field has given me a unique perspective and skill set. For example, I have found that my communication skills and ability to work collaboratively have been valuable assets in my IT work. I have also had the benefit of working with supportive colleagues who recognize the value of diverse perspectives and are committed to promoting gender equity in the field.

Have you had a mentor in your career or someone else who made a difference for you? Have you mentored others?

Throughout my career in IT, I have had the benefit of working with mentors who have provided guidance and support. One mentor who has been particularly influential is Yatia Hopkins, eSentire’s Chief Cyber Resilience Officer and Field CTO. Yatia has provided invaluable advice and encouragement to women in IT, including myself. One of the most important lessons I have learned from Yatia is the importance of building a strong team environment that emphasizes collaboration and continuous learning. In my current role, I prioritize mentoring and developing my colleagues to help them achieve their full potential.

What would make it possible for more women to work in IT?

Women possess many innate skills that are well-suited to the field of IT. For example, women often excel at research, problem-solving and collaboration, skills that are essential in IT work. I have found that my ability to empathize and communicate effectively with others has been particularly valuable in my IT work. Additionally, women bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table, which can lead to more creative and innovative solutions. While women have historically been underrepresented in IT, I am optimistic that this is changing and that more women will pursue careers in the field.

What resources do you recommend for women who are looking to start or advance their IT careers?

The list of resources has essentially doubled since I started in the field, and it is honestly how I keep up today. Online trainings in Udemy, Wireshark, Cntnuggets, YouTube, and now linked with LinkedIn Learning. I spend a lot of time learning from Network Chuck and Network Engineer Academy. Since that is the field I am most interested in.
ITS provides free LinkedIn Learning access to all UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty and staff. Activate your account using your Onyen to get started.

What career advice do you have for women in IT?

Making a career change can be daunting, but it is never too late to pursue your passions and goals. The field of IT offers many opportunities for growth and fulfillment, and it’s never too late to get started. The most important thing is to identify your interests and strengths, and then commit.

Comments are closed.