Welcome to the Women in Cloud blog series, showcasing the talent of women who are working in our Cloud groups at Accenture.
Have you ever thought of a career as a gift? Amanda Jensen, the lead for the Accenture AWS Business Group (AABG) Transformation Services Offering, does. She’s a science and technology enthusiast who joined Accenture on her birthday in 2007.
“There’s always something new and challenging to work on with cloud migration projects,” Amanda said, describing her role as a front-row seat to the exciting changes happening as enterprises make their journey to public cloud. The AABG Transformation Services Offering focuses on planning and designing cloud migration strategies for clients, executing migrations at scale, and developing cost-effective cloud applications.
However, Amanda’s gift was not a given; she earned it through hard work starting in the third grade. “I had a childhood dream of becoming an astronaut,” she recalled. “My parents were incredibly supportive and encouraging, but in order to go to space camp in the fifth and eighth grades I had to get all As—so I became quite diligent and I did.”
Amanda’s curiosity and capability in science and math grew in middle and high school. “In my sophomore year, my math teacher recommended that I apply to the Texas Academy of Math and Science (TAMS), a two-year boarding program at the University of North Texas,” she said. Her parents agreed and she was accepted.
So, Amanda spent the last two years of her high school curriculum immersed in physics, biology, chemistry and advanced mathematics classes, learning alongside other young men and women who shared similar interests. The experience was academically challenging, but an important stepping stone to her eventual career.
“I was rooming with girls who thought science and math were cool subjects just like I did,” she said. “They are still some of my best friends today.”
Choosing the right bow for her gift
Upon graduation from TAMS, Amanda enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in the honors college to study computer science. A year into the program, she realized she preferred learning about the practical applications of technology and transferred into the business school. It was yet another instrumental decision.
“In addition to my studies, I worked as a teacher’s assistant helping to mentor students and develop programming courses,” Amanda said. “That sealed it…I knew what I wanted to do!” Shortly after college, she joined Accenture based in the Dallas office, helping clients apply technology to achieve competitive advantage in industries as diverse as oil and gas, government, paper manufacturing and financial services.
As a member of the AABG, Amanda has had opportunities to work on asset development, including a set of serverless and AWS Lambda plug-ins to optimize the AWS Cloud platform and a DevOps environment. Currently, she’s working to help a financial services client optimize its cloud operating costs through architecture changes and rightsizing the environment. “To date, our team has reduced costs by $1.7 million annually and there’s more we can do,” she said.
Amanda credits her mentor, Tony Harris, AABG go-to-market lead, and her Accenture career counselor for their support and guidance, as well as the variety of project opportunities.
Celebrating beyond her career
When not working, Amanda can often be found reading science fiction, mysteries and especially non-fiction books. “I typically have three books going at a time,” she admits. In many cases, her reading list inspires her other passion: travel. “I’ve been to all seven continents,” Amanda said, “and I plan to keep on traveling.”
Her most recent excursion was a hike from Vienna to Prague, after which she started reading an in-depth history of Prussia. Amanda’s trip to Antarctica was inspired by her subscription to Scientific American. And later this year, she and her sister are headed to China to see the forbidden city and Xi’an’s terra-cotta warriors. Of course, a copy of The Great Wall: China Against the World will be in her backpack.
Having a career at Accenture, with the added flexibility to travel extensively on her vacations, has been something that Amanda celebrates with each birthday.