We sat down with Marina Nitze, a former CTO and entrepreneur, to address questions from our participants that are considering freelancing or starting their own businesses. Marina started her career in 2000 with a business as a web developer for celebrity websites, and 13 years later, she was serving as CTO of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2013-2017). During her career in government, Marina helped found the United States Digital Service and served as a Senior Advisor on technology in the White House under the Obama Administration. Marina’s portfolio included vets.gov, a single digital destination for Veterans to manage, apply for and track the benefits they earned. Her team was also the first to bring commercial cloud computing and modern development practices, including continuous integration and deployment, to the VA.
Marina shared insights about how to launch your own business, how to find freelance work, and the power of being curious and solving problems.
“Once a customer gets to know you and sees that you’re good at ‘X’ – whatever ‘X’ is – they are probably a lot more inclined to let you do ‘Y’ even if you maybe aren’t as good at ‘Y’, so looking for those growth opportunities can be pretty cool.”
Marina is currently a Public Interest Tech Fellow for the think tank New America, where she focuses on best practices in child welfare.