Chris Rapposelli-Manzo

Chris Rapposelli-Manzo

Principle Lead Member of Technical Staff
Wall, NJ, United States
Chris Rapposelli-Manzo
Ask a Question:
Required field
Please note
The engineers who take the time to respond to student questions on this forum are often very busy and may not respond to some questions, particularly those that have been answered elsewhere. Please be sure to review previous questions and answers to see if your question may have already been addressed.
Enter the code shown: (only upper case)


I have 25 years of professional experience and almost 9 years as a working mother. I am currently working in a project management and engineering support role for data mining applications at AT&T Labs as a Principal Technical Staff Manager. I've been involved in metrics development, "Voice of the Customer" methodologies, the front end of systems engineering, and new product and service realization processes. In March 2012, I was awarded a patent related to these fields. My strong interest in mathematics and science led me to choose a career in engineering, seven years of which were spent in software engineering. I attended the State University of New York at Binghamton, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math, Computer Science, and Spanish Literature and Language. I was then hired by Northrop Grumman, where I developed software systems for military aircrafts. The work was challenging, fun, and rewarding. I’m also grateful for the mentoring I received and teamwork and friendships I established there. Next, I took a position with AT&T Bell Labs as a software engineer while attending night classes at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey and obtained my master's degree in Computer Science. I was involved with projects having to do with data communications equipment, an optical character reader for automated mail sorting for the US Postal Service, and Fixed Wireless systems. I enjoyed the first tier systems engineering work at the customer interface and high-level software design, which led me to pursue a position in process engineering. In this engineering field, I applied the same engineering techniques to more business-oriented applications, such as sales, provisioning, maintenance, billing, and other business operations, with the goal of bringing new offers into service and reducing costs by creating efficient work processes. In continuing my education, I obtained an AT&T sponsored MBA certificate from Wharton University and a masters certificate in Project Management from George Washington University. I also completed numerous continuing educational courses in both the business and technical fields. I co-chaired a volunteer program called the Systems Engineering Talks Program (SETP), where we mentored and encouraged women and minorities to pursue careers in systems engineering and linked students with AT&T's summer internship programs. I now spend much of my free time supporting my children’s curiosity and learning not just academically but also through sports, art and music. I’ve been playing guitar and violin since I was child and played in a band until having my second child. I have since focused on improving my playing and singing and providing music exposure and lessons to my children. My family and I also enjoy other interests together such as cooking, yoga, biking, dancing, and skiing. Balancing work, family and “me” time is not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it. I remind myself that "If it's going to be, then it's up to me”. My advice to you is to clearly identify your priorities and goals, and use your time to create a rewarding life. Anyone wishing to speak further can reach me at

Answers by Ms Chris Rapposelli-Manzo

I’m not really sure how to answer this.  In the 80’s, when there was a shortage of programmers, I would have given an enthusiastic “Yes!”  I know accounting, history and English majors who became programmers.  However, today, in light of the economy and many more college degrees available, I would guess that there is great competition for technical jobs especially with big name companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, but I don’t know for sure.  Some companies are more open minded to bringing in new talent with diverse backgrounds and are willing to train.  You might be best served by getting in touch with the HR departments of these companies and asking them directly.  Another path to take is  to get your MS in an IT field.  

While I did not go back to school or study for a major licensing exam after having a baby, I can provide this advice.  My view is that it is possible if you are very structured and process oriented and if you are diligent in getting your child on a regular schedule.  There are several very good books out there that provide advice on this topic.   One is the “Baby Whisperer.”  There is another that I read but the name escapes me.  The author is rather militant, but you can pick out what makes sense to you.  You will have to plan to do nothing other than take care of your child, yourself, your house and study.  You will also need the support of your spouse and should work out roles and responsibilities to assist your goal.  If you have family close by you may want to enlist help from them as well.  Depending on your situation, and if necessary, you may want to consider getting a sitter for a few hours a week so you can focus on studying.

Your view that the first 3-4 months are for the baby and recovery is right on.  The 4th trimester as it is termed, requires pretty much full time self care and child care especially if you are nursing (which is a wonderful thing and I highly recommend it).  Now, there is always the risk that you could have a difficult baby and that may slow you down, but again if you are diligent with going through the “pain” of training your baby and getting him/her on a regular schedule, life will be much easier.  I also recommend that you really try to do this with your first child.  It only gets more difficult with a second.

Congratulations and Best of luck!

Hi Tierra I dont know what classes your high school offers, but I would suggest taking whatever computer design and programming classes they offer as well as Math and science classes. If your school district has a special computer-math-sciences high school/program, I would suggest that you find out what the pre-requisites are for getting in and working towards that. Where I live, they offer specialized high schools in several areas and one of them is a Technical School for students with a strong interest and high grades. Computer programmers could work with a wide range of programming languages. It really depends on what area of programming you are interested in. Learning a basic language first and then moving into more complex object oriented languages might be a plan. I am presently working in the area of Data mining with web interface tools. We use Oracle Databases and associated programming languages such as PL/SQL, SQL and PERL for the DB programming and reporting. For the web interface we use JAVA, Spring/Hibernate. Before you begin programming a system or tool, you may also be involved in the up-front stages of the process sometimes called Systems Engineering. Here, you will need to understand customer needs and transform them into several levels of technical requirements starting at a high level to very detailed low level requirements. Once the requirements are complete, you would then design your system/tool prior to actually programming and testing it. I started out at the more detailed technical requirements, design, programming and testing level and after many years, moved into the Systems Engineering areas of collecting and understanding customer needs and transforming them into technical requirements. Whether or not the field is hard is a difficult question to answer. It really depends on you. It may come very easy to some and it may be very challenging to others. Either way, the important thing is that you find it enjoyable and personally rewarding. I hope this helps and if you have further questions, Id be happy to respond. Thanks, Chris