Alumni Profile: Courtney Duquette - Christopher Newport University


Alumni Profile: Courtney Duquette

Courtney Duquette ‘16 launches promising new career as a software engineer at Capital One.

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Duquette’s advancement in the computer science field is significant not just for her impressive skills, but also in light of the statistical odds against her. In 2015, a survey done by The Huffington Post reported that women held only about 30 percent of all technical positions in the U.S. and an even lower percentage of leadership jobs. Just one year later, Duquette became a lead programmer for Capital One while simultaneously working to complete her master’s degree at George Washington University.

A computer science major with a minors in leadership studies and mathematics, Duquette sought to make the most of her time at Christopher Newport given her lofty goals. “CNU prepared me to accomplish any task in my way,” she says. “I learned exceptional problem-solving skills, how to think outside the box and how to adapt to new technology quickly, all of which has served me well at Capital One.”

Duquette was initially hired by Capital One as a software engineer and directed to work on one of the bank’s new applications that was being used to improve search features for Capital One users. Duquette’s position required her to expand the application’s ability to process data. After several attempts, Duquette had a working program. “I was finally able to settle on a design that was stable and could process over nine million units of data within a single week,” she says. After observing her drive and success, Capital One promoted her to the position of lead programmer after only three months on the job.

After her promotion, Duquette was asked to present at two conferences in Richmond. “It was very difficult to be considered for these conferences,” she explains. “About 400 people submitted proposals and they accepted about 16 of them.” The first conference included software engineering topics ranging from cloud, machine-learning and data subjects, while the second conference pertained to a Capital One event called Data Week. “This event is geared toward the producers and consumers of data,” she says. “There were 1,500 people in attendance, and I was able to present my work and have one-on-one conversations with our users.”

While having enjoyed success since graduating from CNU, Duquette has returned to her alma mater on several occasions as a recruiter for Capital One. “I have always loved recruiting and did it often for the Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering (PCSE),” she says. “I especially wanted to come back because I realized CNU does not have a large presence in Capital One’s technology department and I wanted to change that. Since then, I have been able to recruit two more CNU students from the PCSE Department.”

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