Successful Berklee Alumni #11: Katie Amaral

Katie Amaral


Listen to the interview (about 48 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2009 with a double-major in Electronic Production & Design (then called “Music Synthesis”) and Music Business.  Principal instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Computer System Administrator at The Broad Institute, a large institution doing medical research.  Katie, one of 80 people in the Information Technology (IT) Department, writes computer scripts, develops their website, and keeps the computer systems running.

Overview:  In her first year at Berklee, Katie got a work-study job doing tech support at Berklee’s computer lab, which she did for the rest of her time at Berklee.  Her Music Business internship at Sonivox led directly to a job there doing customer support, quality assurance (QA), and marketing, albeit at a modest salary.   After a bit over a year, she was feeling under-challenged and wanted something more technical so she found online, applied for, and got a job with Aerva, a start-up that did digital signage, again doing customer support and some of everything.  After a year of very long hours and low pay she joined the family computer business, The Amaral Group, where she set up computer systems & software at other businesses (mostly in the Greater Boston area).  She worked there for 5 years, the last two of which involved her going to Boston University to get her Masters in Computer Information Systems.  A consulting job at the Broad Institute led to her being hired there full-time in early 2015.

You can see her LinkedIn Profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “Just being in an innovative environment surrounded by really smart people is really motivating.  I’m excited to do what I do!”

Always tailor your resume to each job you’re applying for!  You can make yourself look like a good fit.”

“Figure out what you want to do/what would you be happy doing and will help you pay the bills.  Then just work hard at it.  Don’t be limited by what you think you’re qualified for.  Also, there are so many resources online, such as Code Academy, where you can learn job skills for free!”



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Successful Berklee Alumni #10: Dan Thompson

Dan Thompson

Dan Thompson

(Near the end of the interview, we got cut off, so it’s in 2 parts.)  Download part 1 and part 2.

Graduated in 2010 with a major in Music Business (entrepreneur track).  Principal instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Senior data analyst at Nexant.   Dan designs, helps implements, and writes software code to analyze experiments to help utilities reduce energy usage by customers.

Overview:  Even before he graduated Berklee, Dan knew he was interested in policy.  He was living in New York, splitting his time between his Music Business internship doing publicity and political volunteering.  His internship  got him the experience to get a paid internship at Demos, doing communications.  That led to a paid half-time job with the same place 6 months later, while the other half of the time he helped with a socially-responsible investment fund.  However, Dan realized that to have a larger impact and advance his career he needed more technical knowledge.  Dan went to UC-Berkeley to get a Masters in Public Policy, and graduated in May, 2014.  While there, he found he really enjoyed statistics, so sought a job in that direction, getting his current position after reaching out to a alumni from his graduate program who worked at Nexant.

Choice quotes:  “Berklee’s environment honed my interest in creative problem solving.  I come at it from a more curious place.  It’s something I enjoy.   I go home and read statistics textbooks the way some guitarists go home & shred in the evening.  Most folks don’t learn the habits of treating work as a 24/7 lifestyle, but a musician can understand.”

Reach out to alumni!!!  It can feel like ‘Why would someone want to help me?  I’m just an unknown 22 year old.’   But the truth is often all it takes is you putting yourself out there.  Go understand what are people doing that have your interest and skill set. The first 3, 4, 5 people it may not go well as you don’t know what to say, but as you talk to more people you’ll be introduced to others, you’ll have learned the language..and you’ll be better prepared to impress people and land a job.”


See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.