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Interview: Camille Kohler

Why did you decide to start your own company?
I've always seen myself as a business owner and wanted to run my own company.  Many of the people in my family are entrepreneurs so that felt like a natural path. After working for another consulting firm here in Alaska for several years, I saw that there were opportunities to pursue and that I had the support that I needed from my family and friends to embark on this adventure.  

The timing was perfect too, as I was fixing to celebrate my 40th and my youngest was heading off to elementary school.  It was time to make the change.  So, five years ago in January, I started neXus Data Solutions so that I could serve clients on my own terms and in my own way.  It hasn't always been an easy path, but it's certainly a rewarding one.  I love my work and I have an awesome team of developers! 

Do you think IT World is getting more women involved or is complete opposite? What can we do in order to get more women in IT?
I think we're heading in the right direction; there's certainly more awareness around the imbalance between men and women in the IT field.  It's important to include women not because we do the job better than men but because we bring a different perspective to the table.  That's a balance that's needed in this industry.  I love these great organizations working towards getting girls/women into tech like Girls Who Code, Girls in Tech, and   We need to continue to encourage and lift each other up in this fashion.

This industry is a great place for women.  Opportunities for working from home and keeping a flexible schedule make it ideal for the person who wants to maintain a work-life balance.  For many years I have worked from home while raising my family; you can’t do that in every industry.  As employers, we need to create those opportunities for other women and provide the training they need to succeed. 

We have a great opportunity as we raise up this next generation too.  I really believe, at least here in America, that math classes with our rote memorization and heavy focus on timed math facts tends to turn off many girls who have that need for perfectionism.  Because they're careful in ensuring that every fact is just right, they do poorly in timed tests and get hung up by thinking they're bad a math when in fact they might be great at math and problem-solving.  With that, we need to be mindful of the way our children learn and find the best ways to present these more analytical subjects.

We must continue the momentum by empowering women in tech and helping others around us to succeed. The more awareness we bring and the more examples of women in tech that are represented, the more that other women will be able to see themselves working in this field. 

What is your favorite APEX feature?
I've only worked with APEX for four years now and do more managing of projects than I do serious development...I know just enough to get in trouble.  The close integration with the database makes it so easy to pull together applications and reporting solutions.  In the past we'd done a lot of development in the Oracle BI's so nice to go directly to the database without having to rely on the business model.  Along with this, the web-based platform has allowed us so much more flexibility in building beautifully formatted and super-slick applications.

Do you consider your career would be highly different if APEX had never existed?
Maybe not APEX, but Oracle products in general; the first IT job I got was because of the Oracle database experience that I gained in college.  I've always worked on projects using Oracle technology, Forms, Reports, Developer, BI but APEX has seemed to me the most straight forward and easy-to-implement solution.  The more we dig into the tool and work our customization's into our apps, the more impressed I am with the coding environment.

What would be your advice for Oracle APEX beginners?
Oracle APEX is a lovely blend of database and web technologies and having a solid understanding of SQL and PL/SQL along with a some training in CSS and JavaScript will take you far with the product.

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