Marissa Twitchell

Software developer for Microsoft

Growing up, Marissa Twitchell loved math. In fact, she and her dad would do her math homework together. Her interest in solving technical problems influenced which classes she took at BYU.

After a friend mentioned computer science as a potential career, Marissa began taking computer science classes and ended up graduating in information systems.

Marissa Twitchell

Marissa and David Twitchell hold their son Neil for a family photo. Marissa and David both work for Microsoft. (Marissa Twitchell)

Now, Marissa and her husband, David — both BYU alums — carpool to work together after dropping their son, Neil, off at daycare. Both work at Microsoft in Seattle.

David said working at the same company is fun since they are both personally interested in the company’s success in a deeper way than simply being interested in their spouse’s place of work.

“We’re invested in each other’s success,” he said.

Carpooling to work has given them extra time to talk and be together, according to David, since demands of work and caring for Neil make it difficult.

When asked about his wife working, David said he has always been supportive of Marissa’s desires.

“I’ve always told her along the way — semi-jokingly, but also serious — is that I’d totally be willing to stay home and be the stay-at-home dad if that’s what we decided.”

David said Marissa likes doing both roles, adding “value to the home,” helping the family be more successful and working with Microsoft to “give back to society.”

Pew Research Center study supports this idea of giving back to society. The study reported that 73 percent of American adults believe an increase in working women has been a positive change in society.

Marissa said she and her coworkers bounce ideas off each other on how they would “tackle the problem.” Currently, her team fixes bugs to help Excel run smoothly.

Because she is “more math inclined,” her job is a good fit, although she said she wants to see more women in her office — even though Microsoft has the most women she has worked with.

“Hopefully, if working on those kinds of things sounds interesting, people would consider giving it a try,” she said.

Marissa Twitchell

Marissa and David Twitchell hold their son Neil for a family photo. Marissa said Microsoft has provided a family-friendly working situation for her and her family. (Marissa Twitchell)

Microsoft’s family-friendly culture boasts programs like a backup daycare program, maternity leave and a 12-week parent bonding benefit to accommodate different circumstances, Marissa said.

David and Marissa started thinking about daycare options when Marissa was 10–12 weeks pregnant. Because there are so many working parents in Seattle, David said the daycare world there is very competitive.

At the daycare closest to their home, David said there was a year-and-a-half waitlist for the infant class. However, with Microsoft’s parenting and maternal leave, they staggered that time during the seven remaining months after Neil was born and before Neil’s spot at the daycare was available.

“We’re lucky that we have jobs that provide that so we didn’t get stuck in a sticky situation,” he said.

He and Marissa discussed other daycare options like in-home nannies or in-home daycare. However, David said they are happy with their daycare because of the class structure, teachers and professionalism. David said the in-home options bring difficulties such as finding replacements if the in-home nanny or daycare person gets sick or takes time off.

Marissa said either working or staying home full time is “wonderful.” For Marissa’s family, having both spouses work has taken some pressure off the household.

“Everything is just shared,” David said. “She’ll cook sometimes. I’ll cook sometimes, and the other one will just play with Neil and make it work.”

Marissa didn’t like the idea of pressuring her husband to be the family’s “sole breadwinner.” Plus, being involved, solving problems and helping things run smoothly is what Marissa likes most.

According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of American adults believe a marriage where both spouses work and care for the family and home “provides a more satisfying life” than a marriage where the husband works and the wife stays home.

Being a woman and working has helped Marissa realize she can bring “different things to the table” because she thinks differently than her male coworkers.

“Everybody’s looking for women in tech for that different perspective,” David said.