I am so delighted to introduce Alina to you all, she’s a talented Software Engineer who currently works for Hargreaves Lansdown in Bristol within their Java team. Alina tells us how she first became interested in technology and coding, as well as one of her greatest achievements which was being selected as a finalist at the Women in IT awards last year! She shares some insight into how she thinks the tech industry could become more diverse ? It’s a lovely read, enjoy!
Hi Alina, tell us where your love for technology and coding came from?
When I decided to go to Uni I originally intended to become an accountant but after the first year I noticed that I had the maximum grades for IT related modules so in second year I decided to go for Business Information systems and that’s how my love for IT started. I became fascinated by the business analytics and how we can transform ideas into coding, I could easily transform a business need into a script or a program, automating the manual work.
If there is one thing you are most proud of, what would it be?
Professionally, I am proud of my entire career progression. I started as a assistant manager in Romania and as time went by I always tried to improve my technical skills. I had the opportunity to work for companies across Europe and engage with colleagues in their native language like French, Italian and English from whom I learnt about their culture.
I moved to England at the beginning of 2016 and as a reward for my hard work, last year I was nominated for the Software developer of the year at Women in IT Excellence awards and got into the finals.
Personally, I’m proud of calling myself a multilingual speaker and being able to accept people for who they are and not what they do.
What goals have you set yourself over the next few years?
My career goal for the next 3 years is to become a team leader which will help me climb the ladder and become a CTO.
At the moment I’m working on my management skills, mentoring university students, attending different workshops about giving and receiving feedback, different personality types. This will help me understand the different style of working and will enable me to help others.
It is also important to have a deep knowledge about the different IT systems a company has and how they interact.
You currently work as a Java developer with Hargreaves Lansdown, what does a typical day look like for you?
I work in a team of 3 developers, 2 testers, a scrum master and a business analyst using Agile methodology. We have flexible working so I choose to start at 9am and shortly after we have our daily meeting were we discuss about what we have worked on, what we will be working on and we communicate our blockers if any. Usually this meeting is very short. Immediately after we start our refinement meeting where we discuss tickets that will have to be brought in the following sprints, we refine the tickets by either breaking them into smaller tickets or adding more information if needed or assessing the impact or implementation methods.
During lunchtime if it’s raining I tend to play boardgames in atrium. We have an HL boardgames group where people around the business can join. This is a great opportunity to get to know various colleagues that have similar interests. Instead, if it’s sunny I prefer to have a walk around the harbour side.
In the afternoon my main focus is on getting changes delivered.
HL has various groups like Cultural diversity group, Kaleidoscope, Mental health etc that I tend to attend their meetings and help them with their activities.
In your opinion, how could tech companies be attracting a more diverse mix of people?
Firstly I think an inclusive environment is very important because even if the companies are able to attract diverse people, they will leave if they will feel excluded or not a good fit.
To be able to attract diverse people we need to start with the basics: job specs, anonymity of data collected from resumes, diverse people interviewing the candidates, company groups where colleagues can find people with same interests.
If you could go back in time and hang out with your 13-year old self, what advice would you give to her?
I would tell her that she is on a good path and to have more trust in herself and embrace changes that happen as it’s part of the journey.
If there’s one thing you’ve taken away from 2020, what would it be?
This year had huge impact on me as my family is in Romania and I always said I’m only 3 hours away from them.
So I would say that I didn’t appreciate the liberty to travel, to see people, to be able to hug or even shake hands until they’ve been taken away.
If you could create a dream team, who would be in it?
An ideal team probably has around 5 members, so I would have Gordon Ramsay as the leader (obviously for his leadership skills and mastermind), fairy godmother as a scrum master(when things go wrong we need an enabler), Iron Man(innovation),Dory from finding Dory(positive attitude and getting things done in abnormal ways) and the Mandalorian(getting things done) as core workers.
What is your favourite quote?
In a world full of weeds choose to be a plant.
Thanks so much for sharing your story Alina, we are loving your dream team! Keep rocking. #womenrock
A voice for diversity in tech <3