It's a well-known fact that an increasing number of women are choosing their career path in one of the professions from IT industry, even if their formal education and the knowledge they have acquired don't match the basic things and activities which someone coming from IT industry does. Stoja Obradović from Vega IT has an interesting life story to tell. We talked to her in order to find out more about her personal development as well as her transfer from the field of medicine to IT world. We present you the full interview.
1. Can you tell us more about your education and the very beginning of your career?
My formal education isn't particularly connected to the job I do. I graduated from integrated (bachelor and master) studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Novi sad, the Department of Pharmacy. I also graduated from PhD academic studies, a study programme - clinical medicine. In October last year, I defended my doctoral thesis. Therefore, nothing from this part of my biography doesn't say much about “software engineering”.
2. How did you decide to become a part of IT world?
Some information regarding the job of a programmer helped me get a better picture of what this job is. I saw it as a very dynamic profession that requires a particular skill of solving specific problems as well as constant improvement. These are, at the same time, the things that initially drew my attention to research work and science that I was focusing on at that moment. In the beginning, I became interested in that subject and got familiar with new concepts, primarily to satisfy my curiosity. Of course, back then, while I was learning one programming language, it never occured to me that I would be looking for a job in IT industry. Only after some period of time, when I learned more about it and when I (encouraged by other people from my surrounding) gained more self-confidence, did I start thinking about the possibility to become a part of that interesting world (of course, providing that I continue to work very hard and advance in the field of IT).
3. What attracted you the most to the world of programming?
Precisely the thing that attracted me to programming from the start. While trying to explain my friends my wish to research this new world, I remember comparing the feeling of learning a new language to solving sudoku. The job is fun, dynamic and challenging. If we have to spend eight hours at our job, we should try to make them pleasant.
4. Were there any challenges you needed to face when entering IT industry?
Before I dived into this world, I hadn't known many people from IT industry, and I didn’t know a single person that did this kind of job without having a formal education in that particular field. I had a hard time deciding to take the leap from the field of medicine into something unknown where I couldn’t rely on my knowledge that I had been gaining over the years. The biggest challenge was to gather courage and start from the beginning. Everything after that was more spontaneous. I am really lucky to work with a group of kind, patient and competent people that selflessly share their knowledge which is exactly what made the entire process of my learning and adapting to the new surrounding even more pleasant and enjoyable.
5. You are currently working in Vega IT company, more specifically, on the project “Doctor Care anywhere”. Can you tell us more about the project?
Doctor Care Anywhere is a platform whose aim is to enable people who need health examination to have consultations with doctors via video or phone call. In this way, the basic quality healthcare safety becomes accessible to those who live in remote or distanced areas, that are currently abroad. In other words, it is accessible to everyone who, because of some life circumstances or for some other reasons, are not in the possibility to ask for doctor’s advice. During the consultations the doctors get an insight into the full documentation that the patient delivered electronically and they have the possibility to keep track of the patients’ medical condition, assign appropriate therapy, give a prescription and doctoral recommendation, etc. The patient can also keep track of the indicators of their current health condition, and there are other numerous conveniences that this platform provides. One big and serious project is behind this idea and I consider myself very privileged because I am given a chance participate in it.
6. What's the thing you like the most about your job?
The people. I have a chance to cooperate with extremely smart and capable young people who have a very responsible approach to their work. The colleagues I work with have the knowledge and and the energy to carry out some serious projects, while at the same time succeeding in continually improving both themselves and the quality of their work. SImply, I feel that I am working in a healthy environment. That is why I appreciate other perks such as an incredible working space, various possibilities to improve yourself both personally and professionally, fun activities and other things that reflect the company's care for its colleagues.
7. How important is it to support young girls on colleges and in high schools that gravitate towards educating themselves for some of the professions in IT world?
Very important. It is vital to encourage young people to do what they really like and that is in accordance with their affinities. The fact is that mostly men develop their career in this industry and I believe this is closely connected to the children’s interests that have been nourished and encouraged (and influenced by the surrounding) since an early age. I am very happy to see that the situation has changed even in that department. I think it is necessary to motivate young people to educate themselves and advance by using the available resources, because I see that as the only way to maintain a full control over your life.
8. What is your advice to women who want to enter the world of programming and build their career in IT world, but whose formal education is not connected to IT?
As someone who came from a typically female profession, I can say that I haven't noticed that women are treated differently in this business environment. On the opposite, a large number of female colleagues are no different from male colleagues in terms of skills and business success. It's a pleasure to spend time in the environment where primarily work and competency are appreciated and supported and I believe that every step that brings us closer to that aim is worth the effort.
Software Developer, Vega IT