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My tech story: Svetlana Voronina

“I sometimes feel I’m being listened to more because I can bring a feminine energy into work creation ”

Svetlana has a long-standing passion for programming, but she also loves working with people. Her role at WANdisco, Scrum Master and Project Manager, perfectly combines these two skills and areas of expertise.

Tell me about the path you took to your current job and what you do.

“I’ve always loved maths and programming since school really, where they were my favourite subjects. I did computer science and engineering as a degree, I really enjoyed programming, but at some point I realised that I liked working with people a bit more than with computers, because programming can be a bit isolating. You’re not communicating much. Working just with computers, I was missing working with people.

“I did a second degree in project management and decided to move into that area. I worked as a Business Analyst for a good few years and I would say it’s like project management because you’re in the middle of everything, talking to teams and bringing it all together, but it’s a bit more technical still.

“Then I decided to move into project management because I love the organisational aspect of it, but I still like to be technically challenged. One of my previous jobs wasn’t as technical but as a Project Manager you’re still very busy. But I prefer to be busy and technically challenged as well. So, this is what I’m doing now. I manage a couple of teams and I work as a Scrum Master.

“My teams work on different projects and even though I don’t understand all the technical aspects to them, I get a high- level picture of everything I need to know.

“I joined WANdisco about six months ago. In my role, it helps for me to know how programming works and how all the underlying things are done. I didn’t keep my programming knowledge up to date and it changes so quickly, so some things are now different, but the principles are still the same. I can understand where my developers are coming from and the more you do, the more you understand.”

Do you feel that there’s a lack of women in the tech sector?

“I don’t feel that way; I’ve never felt intimidated working in the sector. In fact, I felt that sometimes I’m being listened to more because I can bring a feminine energy into work creation. I don’t always understand all the technical aspects and I need help understanding that and everyone’s happy to provide me with that.

“When I came for my interview, there was a big diagram on a whiteboard that looked quite complex. Then someone I now work with walked into the room, looked at the diagram and said: ‘Oh this is how our system works, but don’t worry we’ll be able to get you up to speed very quickly on that.’ That was so reassuring; it makes you feel that you want to work for people who make you welcome and make technical things understandable.”

What do you think needs to change in your work or the sector as a whole?

“Sometimes I have a lot of back to back meetings. As a Scrum Master, we work in sprints and it can be quite intensive way to work, especially at the beginning and the end of sprints. Sometimes I feel like I’m being pulled apart because everybody needs my attention. I can’t necessarily give my attention to everybody at the same time, because I have only that much time in the day.

“We’re trying to plan better, stagger the starts of sprints so that they don’t all happen at the same time. There’s a flurry of activity at the start of a sprint usually and then the work becomes a bit more stable.  

“I really like working with people – this is why I’m doing this job – but sometimes it feels a bit full on, when you’re talking to people all day, every day. So sometimes when I get home, I don’t want to talk to anyone – I just want to sit in a quiet room!”

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