Women in IT – stories of female programmers, consultants and project managers at Hicron // part 2

This is the second part of the interview about girls in IT. We present the success stories of 5 girls who have made a splash in the IT industry! Below are interviews with Alicja Słoma (Project Manager, almost 6 years at Hicron), Marta Zaleśkiewicz (Senior Technology Consultant, almost 5 years at Hicron), Ania Rutkowska (SAP Business Consultant, 5 years at Hicron), Ania Filipowicz-Szwaba (SAP CO Senior Consultant, 6 years) and Beata Janik (SAP Senior Consultant, 5.5 years at Hicron).

Hicron: In the previous part, we talked about what made you work at Hicron and about the professional challenges you faced. Now, let’s talk about your successes. Are there any?

AS: I regard every successful project as a success. I take great satisfaction when our Clients decide to employ our services for a longer time instead of only for a single project.

MZ: Getting to my current status, position and role cost me years of hard work, so I have to regard this as my tremendous success, but I am still working on my greatest one . . .

AR: Before my work for Hicron: creating my own company or organising an industry conference for 150 people and obtaining the patronage of three ministries. At Hicron: refining the solution for dealer commission management for one of the automotive clients.

AF: My greatest professional success is my first own implementation of the SAP CO module as a lead consultant in the project.

BJ: There is no specific success that comes to mind. Looking on the list of completed projects, I would find many, but I focus on the future rather than on the past. So, this greatest success is still ahead of me.

Hicron: What do you get from working in IT that is missing in other industries?

MZ: The possibility to travel, participate in training sessions, acquire certificates, learn languages and improve them in day-to-day work are undisputed benefits of working in IT. Owing to the tremendous demand for IT specialists on the market, the possibility of picking through the available offers gives great comfort. There is no denying that, in comparison with other industries, the financial aspect is also very important.

BJ: It is impossible to get bored in IT. New trends, technologies and solutions keep springing up. There is always something you are not familiar with, something you do not know. It is easy to set out new professional goals. I also value the sense of security. In IT, you do not look for a job – the job looks for you. You do not worry about losing your job, as, for instance, on the legal market.

AS: I certainly cannot complain of monotony. Every project is different, unique.

AF: I do not have much experience in working in other industries. I do know, however, that the IT industry gives a lot of satisfaction, is never boring and lets me learn something new every day. At the same time, it is very stressful and requires many sacrifices – in my case, it has a negative effect on my family and personal life. This is not a surprise to me. My employer told me what my job would be like.

AR: Work in SAP consulting enables me to travel, learn different cultures and speak other languages. To me, this job also offers prestige and independence in the financial sense and in the sense of where I work from. Learning SAP opens up possibilities. You can work from anywhere in the world. Sometimes, during the so-called HO, even from your own home.

Hicron: And can you learn something new? Acquire new qualifications?

AR: Work in IT, particularly in consulting, provides a better understanding of the business processes of a given company or industry. Naturally, international projects can be used to improve language skills.

BJ: If you work in IT, you can not only improve your knowledge of technologies and software, such as SAP ERP, but also learn to work in a team and become familiar with specific working methodologies, e.g., SCRUM. At Hicron, I have primarily developed my qualifications in negotiations and my knowledge of German.

AF: Owing to work in IT, I am able to better handle stress, I have improved my communication skills and the ability to work in a team. Owing to international projects, I am also improving my business English. Conducting training, in turn, lets you overcome the fear of public speaking and improve your ability to share knowledge. Working with the client has made me a more patient person.

MZ: This is a fairly individual thing, depending on our goals and what is important to us. As for me, working in IT has primarily enabled me to work with the people I love to work with. Owing to the projects I completed, I was able to visit places I had never been to before, enabling me to get to know different cultures. Participation in international projects also enables me to keep improving my language skills.

AS: In my position, soft skills, communication, developing good relations, discipline and self-organisation are particularly important. In my case, as a member of the team working on the implementation of web systems, it is also important to learn the current trends, including the ones pertaining to project implementation (e.g., using agile methodologies). Working in IT, on international projects also enables quick improvement of language skills.

Hicron: What would you advise to people, girls that choose the same path? What was important to you at the beginning and what is important now?

AS: It is useful to know the competence areas in IT. There are many free publications, blogs, social media groups or even public industry meetings where you can get to know the details of the given job and plan your career.

MZ: Computer science/programming is really not something that is only meant for men! I was very lucky to find a company where helping each other is something absolutely natural, which is why my colleagues have made it much easier for me to adapt to the new environment and new technologies. Being in such a close-knit team that works towards common goals instead of competing provides great working comfort. I know that I can count on others if I need it. Myself, I am also happy to help out.

AF: My only advice is to not to be frightened away by initial difficulties. At the beginning, I was very distressed if I did not know the answer to the clients’ questions. Now, I have the courage to admit that I do not know something, and I give myself time to find the answer and return to the client with a well-thought-out answer that I believe to be correct.

AR: I would advise girls that choose the same path to set their own goals, also with respect to their work. Starting with the simplest ones, e.g., passing the exam for the SAP module certificate, learning a new language or setting out the direction – what position do I want to hold after 5 years, am I more interested in being an independent specialist or do I want to focus on project management. Setting out goals is still important to me today.

BJ: If you can think logically, if you like to learn new things and if you like all jokes, the IT industry is the place for you. At the beginning, the most important thing for me was the opportunity to participate in training sessions, improve my qualifications and work on ambitious projects that look good in a CV. At the moment, it is more important to me to have an organised work environment with clear rules and a pleasant atmosphere. I do not feel compelled to do something ambitious, but I am happy to be involved in projects related to new solutions because I like trailblazing.

Read the first part.