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Aniko Kovac: From Linguist to Machine Learning Engineer 

Recently, our amazing Aniko Kovac took part in a Startit Panel Discussion with three more panelists. They shared their challenges, fears, and tips on succeeding on a prequalification journey to the IT world. 

Watch the video. 

Aniko is a truly magnificent young woman who chose a rather unusual career path. First, she started as a linguist, and now she is an experienced Machine Learning Engineer. She has skyrocketed past everyone’s expectations, and she is truly an inspiration to all of us. We talked with her to hear her impressions of the Panel Discussion and hear some parts of her fantastic background story. 

The Synergy of Linguistics and Programming as the Main Drive 

Aniko explained that she used to be a hard-core linguist. Then at some point got interested in programming and then into programming linguistics which eventually led her to Machine Learning. She also says that the great thing is that she can use her knowledge of the language at work (in terms of syntax and structures), and she is also currently working on her Ph.D., where she applies the topic of Machine Learning in linguistics. So these two areas intervene. 

We took a moment to have a chat with Aniko about this panel and her motivation to enter the world of IT. 

M: What is your impression of the Panel Discussion?

A: “It was an enjoyable experience. When I saw the questions, I realized these are the people interested in becoming a part of the IT world or just about to enter the world of IT. I felt the same excitement when I was setting off on this journey myself by exchanging thoughts with them. I felt proud to set an example and be a sort of encouragement for those people. I really felt glad about it. I think that It is possible to move from any field of expertise into the IT world.”

Aniko also mentioned how exciting it is to work in HTEC Group because it allows you to develop and grow professionally. She thinks that HTEC Gropu is a place with open communication, creativity, and a world of possibilities to build the way you want to. 

“Since IT develops so quickly, there is probably much more flexibility here than in some other professions. I think it is important to share these kinds of stories at this moment when the IT industry is hungry for programmers. It is important not only to take well-experienced programmers but also to open doors to other people from different areas of expertise. Sometimes the core knowledge you gained in your primary field of expertise can mean a lot in the IT world. For example, linguistics helped me a lot in Machine Learning…There is an untapped source of people there.”

She mentioned at the panel that dedication and persistence are essential once you set out on this journey and that it is easier to choose this path if you feel enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and move forward. There is an opportunity for everyone to explore the things that interest them and choose their road to success. 

M: How did you decide to change your career path?

A: When I was in 2 or 3 grade, I attended courses like Windows 98, Corel, Photoshop. I actually completed all the courses. The only course I didn’t attend was programming.So, I decided to attend the course and was super excited to create lines of code that actually worked. When I was about to enroll in secondary school, my mom asked me what job I would do 24/7. Although I chose linguistics, programming has always sparked my curiosity. Also, I had friends who were programmers, so I wanted to learn some things from them. Eventually, I started programming, and I accepted all the challenges and more demanding assignments. This encouraged me to step into the IT world. But I soon realized that frontend was not something that moved me. So, I eventually got interested in machine learning. 

M: What was the biggest challenge you have come across on this journey?

A: The biggest challenge was to start working on a specific project in a particular company. Although I already had knowledge, I seemed to lack confidence. I knew the theory, but I was unsure whether I can actually create products. I knew most of the things, but I still needed mentorship. But, now, when I look back and see how much I have achieved during the last year in HTEC. I never thought I would be able to make it. Also, I believe that I am my own most fierce enemy. I tend to overcriticize myself, but in the end, it turns out I am wrong. I have to say that I had the same feeling when I came to HTEC Group. I thought I would not do the technical part of the interview, but, luckily, I had a great experience with Jelena Kovac, who recognized my potential.”

M: What advice would you give to anyone who would like to take the same road as you did?

A: You need to take your time to do in-depth research on what you want to do in your life. Otherwise, you may choose something that you will not like eventually, but then it will be too late to change things, and you will get stuck with something you don’t like doing. Although finding the ideal profession takes time, it pays off in the end, and motivation becomes much stronger. I would also advise my younger self to be more courageous to make the first move. Even if you feel your knowledge and experience is not perfect, you can still do great things if you have a strong will to move forward.”

To get to know our Aniko better, read Women in Tech: Aniko Kovac

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