Women’s History Month, which is observed in the US, UK, and Australia in March, and in October in Canada, began with a single day which is International Women’s Day on March 8, and it has been celebrated in various forms since 1911. In 1975, it was officially commemorated by the United Nations and was recognized by the UN two years later.
Schools, universities, businesses, and local governments used this period to not only celebrate the achievements of women, but to look critically at equality and opportunities for women, and educate people on women’s history.
The woman we are celebrating today is Jovana Mitic, a Front End Developer at HTEC, who is much more than just a FE Dev. She is a strong people development activist and a promising rising star in HTEC intrapreneurship practice. In less than 3 years working at HTEC Group, she managed to become one of the most inspiring mentors for and supporters of the young talent. Everywhere she goes she shines her knowledge and positive energy, as you’ll see.
Can you tell us about your beginnings in Front End development? What made you choose this profession?
Starting off as a JS engineer also matched my long-term career goals that are very IT industry business but also people-oriented. Being an engineer and working with people in a dynamic industry that has enormous possibilities for growth in various fields was really on top of my ‘dream jobs’ list.
What drove you to search for a career in a big IT company like HTEC Group? What are the differences between small and large technology companies?
The difference between small and big companies is big. Small companies are much more like families while big companies are regulated systems that need to have a good structure and clear vision, goals, and values. Big companies have resources to support the structured growth of an employee. In smaller companies employees are often under pressure to get the job done and there is little to no space for best practices and learning from experienced colleagues. Smaller companies also do not offer a lot of space for expressing professional interests that are not tightly related to the technology and the project that is the main focus of the employee in that small company.
By working in a big company I got so many opportunities. I am provided with tools for going through a career path that enables me to fully express my interests in various fields. I love the structure. I love constantly cooperating with different types of personalities. I love that knowledge sharing and clean code are imperatives.
Within my JS team – I got to mentor juniors, helped to build structure and universalize JDP, and am also interviewing candidates. On the project – I am involved in the product we are developing, I communicate with clients, being involved in planning huge features, and very focused on delivery. I have also made an application architecture and am constantly working with new technologies – which is fun. I have amazing people on my teams – both the project team and JS team – that I learn a lot from. They help me grow every day. I love that my company allows me the freedom to grow in all directions that interest me.
When you got the job at HTEC you went through our mentorship program, fast-forward to now, you find yourself in the role of a mentor — can you describe the mentorship process at HTEC?
HTEC Mentorship is one of those things that sets HTEC apart. HTEC is very focused on having high-quality engineers and isn’t afraid to invest in juniors and give them an excellent base for outstanding growth. Mentors are focused on their mentees’ careers and are finding ways to unify mentees’ and company’s goals and therefore enable win-win scenarios with both mentees and the company being satisfied and succeeding. Mentors are guiding mentees both through engineering and collaborating sides of work. Mentor-mentee relationships are important and mentors are paired carefully with their mentees. Mentors are providing mentees with continuous feedback and helping them set clear goals, uncover their passions, understand their professional surroundings, and succeed in their professional maneuvers in the shortest time with the most skills gained.
What do you see as the main challenge that young engineers face when they enter our mentorship program? What do they lack the most?
Not connecting practical work with theoretical knowledge. Being ashamed not to know. Not communicating their feelings and hardships. Being too agreeable. Being too defensive. Not having clear goals in mind. Seeing feedback as a drawback and not as an important tool for growth. Not seeking help. Not seeking feedback. Being afraid to fail. Not accepting their juniority as a normal part of their professional path. Not seeing the bigger picture.
What would be your advice for the newbies in this space?
Don’t be afraid not to know and express that. Don’t be afraid to ask. Listen to experienced colleagues. Find a good Mentor. Read about technologies you are working with and try to really understand them. Connect practical work with theoretical knowledge. Have a holistic approach to work – neither technical knowledge nor soft skills are enough on their own to make you succeed in your career. Have empathy. Look outside yourself. Understand processes and company goals. Always go outside your comfort zone. Always, always seek quality feedback. And most importantly – be patient.
Are there a lot of women that you work with at HTEC? What do you think of them?
Finally, our field has growing numbers of women coming to it. I am happy to have one-third of the employees both on my project and in my JS team be female. The women I work with are outstanding! Their work ethic is exceptional. Their conscientiousness is on a very high level. All of them are growing constantly and seek to be really excellent at their jobs. They are also really pleasant to work with. Some of them are also really breaking stereotypes. For example, one of my mentees is female and she is really hyper-interested in the technologies she is working with, is an excellent engineer but is also very assertive and speaks her mind. Assertiveness is not usually seen with females that early in their careers.
Which advice would you give to young women considering a career in the tech industry? Something you wish you had known?
You can be disagreeable and kind at the same time. Speaking up for yourself gives you integrity. There are no male industries. Gender plays little to no role if you are focused on productive career growth. If you want to do something, do it.