International Girls in ICT Day has been celebrated across the globe for more than 10 years. This celebration’s main goal is to promote ICT among young female students, as well as to encourage them to consider a profession in the field by showing them the amazing and diverse opportunities it has to offer.
To celebrate this day for the sixth year in a row, we organized an online session for more than a hundred girls. Our colleagues from different departments – from Talent Acquisition, Finance and Legal, to Product Management, Design, Engineering, and Quality Assurance – shared their experience of working in a dynamic industry that recognizes your talents and provides amazing learning opportunities. And when a company cherishes a strong mentorship culture like HTEC does, the possibilities become virtually endless—and, in turn, the risk of “making a wrong career choice” virtually nonexistent.
During the last decade, a lot has changed in our industry. We can really witness the change first-hand. At HTEC, 30% of our 1600 employees are women, with the percentage steadily increasing every year. We’re particularly proud that an increasing number of women are now taking managerial and leadership roles, too. That is why International Girls in ICT Day has a special meaning for us, as it gives us a chance to motivate young girls to consider a career in ICT by sharing alluring career stories of our female colleagues and encouraging the girls to work hard and dream big.
Don’t be afraid to strive for more
During our online session, the girls had the chance to listen to many of our colleagues, who have a wealth of experience in different industries. What they have in common is their constant drive for more, which eventually brought them right where they want to be – in ICT.
Jelena Kovač, our Talent Acquisition Lead, shared her compelling career path which, prior to IT, spanned consulting, construction, and the pharmaceutical industry. Her vast experience helped her get a comprehensive view of different processes and domains, as well as a better understanding of people and their interactions. She finds her current job truly rewarding—being involved in the recruitment and hiring processes allows you to recognize top talent and choose the best people for different positions, creating immense value for the company, and, in turn, for the general community as well.
Similarly, our Financial Specialist Julija Vasiljević came to HTEC with a wealth of experience. Having completed her business studies at Grenoble Graduate School of Business, she came back to Serbia and decided to apply the knowledge she gained abroad in her own country. She finds working in ICT different from her previous experience in other industries, such as banking, insurance, aviation, health care, and education. What she particularly loves about working at HTEC is constant communication across departments, the flexibility, and the amazing growth rates, which allow for constant personal and professional growth – which is why she recommended a career in ICT to the girls interested in finance.
Our Legal Counsel, Bojana Lukić, had a similar message for girls interested in law studies. She described her position as challenging and dynamic, offering plenty of interaction with different departments, and, in turn, great learning potential. By all means, the right choice for all the girls eager to always strive for more.
The crossroads of logic and art
Another great advantage of working in the ICT industry is that it takes into account so many different skills and talents.
Our Product Designer Marija Gavrilović gave an interesting illustration of a Product Designer being at a crossroads of logic and art. Mobile and web design are extremely dynamic, and in this profession, everything changes at an incredible pace. Marija encouraged the girls to consider this career, as the world will keep getting more digitalized. About 1/3 of designers at HTEC are women, and we would really love to see some of these girls join the ICT industry and help increase the ratio even more.
Just like Marija, Jovana Lozanov, our Front-end Engineer, found ICT to be the perfect place for a math graduate to further explore her interests and talents. Jovana has always cherished logic—but front-end engineering has taught her so much more—from tech knowledge to visual arts and soft skills, she has come a long way and enjoys the new role that helps her develop interests she wasn’t even aware she had.
Speaking of creativity, our Project Manager Darija Stamenković made a very amusing and unconventional comparison between project development and cooking—both include following a process, a set of steps with their own rules. Darija’s job is to make sure the entire process of project development runs smoothly, which requires excellent organization and cooperation with different roles and departments. She advised the girls to join student organizations and extracurricular activities, as it can be a good starting point for those who are yet to embark on a career-searching journey.
Good things are worth waiting for
Even though things may sometimes appear ideal for those working in ICT, the road to success can be quite long and bumpy. And the example of our .NET Engineer Katarina Radojčić perfectly illustrates this point. After completing her junior year of Software Engineering studies, she had to leave college, and spent a couple of years working as a waitress, babysitter, online English teacher, and more. Still, she was motivated enough to continue learning using all the available resources—online tutorials and courses, web lessons, etc. Her efforts have paid off, and she has learned so much more since joining HTEC and gained practical knowledge as well. She encouraged the girls to never give up their dreams and wished them good luck choosing their future careers.
This trial-and-error approach seems to be something our QA Engineer Anđela Mitrović is also familiar with, as her education and career paths have led her through history, journalism, and the truck dispatcher business, to finally bring her right where she wants to be. Anđela enjoys her current role, which, as she pointed out, includes “breaking things up”. After front-end and backend engineers and designers are done with their magic, Anđela tests their solutions to make sure there are no bugs and the users get a version that functions as intended. She advised the girls to not be afraid to “break things up”, as every experience counts, and if they do not like the choices they have made, with the right motivation, they can always start all over again.
Welcoming girls at our Niš office
To make the celebration complete, we hosted a group of 10 students and their teachers from the Nikola Tesla Electrical Engineering High School at our Niš office. Following a short presentation of our company by Anđelija Kocić, our E&D Operations Lead, the girls took a tour of our premises, and met three more colleagues in person: Danica Gostović, Software Engineer, Miljana Petrović, QA Automation Engineer, and Marija Mršić, Proofreader. Danica told them more about the importance of education and mentorship. While formal and informal education helped her perfect her tech skills, she owes her soft skills to mentorship. Working with interns through our Junior Development Program has taught her the true value of support, communication, cooperation, listening, and empathy.
Her colleague and friend Miljana could not agree more on the importance of good and honest relationships with your coworkers. She also told the girls that a QA should be meticulous, curious, and always question everything—that is why logical reasoning is so important for this role. Finally, Marija was there to defend the honor of social sciences. She emphasized the importance of good language skills, not only in terms of what you say, but also how you say it. And with the company constantly growing and entering new markets, good communication is vital for understanding people’s unique interests, backgrounds, and cultures.
We took the Q&A session to the balcony, and the girls seemed to like the informal surroundings better than the office. One of them wanted to know if she could become a software engineer even if her current class did not include any IT subjects. We strongly encouraged her to pursue that interest—our QA Miljana even graduated from the Faculty of Law, but that hasn’t stopped her from entering the world of IT ten years later. It is all about having the right motivation, studying hard, and finding the right environment that can recognize your potential. The girls also wanted to hear more about the interview process and some of the questions we typically ask—and after Miljana gave an example, they were quick to answer and wanted to know if “they were in”.
Once the visit was over, we really could not tell who made a stronger impression—was it us or the girls? We could not help but admire their enthusiasm and curiosity. The world is truly their oyster, and with the sea of opportunities waiting for them, we hope we have made their choice a bit easier and brought them a bit closer to considering a career in ICT. We wish the girls the best of luck choosing their future paths and would be proud to welcome them as future colleagues one day.