It’s already time for spotlight number 66! Can you imagine? 66 interviews with 66 amazing and inspiring people…I hope you like reading their stories as much as I do :-). This week we’re going to meet Ana Balica. Ana is a backend developer from London and we share some of the same interests: Python, books and cats! Curious to learn more about Ana and her work days? Read more…
Name: Ana Balica
Job: Backend developer at Potato London
Favorite website, app or gadget: time.is
– great UI to check on time synchronization, timezones, time differences with other locations and a bunch of other time-related stuff – great for timezone geeks.
What inspired you to pursue a career in IT? I’ll be bold about it: I didn’t have a strong motivation or any inspiration at all to pursue a career in IT. It all started with a choice of a university degree and it was pretty much a gamble. I made a wild guess based on a vague mapping of my high school interests to popular careers at the time, based on my friend’s jobs and their job satisfaction levels, based on local and international market research. I had no idea if I’m gonna like it (luckily I did). And this is ok. It’s ok to sometimes feel lost and struggle with a choice.
What does your working day look like? I like to start work early, as early as possible. From the outsider perspective, I stare at my computer screen, type, stretch or dance a bit with my headphones on if I’m at the standing desk, drink tea, play pool, attend standups and meetings. From my inner perspective, I balance the amount of bug hunting, feature building and code review I want to do today, apply divide&conquer and write checklists for the tickets I work on, make tens of micro-decisions while writing code, learn new stuff, double-check my assumptions with official documentation or source code, be happy I’m doing all this even thought it’s exhausting sometimes. Then I lock my machine, go home and forget about work until the next day (forgetting doesn’t work if I have an unsolved problem though).
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why? I like the project I’m working on currently. It’s written in Python/Django and deployed on AppEngine (classic story at Potato), complex enough and I get to work with very cool people.
Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you? No, no heroes. I’m fascinated by a lot of people, but I find it hard to pinpoint exact sources of inspiration. I assume it comes from everyone: family, friends, teachers, educators, coworkers, random people on the internet.
Why do you love working in IT/Tech? I challenge myself every day and get to build things that are tangible from the perspective of our modern society.
Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge? I do and I love university. I was very lucky to have fantastic teachers, great classmates and a diverse curriculum: from theoretical courses that taught broad concepts and generic problem solving (Calculus, Design Patterns, Networking) to routine tools and practices of a developer (algorithms, IDEs, git). Along with some open source experience, I felt confident applying for my first job.
What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?) Code every day. There is no magic trick. Practice makes perfect.
Extra question from Jill: If you didn’t do this, what other job would you like to have?
I’d be a small-scale farmer, grow vegetables and berries. That said, I’ve never done it before, but I have a feeling I might like it.
“Code every day. There is no magic trick. Practice makes perfect.”