#Zoolatechgirls: Dana Panchenko, Senior Java Developer

Women in tech Mar 04, 2020

Dana has a specialized education. She knows everything about Java or almost everything and works a lot. Also, she likes running, pets and walking in Spain.

How did you start your career?

I started as a Java-developer. I have a technical education and graduated from KPI, the faculty of biomedical engineering. There I acquired basic knowledge, but the university environment encouraged me to go beyond that. There are a lot of interesting activities and everyone is already working before they graduate. There are many thematic events such as job fairs. I got into the Infopulse summer school after the 3rd course, and it was my first dive into the outsourcing environment. Next I went into EPAM as a trainee. I’m thankful to the University for this opportunity.

I worked in the R&D center at Samsung during my 6th course. They very much encouraged cooperation among the students, on the basis of which many of us wrote serious master’s works. It was a huge center with approximately 1.5 thousand engineers. I got to work in a lab where they developed Smart-TV. We prepared the instruments for other engineers, but it was good practice on applied tasks. Also there was a chance to go to Korea and work there.

Then IT connected for me two important things. The first one is the possibility to travel, the second one – to communicate with people from different cultures. I still keep in touch with some my colleagues I worked with at that time. It was very inspiring to have such a great experience!

Why did you go into outsourcing?

The dynamic was attractive for me. It’s possible to change languages often. You always must solve problems and you can grow up fast enough. That’s right, but now I see that in Ukraine there is very little opportunity in R&D centers. You can’t stop at outsourcing; you can’t stay too long with one problem and obsess over it, so you can’t work with the same thing more than few months.

Outsourcing is a drive, the constant communication, networking and need to choose correct set of the instruments to solve the problem. But with customers’ problems, every time it’s new problem, and you should adjust. You prefer the work you are really interested in. In this way you can choose projects of one type and gain valuable expertise. But in practice such cases are rare. However, you can love outsourcing if only for the possibility of trying something new and communicating with different people.

What would you do, if you weren’t in IT?

Science: biology or medicine, maybe. There were moments when I asked myself whether I have chosen the right way. This happened when it was difficult, especially in the first course of the University. Students who were studying in KPI after professional schools and courses, had a rest in their first year of study. But I was worried and that was the first time I asked myself about having the power to go through this. I decided that I wanted to be able to finish. (Laughing.) That’s why it was difficult in the first year, but afterward I equalized with everyone else.

In the 4th course of the University, when everything interesting had ended, I was seriously thinking about connecting my life with a career in endocrinology or genetics. Maybe my professional activity will bring me to this. There is a lot of organic science in IT, and so I could approach this field and compensate for my lack of formal schooling in it. But I don’t regret what I chose instead.

How do you recognize when it’s high time to stop and to set work aside?

It’s high time to stop when I feel that my thinking is 3-4 times slower, I get pains, it becomes uncomfortable for me and I want to change my position as soon as possible. I totally can’t function in such a condition. I have to change the scenery: to go to sleep or to go for a walk. I noticed that I felt like a squeezed lemon when I came home after working all day in the office, but at home I don’t want to sleep. It’s necessary to just relax first. I understand that working until the last moment, I have no time for relaxation. It’s important to control yourself, to get up a couple hours earlier and to save time for walking, running, and personal communication with other people or pets.

How do you rest?

I go to the countryside with my family. My husband and I live out of the city and every weekend we take our backpacks and go walking or cycling to the forest to the lakes. Plus there’s running. I run out-of-doors when the weather’s not so uncomfortable. Earlier I went to the gym, but I don’t like it. I feel like a hamster in the wheel on the treadmill – it’s sad, dusty, monotonous.  Now I try to run in the park, it’s more pleasant and provides energy. Every jog is special. Sometimes you think about something, sometimes you completely disconnect.

Well, and traveling, I always liked it. It’s great when you can combine work and a trip. And of course, when you have the opportunity to plan a vacation and go somewhere far away. Last time we went trekking in such way. For two weeks we ventured on foot through Spain – to the North from Barcelona. It was very cold and wet, with snow falling nearby. That’s why we’ll go somewhere to the South next time.  I like countryside tourism: more air and nature.

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