#Zoolatechgirls: Diana Fekete, Junior Backend Developer

Women in tech Mar 03, 2020

Diana is one of the youngest specialists in the Zoolatech company. She combines work with study at the university and draws inspiration from her colleagues. And some time ago, she was singing and planning to direct an orchestra.

How did you start working at Zoolatech?

I am a third-year student at the faculty of information technology at the Taras Shevchenko National University. The faculty is quite young and has been in operation for 6 years now. It was opened because of the high demand for technical specialties. I am studying “Network and Internet technologies,” but not working directly in my specialty. However, since my work is connected with computer science, I still remain in this sphere. Learning through practice was more effective for me, so I was looking for opportunities to gain more practical knowledge and skills. That is why I am here.

Why did you decide to learn Internet technologies?

That’s a very interesting story! (Laughing) I would want it to be noted somewhere. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to become a musician, to sing and conduct an orchestra. My music teacher noticed my skills from early childhood when I was in kindergarten. She taught me to sing and took me to competitions. When I was older, I began studying at music school, sang in a choir, and was part of an ensemble. But when I was in seventh grade, I happened to do well in math. So, I participated in a district math competition and won it. After that, I participated in the region one and so everything began.

Did the family support your choice?

Fortunately, my mom is absolutely loyal. She said I could do what I wanted to. At this time in my life, I met a person who influenced my future. I am talking about the computer science teacher Larysa Valeriivna Olashyn. With her help, I am now where I am. She put a lot of effort into helping me go to the computer science competition. She showed me Excel, real-life problems that could be resolved with the program, databases, Pascal tasks, and asked if that was something I wanted to do. My answer was “yes,” so soon she started to teach me and several other students for free, spending many hours with us. She even arranged for me to be given a school laptop for preparing presentations — my home computer wasn’t powerful enough for such kind of tasks. When I was in the eighth grade, I won a regional competition and participated three more times in all-Ukrainian olympiads.

Not only did Larysa Valeriivna teach me programming, but she also taught me life skills. I am a very active person and she has helped me concentrate on what I wanted to achieve. She prepared me for university. I’ve only been studying with tutors for a few months improving my English and math skills. Thanks to her help, I knew the rest and that was enough.

While on the subject, I only once encountered sexism when studying in school. There was a teacher at a nearby school who said that girls didn’t win programming contests. I took first place, scoring almost the maximum possible points, and nothing like this happened again.

There are quite a lot of girls at the university and everyone treats each other equally. And here in Zoolatech, I was the only girl on the team for a long time. When I was interviewed, my future team leader Zhenya told me: “You should know that we don’t propagate sexism, ageism, or other discrimination.” He outlined that as a rule from the very beginning.

What is your advice for a girl who is trying to decide if IT is for her?

With no doubt, she should do what she likes. But it is important to figure out if, for example, IT is what she really likes, which is truly quite challenging. According to my own experience, I managed to try different things from signing to teaching programming. I realized that diving into the sphere for at least a month was crucial. Otherwise, it is hard to understand if this is what you want to do in your life. If you come back home from work and think “Oh, no, I can bear that no longer,” more likely it is not the job for you. By the way, “zoola” in the company’s name means “a place you don’t want to leave.” It worked for me. I can spend my working day and more here and I don’t get bored because I love my job.

It’s also very important not to be afraid. If you are a specialist and do what you really love, no one and nothing can stand in your way.

If you are so excited about what you are doing, employers will want to see you on their teams. The work may sometimes be boring, sad, and difficult. Well, such is life. But if you still want to continue — this is it.

Who inspires you?

Our team at Zoolatech inspires me a lot. This is the place where I am keen on growing because everyone around me grows. My team leader Zhenya inspires me because he has a super healthy balance between life and work. He works hard, but still has time for training, traveling, reading, etc. He always has a story to share. Zhenya inspires not only work but also living your best life. My colleague Ksenia Vasyanovych also inspires me. She is super professional and always has answers to different questions.

My mom inspires me — I am taking after her. She is very smart, but, unfortunately, she didn’t manage to fully realize her abilities. Therefore, she always supports me in doing what I want. My sister and I went in different ways. I left my hometown to study in Kyiv, whereas she entered the local university and got married. Regardless of our choices, our parents always supported us which is very important.

Zoolatech Team

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