Attracted to IT from the beginning
Madalina Patrichi works as a Senior Software Engineer with various products and projects at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in Helsinki. Madalina is from Romania, and she studied Computer Science in the UK. She became interested in versatile IT at the age of twelve, and she is always eager to learn something new. Madalina was first interested in Cryptography and Security but decided to concentrate on Cloud Computing, a field full of potential and innovation, because it is the future of this automated world. She was surprised that at the university in the UK there were only a few female students, when in Romania it is more common for women to be in the industry. For example, her parents met at an aeroplane company where both were working.
Madalina has a combination of good social skills and huge ambition. She never gives up before she finds a solution. In her free time, she loves to do paddle boarding, scuba diving and yoga because doing sports is a great way to get things off her mind and at the same time get to know new people. It looks like a different world under the water and being aware of your breath makes sure that you relax, which is essential in this industry.
Technical or social? – You can be both!
People might encounter negative and discouraging attitudes or be pushed towards paths that are not the best for them. Men are not encouraged as much to develop their communication skills and women are not as encouraged towards technological things. The stereotype is that women are good at social situations: interacting and talking. They are expected to concentrate more on management, design or front-end tasks, and are not always encouraged to look at different paths. Madalina likes to build infrastructure, but also to do the management work. She is determined to stay on this path that she is interested in and good at. Madalina has been encouraged by a good mentor, and she has encouraged many women to figure out what they are good at by exploring all the possibilities. She strongly believes that you do not have to be only technical or social – you can be both!
Madalina appreciates how much Oracle encourages people to learn not only from them but also from other companies and engineers. ”Steal the craftmanship” is a Romanian expression which refers to adopting other people’s way of doing things as your own, which is a good way to learn. A lot of women are insecure about not having a Computer Science degree, but the most valuable way for Madalina to learn at university was being surrounded by people who shared her interests. You do not necessarily need a degree to be able to succeed, but you definitely need to surround yourself with people from whom you can learn!
People make a difference
The industry lacks females, and some companies try to compensate past discrimination by supporting more female engineers to get into the field, but it is really dismissive to claim that someone was hired only because she is a female. It is not easy to be in the industry as a woman. Lacking technical experience and being a woman at the same time in the middle of male engineers with 40 years of technical experience is difficult. Women support groups offer a safe place to share experiences and learn how to manage different challenges.
Social skills are essential in a field where you often have to work in teams trying to achieve a particular goal. Not only knowing how to do it, but also being able to tell and show others how to do it, is important. The industry needs more skilled public speakers to share information and knowledge to help people move in the right direction, and there is a lot of people who like to share their knowledge. The field also needs a wider variety of strengths as everything changes so fast. Diversity matters, so everybody should stick together.
The IT industry offers such a wide array of different fields, so try to explore as many areas as possible from different sources, websites and companies. Madalina also encourages women to go to different conferences and workshops because they have really helped to widen her horizons about the technologies available to facilitate her work. No matter where you are from or where you are going, there is an area of expertise in the industry for everyone! Madalina encourages women in the IT industry to encourage other women to join the industry showing as publicly as possible that we know how to do our jobs well, we are passionate, we love the product and we have a say in the industry. We are here, and we are here to stay!
Senior Software Engineer
Oracle Crowd Infrastructure