This marks the premiere entry in our ‘Women in Tech’ series where we will highlight women from Martello and gain insight into their experience within the technology industry, the overall impact of women in the technology space, and where things are headed. First up is Martello Project Manager Kristina Raja.
Give a brief introduction of yourself and describe your role at Martello.
My name is Kristina and I’m known as the crazy cat lady a.k.a. the eccentric one at Martello. I have a dual role at Martello as a UI/UX Designer as well as a Project Manager.
How did your career in the technology space begin?
Originally, I had studied to be a photographer but after finishing my degree, realized that as much as I was creative, I wanted to be closer to tech since it’s always been a part of my life. I went back to school to complete a 1-year course that would allow me to gain some web development skills. I started my first web designer job at a start-up company of 4 people. After that, I moved from volunteering jobs to contract jobs as finding full-time permanent positions were difficult to land as a junior. Eventually, I found my way at Martello as a UI/UX Designer
Why do you think it’s important for more women to join the tech industry?
I think every industry should work towards making inclusivity and diversity the standard instead of just the goal. We need to keep changing and adapting to today’s environment and the future. I’ve interviewed a lot of the new generation and I can already see that the future is bright.
What has been the most rewarding experience so far?
I think the most rewarding thing has been the sense of accomplishment; seeing a release through, designing new UI/UX, improving existing features – just feeling like I can contribute to something. I’ve also really enjoyed meeting colleagues from all around the world.
What three pieces of advice would you give to women considering a career in tech?
The advice I usually give “the youngins” is:
- Always apply even if you don’t have every requirement the employer is asking for – chances are, they are casting a wide net to see what they can find. It’s rare that a candidate will have everything. Being a jack-of-all-trades is something you pick up on the job, not likely something you have straight out of school.
- When you’re first starting out, it’s tough learning the balance between being independent and spinning your wheels but if you can master that, you will go far.
- Don’t ever let your employer (or anyone else) take advantage of you or mistreat you – it’s not worth it. As the expression goes: “there are more fish in the sea”. Especially in tech, there will always be other options out there where employers will treat you with more respect.
What are some of the most significant lessons you have learned throughout your career so far?
Aside from the 3 pieces of advice in the previous statement, I’ve also learned:
- Realize that people with more experience than you don’t always know what they’re doing all the time or have all the answers.
- Not everyone will have the same work ethic or standards. You need to accept this, adapt, and move on.
It’s not enough just to “communicate”, you also need to LISTEN.
Who are three people you are inspired by, and why?
The boss ladies that I’ve met throughout my career have really made an impact on me. That is what I want to strive to be – being someone independent with experience and not afraid to tell it like it is.
What advice would you give for maintaining a healthy work/life balance?
I’m probably not the best person to give advice on work-life balance seeing as my life is more focused on my career but all I can say is this….
- If having a focus in your career is your main goal and you enjoy doing it, then put in your all – it’s your life afterall, so do what makes you happy! I personally enjoy working extra hours if it means I can collaborate with cool people and make things happen. I also love travelling for work whereas some people don’t.
- If you enjoy your job, but need clear boundaries between work and home, then make sure you communicate those boundaries from the start. Don’t be afraid to silence work notifications outside of your work hours. Not everyone wants to have work pinging them from their phone.