Women in STEM: Inspirational Stories

We’ve interviewed several successful women from around the world to show that women in STEM have many different stories, career paths and points of view. What do they like about their jobs? What is their inspiration and who are their role models? Are they aware of human rights in the working environment?

We’ve asked these questions to Milana Stojadinov, Software Engineer from Serbia, working at Rendered Text.

Milana Stojadinov during Rails Girls Geneva workshop where she was a coach.
Milana (on the left) during the Rails Girls Geneva workshop where she was a coach.

What do you like about your job?
The learning process is the most valuable part of it.

Why have you decided to pursue a career in this field? What was your inspiration?
From the early days, my attention was occupied by puzzles and the purpose of everyday objects. Even today, I catch myself breaking a thing apart, just to be able to find how it works and then to fix it back. That’s pretty much my story: I ask a question and then develop an answer for it. It neither solved any world’s problem nor gave me the Fields medal, but it focuses my life. This bit of skepticism, naturally, guided me to study pure mathematics.

Do you have role models? Did you have a turning point in your career?
What the modern-day fairy tale Simone Giertz is telling is very inspiring. The way she enthusiastically creates “useless” robots shows well how we win when we fail. A few years ago, I asked myself if I could get the fulfillment from my daily work, similar to the one I get from just being there for my friends. I think that building web applications is my answer to that question today. Realizing that empowering others to overcome everyday challenges moves me was a turning point for me. That’s the moment when I decided to switch to software engineering.

That’s pretty much my story: I ask a question and then develop an answer for it.

What do you think is one example of one way you have enjoyed your human rights, in learning or at work?
IT companies these days motivate their employees by giving them incentives, like free tickets to the conferences, books and gym memberships. This ensures me that in my working environment, our personal and professional growth is essential. We can do well but also do good.

Are there any challenges facing women in your educational or work settings, and if so, what do you see as one possible solution?
It appears that the low percentage of women in engineering is affecting our self-confidence. For the time being, encouraging women and girls regardless of their age might help. This is why I became a mentor at Rails Girls, free coding workshops for women. I believe that similar grassroots initiatives are inspiring and creating a safe and encouraging community where women can develop new skills together.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone just starting in your field?
I think that at the beginning of everyone’s career path, it is essential to learn that failures and unawareness are your best friends. Failures teach us that we have to accept that we don’t know something; unawareness that we have to realize what we need to work on.

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