This quarter’s Meet Movio post is in the unique position of featuring an all female Movio Crew line-up. Recently we’ve hired three new starters all in very different roles: Web Developer, Marketing Manager and Product Owner. As always we’d like to use this opportunity to introduce them all and let them share a bit of their story with you, enjoy.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
When I’m not coding, I like to hula hoop and make fun of bad science journalism. I have an Ape Index of 1. When someone asks if I’m a cat or a dog person, I answer: “I’m a bird person”!
What experiences led you to a career in technology?
It kind of happened on its own... I don't have a tech education, I actually have a Digital Arts degree and as everyone knows, there aren’t that many jobs for Art graduates. Therefore, I had to change course and reorient my career towards Web Design. I improved my skills by doing a one-year intensive Web Design course. This training resulted in a very interesting job within a small digital agency that specialised in Responsive Web Design. During this time I slowly migrated from a design position into a development position. This transition was very smooth and didn’t feel forced: working in a small agency I had to do a little bit of everything, and I realised that I actually enjoy coding, and that I prefer working with CSS than Photoshop. Today becoming a developer is open to everyone, of any background: the web is full of resources for anyone wanting to join a dev team. I think the biggest obstacle a lot of people find in a new job is the “impostor syndrome”; learning to appreciate your achievements takes time but will eventually feel very rewarding.
Having recently relocated from Belgium how would you describe the work culture in New Zealand?
Because there are a lot of expats in New Zealand, I think that people here are more open to change and will more likely reconsider their methodology in order to get things done. After all, they didn't move from the other side of the planet to do the same routine as back home; they are looking for a challenge, whether it be a different language, culture or work environment. I think that the positive and welcoming kiwi attitude has made my transition to New Zealand very easy.
I witnessed a lot of significant misunderstandings between native speakers in my previous job in Belgium but strangely, I’ve had very few communication problems here, despite the language barrier. This communication success can probably be credited to a “flat hierarchy” we work in. People at Movio are encouraged to share their ideas and make them happen and because our team is international, we benefit from a wide variety of experiences to improve the way we work.
What experiences led you to a career in technology and to Movio?
Since I finished my studies, I’ve only worked in tech. I ended up studying Computer Science by chance and I’ve never looked back (I’m not even sure I’d know how to function in a job that didn’t involve computers). Every job I’ve had and every person I’ve interacted with has helped shape me into the professional I am today. It’s surprising how much influence surrounding yourself with amazing, capable people tends to have on your career.
Movio happened to have all the components I looked for when considering my next opportunity. I love working for a software company that maintains the startup culture so wonderfully; Movio has all the ingredients I look for in a company.
What career challenges have you faced since moving to New Zealand?
I’d like to say that I kick started my career twice. After four years of working in tech in my native country, Romania, I have started again from scratch within New Zealand’s tech scene. While this may not sound like an actual “start”, but rather a continuation, the two markets are really quite different so there were many challenges. You have to change your mindset, you have to start thinking and talking in a new language and be good at it if you want to perform well.
How have you connected with the tech community in Auckland?
Auckland’s tech scene is small and close knit. I discovered a few years ago that people are really open and helpful in sharing their knowledge and experiences. This manifests itself through meetups and conferences that I love to attend and where I can continuously develop myself. One of my favourite events is Refactor NZ who are committed to ‘improving the New Zealand tech industry by inspiring women to not only stay in it but get to the top’. They feature amazing speakers that share aspects of their careers which are really motivational. Due to my specific career choice, I also find Agile Auckland Meetup really good. People of all backgrounds, that share passion for tech might also like Gather Unconference. It’s a one-day event where you can attend concurrent sessions on robotics, design, network security, photography, startup idea pitching or knitting.
What’s your claim to fame?
A couple of years ago when I was working in politics I got the chance to meet the then Prime Minister David Cameron. However half an hour later I got to meet the movie Prime Minister Hugh Grant. He was exactly how you imagined him to be; charming, handsome and genuinely one of the best-smelling people I’ve ever met!
How have you found moving from a global corporate into a fast-growing company like Movio?
Before Movio I worked at a big global corporate company; their offices were huge and the company was essentially a well-established machine. Moving to Movio has definitely been a change in many respects. One big difference is less emails! At Movio people tend to go and talk to each other or use Slack to communicate which feels more productive and less formal. As a consequence I think certain projects or tasks happen faster. Working at a growing company there is a feeling that everyone is contributing to the company's growth as new ideas or technology suggestions are encouraged, especially by the Executive Team. It’s refreshing to be able to walk up and chat to the CEO. Movio’s startup environment feels more relaxed and informal compared to a corporate company but that doesn’t stop people from working hard and getting stuff done!
What experiences led you to a career in technology?
I studied Law and started working in politics so my initial experience wasn’t leading me to technology! But I’ve always been interested in new tech and how it can change how we react or act in situations. Working at my old company, where technology was a key part of who they were, really allowed me to put this interest into practice. I also had a boss that was passionate about tech too and encouraged me to attend events and workshops which really highlighted how technology is a varied and great industry to work in. I love data so any technology that enables me to see, interpret or display data in a cool way is fascinating for me. I think new technology is a key part of marketing as well. Being able to adapt your marketing strategy to include new technology or using new technology to market is vital for the world we live in now.