#WomenInTechnology – Alexandra Rus – Mum, Design Lead and Super Star!
As always, it’s a pleasure to showcase a member of our team and today it’s a special pleasure to introduce Alexandra Rus, known as Sandy, who is the Design Lead at TEC. We managed to steal some time off her busy schedule and got some insights on how to juggle the challenges of motherhood while leading a team in an IT company.
- Hi Sandy, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us – we know you’re a very busy lady! What does a typical day look like for you?
“Hihi, there is no typical day when you have a 1-year baby, a 3-year toddler and a full day job! Usually, I wake up whenever the girls wake up – I haven’t had an alarm clock in the last 4 years or so… no need to!
First, I take care of the girl’s needs, washing, getting ready for kindergarten, making breakfast and after the nanny arrives, I can take some time for myself.
Usually, when I get to the office I start my day with daily meetings, looking at the projects I’m allocated, and then I dive into the technical duties, prioritizing the tasks as they arrive. The end of the day finds me with my family either at home or in the park or having dinner in the city.”
2. Before your current role, you worked for TEC as a UI/UX Design Lead – tell us a bit about your experience in the different roles you’ve had with TEC?
“It is true I started at TEC as a UI/UX designer but then I was needed more as a front-end developer so I kind of hit a pause on the UI/UX job… but from time to time my design skills are needed and it is always a pleasure to create new things.
This is only a temporary pause because I plan to hit play again real soon. As a Design Lead, I’m also involved in the bidding process for new projects and that is also a challenging part of the job.”
3. Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do?
“Good question. I guess I’ve always had a thing for technology, my favourite school subject was Maths and I always enjoyed doing my Maths homework. But I also admired my father’s army uniform and that made me think of a career in uniform.
At that time, there was no place for women in the Army or in the Police Academy and so I was looking at enrolling in the Romanian Intelligence Service since they had five places allocated for women but eventually decided it wasn’t for me and switched my focus back to Maths.
I went back to University in Cluj and I chose to follow UTCN – Computer Science for five years. And now I’m an Engineer and I love it. Even at home, I’m the one that changes the batteries and fixes things with a screwdriver.”
4. What made you study computer science?
“To be honest, computer science wasn’t my heart’s choice, but it was the decision I made at the time when looking at what would give me the best possible career. I’m glad I chose to study computer science because it has decided my life’s path so far. It wasn’t my heart’s choice as a topic to study, but it is where I found my heart’s choice in life.”
5. What do you love most about your job and what do you find the most challenging?
“I love everything about my job, I love the people involved, I love the projects, I love the clients, I love the office, I love my workstation. The most difficult thing for me is time management. Having the position that I have, I’m involved in lots of things and sometimes it’s hard to schedule everything. I want to please everybody, and I feel bad when I’m behind with my tasks.”
6. What it’s like to be a woman in tech? What are the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in terms of inequality and how have things changed during your career?
“I guess the challenges that came were mostly from a mother’s point of view not as a woman in tech. I am one of the lucky women that have help from my mother and a nanny, and this helped me to get back in the field after 3 months of maternity with each girl. At first as part-time and when the girls got bigger as full time. It is a challenge to get back to the office when you are still nursing. But we were sneaky and moved-in in the same building with the office, to make things easier.”
7. Do you feel that there is a gender imbalance in the office at the present? Or in the industry, for that matter?
“Here at TEC I think it makes no difference if you are a woman or a man, I don’t have the exact numbers, but we are pretty equal in numbers”
8. What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
“Well, the best part in any industry, regardless of your gender, should be to enjoy what you are doing. If you are in a place where you feel good about how things are working and if you enjoy the time spent at the office, then it makes no difference if you work in the tech industry or not.
At the beginning yes… I felt strong that I graduated from a five-year university in Computer Science but then (2006) we were less in numbers in this area. Now, the jobs in the tech industry are open to any gender and here, we make no difference if the candidate that comes to the interview is a female or a male.”
9. What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry?
“Go for IT! Don’t be afraid to show your potential.”
Of course, working while being a mom may present some challenges and you may also have some bad days, but as we learned from Sandy’s experience, there is nothing you cannot do! Choose to be the change you want to see in the world. Be self-assured, select a field that interests you, and pursue it!
If you’re seeking a job in the tech business, have a look at our current openings and consider joining our team.