We’ve been finding out more about some of the highly-skilled women in tech at Data Ductus who are crucial to the company’s and our customers’ growth.

Meet Linnea Edlund, Service Desk Manager and Swedish national team Bridge Captain

How did you become interested in tech?
I’ve always been interested in gaming, whether it’s board, video or computer games. At 12, I had my own computer and then in my later teens I spent the school holidays working at a friend’s parents’ company, where we assembled computers based on customer specs. I really enjoyed the interaction with customers, helping them to figure what were the best components for their needs.

How long have you been working with tech?
I’ve never left tech since those early days. I moved on, working full-time in the service desk at different internet providers, before moving to Skanska, a global construction company. Initially, I was in IT support but later transferred to operations where my main assignment was to coordinate the global service desk. This involved setting up and managing a 24/7 service desk for all the infrastructure systems such as the DNS servers, routing, email and authentication systems. Eventually, I left Skanska to spend a few years working for a Swedish company based in Barcelona, before moving back to Sweden and joining Data Ductus. I’ve been here since 2006.

What does a typical day at work involve?
As the Service Desk Team Lead, I’m responsible for service desk operations for multiple clients – including municipalities and companies – as well as internally here at Data Ductus. Not surprisingly, I’m involved in a lot of meetings, both with customers and the different providers that deliver services to them. I also interact a lot with my team, much of which is done on Discord. And, I still get involved with managing day-to-day service issues.

What’s most interesting about your job?
I enjoy gathering knowledge about the different systems and capabilities and structuring that in a way that my team and our customers can easily find it and use it in their roles. Then I like the problem-solving part of the job – identifying what the issue is and the best way to resolve it or which provider it should it be escalated to. Today’s multi-service provider architectures create many such challenges and we solve them.

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours?
The service desk is a great place for anybody interested in tech. You get a holistic view of organizations, see the needs they have, the problems they encounter and learn how to rectify them. It’s the perfect foundation for a career in IT. 15 people have moved on from my teams over the years into development or testing roles at Data Ductus.

Finally, what do you do when you’re not working?
I play a lot of Bridge. I organize and participate in events and am the non-playing captain of the Swedish women’s national team – which essentially means I analyze the competitors and decide on the strategy and best players for a particular match. I also like to play pinball, something I was really good at before I became serious about bridge.

Meet Gayatri Pendharkar, backend developer and budding mountaineer

How did you become interested in tech?
When I was around 16 years old, I had to choose between arts, science, and commerce. I chose science because it covered a broad subject area with many potential career opportunities – from medical to engineering. During that time, I also took some computer courses which I found interesting. On the other hand, I was really interested in engineering mechanics courses. After a few years, I was still a little unsure whether to study a degree in mechanical engineering or computer science. In the end, my inclination towards computers led me to pursue Electronics and Telecommunications engineering – which is heavily influenced by computer science – at Pune University.

How long have you been working with tech?
Since I got my Masters. After graduating from Pune, I left India to do a Masters in Computer Engineering with a minor in computer networks at Colorado State University. During that time, I met Ruiying, from the Data Ductus Dallas office, at an on-campus career fair. She told me about the work they do as software consultants in computer networking for clients such as Cisco. It was interesting, as I had always wanted to work as a developer in networking. Later, I was officially interviewed and began working at the Longmont office in June 2019 as a backend developer.

What does a typical day at work involve?
I work closely with our Boston office, so my day starts early, often with meetings. Then, I catch up on my emails, before dedicating the rest of my day to development. It is a nice balance to the day. I work with a variety of software, tools, and programming languages such as Python, XML, Docker, Robot Framework, Google Protobufs, etc.

What’s most interesting about your job?
I work on Network Automation projects with our client, Crown Castle. The project consists of a lot of modern tools/software and hence, it involves a lot of hands-on learning. I get to explore new methodologies to find innovative solutions. Additionally, if I need any guidance from experts at Data Ductus or Crown Castle, there is always somebody on hand to help. I also get to attend client development and strategy meetings. It is great to get this exposure in my day-to-day so early-on in my career.

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours?
In life, we are faced with tough decisions and at those times it is easy to doubt yourself. You just need to persist and hold your head up high. One day you will look back and be glad that you did not give up and chose to give your all.

What do you do when you’re not crunching code?
Currently, I’m working out a lot to build endurance. I foresee climbing a fourteener – the 14,000 feet (4200m) high mountains here in Colorado in Summer 2022. I would like to chart my progress and document it on social media to keep myself motivated and inspire others.

Meet Rebecca Leeper, front end developer, project lead, and pickleball player

How did you become interested in tech?
I have been interested in computers and cameras from a pretty young age. I was always taking photos and editing them, to the point that I walked dogs and babysat around the neighborhood to save up for a computer – becoming the first kid amongst my friends with their own Mac. My grandpa was a strong influence too. He always thought I’d make a great engineer, as he was, and so guided me in that direction. He went to University of Illinois and was always encouraging me to go there. I ended up in Boston at Northeastern but pursued engineering.

How long have you been working with tech?
Since college really. I switched tracks from biomedical engineering to computer engineering after taking a database design course. The degree program at Boston’s Northeastern University is vocation heavy, which meant I spent three semesters working at companies. The first two were at subsidiaries of a Fortune 500 and the third was at Data Ductus. It was like night and day. I went from a slow-moving ship to a closely-knit team in an agile, fast-moving organization. I was involved in an automation project for a big customer and an exciting internal project. I then joined Data Ductus full time straight out of college.

What does a typical day at work involve?
I like to get started pretty early and focus on development first thing in the morning. Then I usually connect with the team for a quick stand-up. As the day progresses, I switch between meetings and coding. When I joined the company, I was a backend developer working in Python and Java, now I’m front end working with Angular Frameworks – designing, developing, and delivering web applications.

What’s most interesting about your job?
There are multiple things. We’re always exploring new technologies to stay ahead of the curve and to deliver what’s best for our clients. Also, there are a lot of experienced people here who will help and guide you as you grow in your role. And, no two projects are the same. Right now, I’m working in different roles on different projects. I’m software engineer on a very small team delivering on a fast-paced POC for one and account manager for the other – which offers another level of customer engagement and delivery responsibility. 

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours?
There are so many opportunities in tech – go out there and explore your options. Find the right position that aligns with your passion and interests. And remember, what’s needed one day may be different the next. Don’t be put off by a job title, look deeper into what the company does and what technologies they are into. 

What do you do when you’re not crunching code?
I play a lot of sports, particularly racket sports like tennis and pickleball. I also like to ski and cook. Funnily, I’ve given up photography, except on my iPhone, – the thing that got me into computers in the first place. But I might come back to it someday.

Meet Amalia Faoziah, a Software Engineer who wants to make a difference 

How did you become interested in tech?
When I was a young kid, my dad used to challenge me to do quizzes. Unbeknown to me, they were IQ tests – building my inner computer. When I was in junior high school, I started using computers. I enjoyed playing games on them, but also setting them up and reinstalling operating systems. By the time I reached senior high, I joined a computer club and entered the Indonesian Computer Olympics, where I came in third place for the entire city region.

How long have you been working with tech?
I started working as an intern in 2010 while at University in Semarang, a coastal town in Indonesia. Once graduated, I had a spell as a freelancer before joining a large software provider, working on server apps and ATM software for banks. After six years at the company, I moved to a Singaporean start-up, where I developed the API system for a chatbot admin portal. They were located in Batam, like Data Ductus, which I joined in 2021.

What does a typical day at work involve?
We do a lot of coding in Java, which is great in my position as a software engineer. We’re both maintaining and developing network service orchestration systems, which means we cover everything from bug fixes to solving new requirement challenges. Development is sandwiched between stand-ups, which we have every morning and late afternoon since our team is spread across Europe and Asia. It’s part of a global delivery to a global client base.

What’s most interesting about your job?
It’s never the same thing twice. There’s always a new challenge – especially for someone relatively new to the company as myself. We’re given the time to explore and find solutions to challenges, whether we solve them individually or as a group. It’s the type of environment that helps you thrive as a software engineer.

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours?
Firstly, never stop learning and never underestimate yourself and your capabilities. Secondly, choose the technical area in which you want to work, and focus on getting better and better at it. Thirdly, don’t give up, your dream job is out there. And finally, don’t hold back. We can use our skills to make a difference to society – to make it a better place, together.

What do you do when you’re not crunching code?
We’re still under fairly strict Covid restrictions here in Indonesia, which means staying indoors when possible. Me and my mum spend a lot of time together, I still enjoy gaming, and I dedicate time to learning – there’s always something new and interesting in our field.

Meet Lotta Innerman, ITSM Team Lead, former developer, and signaling specialist in the army reserves

How did you become interested in tech?
I spent a lot of time hanging out with my dad as a kid. He was always building or fixing something, and I liked to help out. So, when I finished school and started working as a resource planner at Gävle University, it was natural for me to learn visual basic so I could do bug fixes and updates to the inhouse resource tool.

How long have you been working with tech?
After a few years at Gävle University I took a sabbatical to do a two-year vocational IT program. On my return I became responsible for IT resource planning systems. In 2008 I joined Sandvik’s IT Services department as a developer before quickly moving into leadership roles, including Change and BI Function Manager. I left IT for a while becoming a Product Line Manager, but missed it, which is what brought me to Data Ductus.

What does a typical day at work involve?
As Application Team Lead, I’m responsible for a nine person team within the ITSM department. We essentially manage around 250 applications for the Church of Sweden in a Citirix environment. It’s my responsibility to ensure their operations run smoothly so I develop structured processes that will help improve our delivery of this. I also hold regular meetings with the team, customers and suppliers.

What’s most interesting about your job?
It’s creating structure and working with talented people. I always see the potential in people, and as a manager I do my best to create a platform from which they can develop themselves.

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours?
Be curious, be positive and be reflective. It’s important to explore and learn new things and at the same time you need to a moment to look back on your day and reflect on what happened. Knowing where you want to go and what you’ve done to achieve it will always help in life.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I love being outdoors and doing activities like skiing or mountain biking. I’m also an occasional CrossFit Coach and in the Army Reserves – working with signaling and radios.  We use everything from the latest tech gadgets to old analogue equipment, so I get to use some of the skills I learnt from helping out my dad.

Meet Mia Johansson, Project Manager, Quality Assurance Specialist and accomplished storyteller 

How did you become interested in tech? 
My mum worked at Ericsson and I spent my summers helping out there. Over time I became more and more interested in tech and the challenges they were working to solve there. I decided to study Computer Engineering at Umeå University. 

How long have you been working with tech?  
I’ve been in the business for 20 years. I did my thesis at Ericsson and went on to work there. First with development, followed by testing. After a couple of years, I started a business with some friends, where I specialized in quality assurance across multiple industries. That’s where I came into contact with Data Ductus. I eventually joined the company in 2015.

What does a typical day at work involve? 
It’s varied. I’m a Quality Assurance Specialist and Project Manager. I’m developing our ways of working and managing a team of developers and projects, all with the same goal – to ensure we deliver the highest quality to our customers. In a ”typical day” I sit in scrum meetings, talk to customers and assess and refine processes and performance.

What’s most interesting about your job? 
It’s the variation. I work with teams and clients in Asia, Europe and North America – that’s a broad time and cultural span. I have a holistic view of projects and can help our consultants meet customer expectations by defining improved ways of working at every level. We have a culture of innovation here and that includes my roles too.

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours? 
Becoming a Quality Assurance Engineer is a great career. You need to be able to understand the bigger picture – from project requirements through to user needs. And you have to be able to dig deeper into any issues to find answers. It’s a skill that will open many doors.

What do you do when you’re not working? 
I like to be out in the countryside, hunting with my dog. I’m also a storyteller. I perform at theaters, cafes, people’s homes, you name it. It’s a fun way to challenge yourself and meet new people.

Meet Emina Cirkic, Software Engineer, Java / AWS Developer, former bio-medical technician

How did you become interested in tech 
I was in a six-month internship at Malmo University following three years of studies as a biomedical technician. I was fathoming out a simple front-end language and it dawned on me that this is what I wanted to do. I did a complete 180 turn and decided to pursue a career in IT. 

How long have you been working with tech?  
Having just spent three years studying, I didn’t want to do that again, so I spent 12-month on a full-time intensive Java distance learning programme. Following that, I worked as a Java developer at an industrial company for three years. I wanted to work more with the cloud, so I became AWS certified and joined Data Ductus. 

What does a typical day at work involve? 
We work in two-week sprints. We have our stand-ups, prioritize tasks and features, and spend the day developing the code. Mostly, I work in Golang. It’s a relatively new language for me, but the syntax is simpler than Java, so it was relatively easy to get to grips with it. 

What’s most interesting about your job? 
Variation. I feel like I’m learning something new and growing every day. When I joined the company I didn’t have a lot of working experience with AWS. I had the theory and now I’m applying it in a really interesting project for the energy industry. 

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours? 
There are so many opportunities, so do a little research first. Are you interested in hardware, software, or desktop? Once you know this, pick the language that will serve your interests. You need to go all in. Tutorials aren’t enough. Take a proper course and learn the theory. It will be worth it in the long run. 

What do you do when you’re not crunching code? 
I have a young family, so I like to spend time with them, especially on the weekends when we get to do more things together.  

Meet Mathilda Sjödin, Software Engineer, C-sharp expert, baking fanatic

How did you become interested in tech? 
At about five years old, I got a Super Nintendo and was hooked. By 11, I’d seen an ad for a gaming education at my local college and my future was set – I wanted to learn how to build and design games, and I did. I was the techy one around the house, setting up phones and computers and fixing any issues. 

How long have you been working with tech?  
After I graduated, I began working at Data Ductus and have been here for five years. Many of the skills I learned while studying I can apply here in my day-to-day work, such as C-sharp, HTML and CSS. And I’ve learned a lot on the job. 

What does a typical day at work involve? 
Right now I’m on maternity leave, so you can guess my typical day! But most recently I’ve been developing a website for a municipality where inhabitants can book spots at local nurseries, schools, colleges and the like. A typical day involves a customer and an internal meeting, handling a ticket and developing code – we are responsible for the entire lifecycle of the system.  

What’s most interesting about your job? 
No day is the same. IT is so broad, there is always another job to do, another project to work on, another skill to learn. If you feel like you’re stuck in a loop it’s easy to get out of it by exploring another technology. 

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career like yours? 
Just go for it. There are so many possibilities. You can work in healthcare and if it doesn’t suit you move to retail, and so on. You will meet lots of interesting people and you can work from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection, now and then. It’s a very rewarding business. 

What do you do when you’re not crunching code? 
I love to bake. People keep telling me I should apply to a baking show, but I haven’t plucked up the courage yet. Watch this space though… 

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