International Women’s Day takes place on March 8th, so to mark the day we are looking at what it means to be a woman in tech. We spoke to CCleaner’s UX Designer Lada Podunavac, C++ Developer Gergana Spasova, and QA Engineer Neha Chauhan to learn about their journeys into tech and experiences in the field.
Tell us, how did you first join the CCleaner team? What led you here?
Gergana: After graduating from London South Bank University with a degree in BEng Computer Systems and Networks I was looking for a graduate job as a software developer. The role at CCleaner stood out to me as during my studies I found learning to program in C++ and Java most exciting, which is what the role is rooted in. I enjoy programming as I find it challenging and puzzling, and it makes me feel satisfied when I finish tasks that improve product functionality and user experience.
Lada: I was never one of those kids who knew exactly what they will do when they grow up. I spent a lot of time in front of a computer, playing games and making websites, so studying computer science seemed like something I might like. This has led me to study for a Computer Science degree at the Faculty of Organisation Science at the University of Belgrade for 4 years.
After graduating, I realized coding is not something that interests me as much, which led me to pursue a master’s degree in Design Thinking at Kingston University, after which I found myself at CCleaner. I have been a CCleaner user since the beginning (V1!), so I was really happy when I got offered a job to work on the product that I use regularly and really like.
Neha: My journey into tech also started at university. I completed my master’s degree in Computer Applications and was then offered my first role as a software tester. I always wanted to be a part of a reputable software firm, and I have fulfilled this goal by joining the CCleaner QA team two years ago.
What is your role at CCleaner, and what are the typical tasks that you complete on a regular basis? Do you have a set routine to achieve them?
Gergana: At CCleaner, I develop our Windows desktop products. My workday starts at around 9.30 am with a daily stand up during which our team of developers discusses the work we have completed the previous day and what we are planning to do today. After that, I grab a coffee – usually a latte – and start working on the programming tasks for the day. Most of the programming tasks I work on include creating new functionalities, improving existing ones and fixing bugs, which depend on product improvement plans and goals. I also spend time on self-improvement by taking learning days and carry out investigations on how to further improve the product’s functionality. My working day usually finishes at around 5.30 pm.
Lada: As a User Experience Designer my role is to speak to our users and find out how we can improve CCleaner, bring more value to the product and better the experience our customers have when using the app.
Neha: My main task is to understand product specifications, functionality, and features, and feeding that information into the detection of software failures prior to releases so that they can be avoided. I am passionate about the quality of released software and the experience our customers have when using CCleaner.
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
Lada: Promoting user experience as a discipline. It’s a relatively new area of tech, and it is an invaluable tool in helping our users look after their devices in a way that works best for them. It is an exciting role to be in, and I love seeing the impact it has on CCleaner.
Neha: Software development constantly changes and new tools regularly enter the market. My challenge is to stay on top of the latest tools and continually incorporate them into my work.
Gergana: The biggest challenge of working as a developer is constantly trying to learn new skills while keeping up to date with the improvements of the C++ programming language, and using the new functionalities in the codebase.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Neha: I recently started working on software automation testing, which has enabled me to automate my manual tasks. This has helped me to develop my skills and contribute to the team’s productivity and efficiency.
Gergana: My biggest achievements are graduating with a first-class degree and starting work at CCleaner. I like the product we develop and enjoy my current position. What’s more, I feel that the atmosphere in the office is great, and my colleagues are friendly and eager to help.
Lada: Doing a job that I really love!
What advice would you give to women who want to move into tech roles?
Lada: Don’t be afraid of stepping into a male-dominated industry, trust in your abilities and skills, and don't be afraid to fail - learn from everything that you do and don't give up. Most importantly – have fun!
Neha: Plan how you can achieve your goal and be tenacious in your work. Take criticism earnestly, but not personally - try to learn from constructive criticism, and if there is no merit on the feedback, let it roll right off you.
Gergana: I believe that everyone should work with what they are passionate about. Although tech roles are mostly filled by men, I don’t think that any woman should feel insecure about pursuing a position in this field. The number of women working in tech roles is constantly increasing and you don’t need to fear entering a (for now!) male-dominated field if that is your passion.
Recently, a positive example was made in our team. A female team-member has changed her role and moved into web development from HR. She achieved this by pursuing a four-month-long coding boot camp.
There are a lot of different ways in which you can gain knowledge about programming. If coding interests you, check out some of the video tutorials online and create a simple program to get started. Good luck!
Thank you Gergana, Lada and Neha for sharing your journey and experiences about being a woman in tech. We wish all women a happy International Women’s Day!