Despite the huge popularity of IT, it’s not always a straight-forward career path to the ones who are into tech and quantitative sciences. Love for numbers and analytics can have many faces. And even for STEM savvy people, taking the first step in IT can be challenging. All in all, it is rewarding in the very end: working in IT gives a solid opportunity not only to gain new skills but also ensure your role is exciting and no two days are the same
One of such success stories is owned by Justina Milišauskaitė, currently working as software developer at MobilePay. MobilePay is one of the leading digital payment providers in Scandinavia, serving both B2B and B2C customers. Some of the solutions provided by this brand include areas such as everyday transfers, online shopping, and even easier invoice creation.
Justina has been passionate about STEM since an early age, but her journey to the world of IT took a while. She is happy to share her story with others, proving that changing a career path is surely possible!
Justina, what did you do right after high school? Did it include any IT work or consideration of this track?
I was working as a part-time Maths and Physics tutor while doing Physics at university. It was a very convenient job given I was busy with studies. Needless to say, this role also became a good start for a young person without any work experience. To be fair, I’m still considering returning to part-time teaching in the future.
When it comes to IT, it’s a funny story… I loved IT and computer games from an early age (I think those two highly correlates) and even thought about studying anything related to software engineering. However, I decided to go to physics believing it’s the future career track. Besides that, many young people went to software engineering because of good money and not their own preferences, so it was sort of mainstream.
And when and how did you decide it was time to change your career path to IT?
My first 2 years at uni were full with physics-related activities, such as participating in physicist days, attending laboratories, reading scientific papers, and many more. I honestly tried to fall in love with this field. However, once I wanted to find a job and earn actual money, I understood it is not the path for me. Most of my options included laboratory work, and I wasn’t too much into it. So I started looking for something in a different field.
How did you gain the skills needed for the very first position in IT?
The very first struggle for me was to pick up the correct IT path and decide what coding languages I want to work with. I had to do lots of research to understand the differences between languages and where they are mainly applied. Secondly, I was lost in all the learning material! I would have definitely appreciated any help from more experienced people on choosing the right materials for learning. Last and most fun one, how to START coding at all. Not to mention, I had no idea how to create my first application…
Tell us more about getting the first job! How did this process look like?
Getting the first job was hard for me emotionally. I had to be convincing about my aim to change the career field. Moreover, I had to show self-confidence to the future employees. It was awkward to send a CV when you don’t have any IT-related experience and all the junior positions were asking to have at least 1 year.
I remember my saddest moment was when I was applying for the role in one Lithuanian company. I went to the interview, spent lots of time on my first home task, then went to the second interview. The final response was an automated saying that another candidate was more suitable for the position. I felt that I was nothing and all my time dedicated to tasks was far from appreciated. Now I am getting messages on LinkedIn from the very same recruiters with job offers: funny how tables have turned!
And why coding? What caught your eye back then, when you were only thinking about this career?
A very wide spectrum of jobs! You can be a tester, a database administrator, security specialist, a platform developer, a programmer of multiple languages! And I thought there definitely should be something that is a perfect match for my career.
And which parts of your current profession excite you the most now?
I love the dynamics of my profession! One day I am working as C# developer, next day I’m watching Pluralsight about stencil.js and later on I’m some kind of platform engineer myself as I need to migrate pipelines. Two developer days are never the same, you always have to do some new tasks.
In the Women Go Tech program, there’s a lot of mentees willing to retrain and not feeling so confident about that. After making this switch yourself, do you have any advice to share?
Have a little hope and a little more patience, the right job is around the corner!
You’re joining the Women Go Tech program as a mentor. What are your main goals here?
It is said that the door of the IT world is closed for new joiners but once they get their first job, everything completely changes! So I want to open this door a little bit wider for my mentees, so the start won’t be so terrifying and even opposite – full of great memories.