Today is International Women’s Day, the day where women from different fields, educational levels and backgrounds are recognized and celebrated all around the world for their achievements.

Presently, women make up just 17% of the tech workforce, thus more and more women are encouraged to pursue careers in tech. Initiatives such as Girls who Code  and conferences such as European Women in Technology support this movement passionately.

With Opera being a tech company, we are very proud of the strong women that work for us in all different departments, from finance to marketing, sales to product design, engineering and quality assurance, to distribution and data analysis.

In celebration of this day, we want to introduce to you to some of the women behind the Opera browsers.

Meet Ola!

What’s your name and your role at Opera?

Ola Berjak, software developer.

What excites you about your daily work?

Solving real-life problems. I work on Opera Mini, a mobile browser that is used daily by millions of people worldwide. It is amazing to see the world through this lens – for example, by finding out that our servers are under high load because there’s a huge cricket match happening right now. Being able to make a positive impact on people’s lives is a great motivator.

What did you study?

Computer Science for solid technical background and Quantitative Methods in Economics and Information Systems (that’s one long name :-)) for more insight into analytics and economics in general.

When did you start to think about pursuing a career in tech?

At the age of 7, when we got our first computer in the house – a hand-me-down Toshiba Satellite notebook. I’ve had a few other ideas since that day (being a lawyer would be one – inspired by a popular Polish TV series) but pursuing a tech job stayed with me over all these years. However, my first serious introduction to computer science was at the age of 19 when I started my CS degree.

What challenges are you facing as a woman working in tech?

Lack of women in leadership positions that I could look up to.

What would your advice to women considering pursuing a career in tech be?

There are many paths in tech that you can follow, pick the one that appeals to you the most. From my personal experience, you don’t need to be a hardcore programmer that wrote her first lines code in the 80s using BASIC to have a rewarding job as a programmer (but it’s equally cool if you actually did that, too!). Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be curious – everything comes with time and practice. Keep being your awesome self.

Are there any specific Book/Blogs/Apps you enjoy & recommend ?

“We Should All Be Feminists” essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The “So you want to be a wizard” zine by Julia Evans: https://jvns.ca/zines/#so-you-want-to-be-a-wizard. Trust me, it’s about programming :-). I also enjoy reading Julia’s other zines – she’s great!

Who or what inspires you?

My mum – she has recently graduated with her first degree at the age of 53, took up a related postgraduate course AND found a job in her new field.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Travelling as much as I can, taking up new sports, baking cakes.

3 tips you would give your younger self?

Don’t worry too much about what other people think.

No one can have it all.

Sleep is good.

Meet Michalina!

What’s your name and your role at Opera?

Michalina / QA

What excites you about your daily work?

I like problems. The more complicated they are, the more I like them. But the most I like is to discover them, which is why I’m feeling good in my role as Quality Assurance.

What did you study?

When I had to choose my study I was a member of the basketball team of the University of Wroclaw. So that was obvious that I should study at the University of Wroclaw. There was only one direction I could choose due to the examinations. I was good in math and that forced me to select Informatics.

When did you start to think about pursuing a career in tech?

When I started looking for a job my good friend from studies persuaded me to apply to Opera. I was accepted and I’m still here 🙂

What challenges are you facing as a woman working in tech?

When you hide after the large monitors in your comfortable workspace it doesn’t matter if you are woman or man. You just need to focus on your job and turn on logical thinking. The output matters.

What would your advice to women considering pursuing a career in tech be?

Just be yourself, stay confident and focus on your purposes.

Are there any specific Book/Blogs/Apps you enjoy & recommend ?

I know many books or blogs…. but unfortunately, they are mostly about cycling and sports diets 😉

Who or what inspires you?

Life and its unpredictability – we can try to follow the path but we never can be sure where it ends.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

In my free time, I’m all devoted to mountain biking! Training, racing, but also a good and healthy diet. In nature with my 29er, I feel freedom, fun and I can forget about every problem found in my job 😉

3 tips you would give your younger self?

– Less stress

– More fun

– Better balance

 

Have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and make sure to check out Part I. Happy International Women’s Day!

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