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 Joanna!

What’s your name and your role at Opera?

I am Joanna Czajka – Product Manager of Opera Desktop, Design Lead

What excites you about your daily work?

On a daily basis, I enjoy working with people. Seeking solutions, solving problems, creating new ideas. It is amazing how different minds can shape something altogether, going through the design, development and marketing processes, which are not always easy. Then our work is going to users, we’re getting feedback, learn from it and start a new process again. I call it my daily driver though, not an excitement.

What did you study?

I studied art and animation in Poland and the UK, creating two diploma movies in 2D and 3D animations.

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

I cannot recall a special moment. I always enjoyed making 2D and 3D animations in digital programs, as this combines artistic and technical thinking and skills. Then, I guess, every project or life decision led me to a very tech company such as Opera.

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

I am not sure if when something is a challenge for me it is because I am a woman, or a designer, or because of my personality. I guess men have challenges in tech, too. I think that if something is hard for you or is having a bad impact on you, you need to understand the reason or source and try to fix it. Making excuses are not an option.

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

Learn and work. Nothing is more valuable and motivating than a sense of your own experience growing project by project. Learn from the best people you may know. Join interesting projects (even if for free at the beginning).

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

If you like any topic, just dig into it how much you can. For young designers, I would recommend to search for knowledge and inspiration more in art, rather than the internet. It can deepen your approach to a design process. I read books about architecture or industrial design as I love seeking analogies between art and interface design.
I also recommend playing games. Games consist of three important things which you can observe and learn: creating understandable mechanics so people know how to play; creating crispy visuals so people want to play; and creating a narrative so people can engage and don’t stop playing (and become addicted, too ;)). I played games and redrew them on paper many times to understand their mechanics.

Who or what inspires you?

Everything can be an inspiration if you look at the world around you and enjoy it as it is.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Working in tech and in a company that offers a product worldwide makes me think about the whole world everyday. Simple things like weekend mountainside trips, sketching in a notepad or being with a family helps me renew my energy.

3 tips you would give your younger self?

It’s better to have tips for now or your future self. Then, it will lead you to something new.

Meet Kornelia!

What’s your name and your role at Opera?

My name is Kornelia Mielczarczyk. I’ve been a QA Engineer in Opera Software since 2012.

What excites you about your daily work?

I love working with Opera’s users. It gives me a lot of joy when I can see the interaction between us. We build the product for millions of users and that makes me proud!

What did you study?

I studied at Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Environmental Engineering.

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

I think my dad, who graduated from a radio technical school, instilled in me the desire to be an engineer. I’ve always been more of a ‘tech girl’ than a humanist.

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

In our office, there are no differences between men and women. I’m really lucky because I’ve never faced any discrimination or difficulties because of the fact that I’m a woman.

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

I would tell them the same thing that I’m telling my daughters every day – if you work hard and be a good person, you can be anyone you want. Just go, girl! Be brave and win the world!

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

I like traveling blogs a lot. I love following the adventures of The Bucket List Family, momentsofyugen.com or the Adamo Family . On my phone you’ll find a lot of applications accidently installed by my kids 😉 I’m the type of person who uses a phone to only make a phone call. But, I use some apps to help me organize my day, remind about events, and so on. When you have three kids your schedule is pretty loaded with birthday parties and school events. I’ve been reading a lot of parenting guides lately. What have delighted me lately are the Khaled Hosseini books, where you can read about women’s life in Afghanistan.

Who or what inspires you?

I admire everyone who leaves their previous life for a year or more and embarks on a journey. I hope I can afford it one day. I think that nothing educates a person as much as traveling does – new experiences, flavors, cultural differences … I want to show my children the world and its diversity.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I spend a lot of time with my kids and looking for attractions in the city for them. I love cooking, and I attend yoga and pilates classes.

3 tips you would give your younger self?

Go for a ‘Work & travel’ trip because that’s the best way to learn languages and see the world. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional sometimes. Be brave!

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

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