Turning my passion for technology into a life-long career
I’ve always enjoyed learning new languages. At university, I studied Linguistics, focusing on English and German, but I wanted to explore other paths before embarking on my career. So, after completing my degree in Russia, I packed up and moved to Germany with the aim to start studying Computer Science. It was at this time that I’d also come across an opportunity to move to Abu Dhabi and travel the world as a flight attendant.
I was offered the role and my future as a world traveller was set – well, for the next four years at least. I’d never lost my interest in tech and had started to teach myself basic coding between flights. I knew I wanted a career where there I'd never stop learning, so I left my job behind me and moved to Prague. It was time to pursue my goals, but little did I know how much my life would change in just one year.
Exploring my curiosity around a new type of language
To me, coding was like learning a new language, just one between the computer and I. So, although coding and linguistics may seem like worlds apart, the basic principles are pretty similar. The difference with technology? From application and web development to artificial intelligence, there are so many doors to open, you just have to be curious enough to walk through. If you’re willing to put in the effort, your career can go as far as you can imagine.
I knew I needed a boost to launch my tech career, so I signed up for a 12-week coding bootcamp. Here’s where I got my first insight into technology careers at Barclays, and where I met Zlatko – a Barclays colleague who volunteered as a tech mentor in his free time. He was so enthusiastic, telling me all about how he’d explored different technologies within Barclays, with their complete support. That was when he told me that a Technology apprenticeship programme was launching in Prague. I’d set myself up for success by taking on the 12-week coding bootcamp, and I was ready to begin my career with Barclays.
"When I joined the apprenticeship programme, I was immediately shown the vast support on offer for women in tech"
Making an impact from the very start
When I joined the apprenticeship programme, I was immediately shown the vast support on offer for women in tech. In Prague, there is a local group of colleagues who are dedicated to sharing career opportunities and ensuring everyone has the support they need to explore different routes within the business. Then, there are Barclays’ diversity employee-led networks that create learning opportunities on both a global and local level.
With such well-rounded support networks, I was able to start making an impact from the very start. At the moment, I'm helping to develop a platform where colleagues can find vital information in one click – anywhere in the world, and at any time. This is going to make an incredible difference for thousands of colleagues around the world. Knowing that I’m playing a part in making a tangible difference for so many colleagues just makes me want to learn more.
Learning and growing every day
I still have a lot to learn in the tech space – I always will as it develops every day – but Barclays have created a safe environment for me to do so. In tech, you learn by jumping into the deep end. It can be a little overwhelming as there’s so much to absorb, but Barclays have been there to offer constant support. I’m given the freedom and trust to take on a task and figure out the solution. I’m encouraged to ask questions and speak to different people, to learn as much as I can every day from my colleagues, fellow apprentices and from our online training courses.
Technology careers can seem a little daunting from the outside in, especially if you’re at the beginning of your journey. I remember opening the code on my first project and feeling intimidated. Looking at it, I thought I’d never be able to write something like this, let alone understand what’s going on. But – just four months later – I can write it, understand it, and my confidence is growing every day. I can’t wait for the day when I feel confident enough to become a mentor to others and help them just as Zlatko, my manager, coach and buddy have helped me.