Job title: M2M Product Owner
Employer: Rimac Technology d.o.o
Year of graduation: 2011
Supervisor: Zvonimir Vanjak, Ph.D. (officially professor Vedran Mornar, Ph.D.)
Study profile: Computing, Software Engineering
My name is Andrea and I enrolled in FER because I fell in love with programming back when we only learned about it at the level of flowcharts in high school. For my totally analytical, introverted side, FER was a perfect choice. However, as my career progressed, my creative side awakened more and more, and I enjoyed working with people. Sharing knowledge and encouraging others to do something more became part of my everyday life – from leading teams, mentoring others in the workplace and volunteering with the Code Club association, to organising the Women in Data Science conference and the Leading in Tech meetup, as well as the latest project, Mentoring Byte. I currently invest most of my energy in developing a Toddler.js and two Baby.js libraries, and my passion is baking cakes of all shapes and forms.
How did you find your first job after FER?
During my final year of study, I had various student jobs and the last one was in my profession – maintaining and updating websites. I was offered to stay in that company full-time, but at the time the job and the environment weren’t right for me, so I turned it down. The company where my mentor worked had open applications for several junior positions and my mentor persuaded me to come in for an interview. I went convinced that I wouldn’t like it, but it ended up being quite different. I stayed with the company for 6 years and owe a lot of my knowledge and experience to that time.
What are you doing now?
My role at Rimac Automobili (now Rimac Technology) focuses on the telemetry system that monitors the vehicle from production through internal and external testing to active use. The work itself consists of understanding the process and collecting requirements from almost all teams within the company, analysis, collaboration with design and development teams, and designing and creating new products and their parts from everything collected. Because of my background in development, I’m also heavily involved in improving the development processes and the quality of the product development itself.
Knowledge and experience multiply when they’re shared. That’s why I dedicate a lot of my free time to the organisation Mentoring Byte – a free mentoring programme for people in IT.
When did you develop an interest in the field you’re currently working in?
When I first started working, I didn’t even know what fields existed in IT and how diverse and large this field was. After software development, I started as a junior developer. My desire to learn and explore how to make things better gave me the opportunity to work on development (both backend and frontend), databases, testing, writing documentation, creating the architecture of a new project, planning, developing new internal products, managing a team and the entire software department. When the company started to work intensively on better planning and documentation of features and their priorities, the position of Product Owner became available and I was given the opportunity to get to know this part of product development, which I accepted.
What are some of the challenges you face in the workplace?
The biggest challenge I face as a Product Owner is bringing all the vehicle development processes together in the software we work on. At first glance, this may seem quite simple, but when you consider the tracking of all the parts, software upgrades, testing, different markets and variants, it becomes clearer how complex the process is. The general lack of time also bothers me every day, as I’ve so many interests and desires and I find it hard to eliminate some of them. However, I’ve to admit that since having children, I use my time much more purposefully and efficiently for the things that I find most fulfilling.
What is the most useful thing you’ve learned during your career?
For a long time, I thought that asking for help was a weakness, but the more experience I have, the more I see how important it is to admit that there are things we don’t know, to share our thoughts with others, to listen to others’ experiences and thus further our development. Therefore, it’s sort of my personal mission to show people that they can do anything they want and to encourage them to dare to ask for help.
What advice would you give to students who are looking for a job?
Here I’ll quote Tea Zavacki because this advice has changed my perspective on everything I do: “If you don’t know what you want – say YES to every opportunity that comes your way. You never know which one is the right one. If you know what you want – say NO to everything that doesn’t lead you to your desired destination.” I’d advise students to try anything that interests them and follow their crazy dreams. Don’t worry if it turns out that one direction isn’t ideal, because you can always change it and continue in another direction. If you want to be more successful and move faster down your path, sign up for Mentoring Byte and find a mentor to help you.