This blog post was created in collaboration with Barclays and includes paid promotion.
Rudina Tafhasaj is a Senior Salesforce Developer at Barclays. To learn more about her journey as a successful woman in tech, we sat down with her to discuss her everyday work life, why being too hard on yourself can be counterproductive, as well as what the biggest myth about the tech industry is.
You work as a Senior Salesforce Developer. Many of us have probably heard ofSalesforce before, but we’re not really sure what it is. Could you tell us more?
Sure. Salesforce overall is a CRM - a customer relationship management platform. It's basically a tool to support sales and the marketing of a company worldwide. Salesforce operates in the cloud and its services allow the business to use this cloud technology to make better connections with partners, customers, and also potential customers.
The main reason why businesses use Salesforce is because it creates and supports customer relationship management. The platform allows automated processes and has many features like flows, workflows, process builders and a variety of standard objects like contact, opportunity, account, product, price book and so on which you can customize based on the business needs. It helps the business to break down the technology barriers between departments to give to the company a complete view of all the customers, everywhere.
Also, to explain what the Cloud is - it’s basically a service that you're using, but you don't have it in your local machine or in your system. Cloud is a metaphor being used for the network. All the services you’re using are actually somewhere else, but the internet connects you with them. To compare, it’s basically like electricity, which is also being produced somewhere else and comes to you through cables and wires.But you only pay for what you use in your home. That’s a physical parallel of what Cloud is.
What does a typical day look like for a Salesforce developer?
Like for the majority of us, my day starts with having a coffee and going through emails. People have this idea that developers spend all day sitting and writing code, but I’m going to disappoint them - that’s not how it is. We have a lot of meetings before we get to the coding stage. We spend these meetings dealing with people from Business, trying to understand what they want, what the feature they want us to build is, and soon.
My mornings are usually more free as the majority of my team is based in New York City (Rudina is based in Prague -Ed.), so that’s the part of day which I use for coding. The second part of the day is then mostly spent discussing new features with Business. I also really enjoy taking part in volunteering projects that we have in our workplace. It helps me switch my mind off and you get to work with different people.
What kind of project do you enjoy working on most and why?
I would say it’s more about the way I enjoy working than the type of project. I really enjoy projects which involve teamwork. Yes, it’s always great to get credit for something you’ve done yourself. But the thing is that when you work alone, the only enjoyable moment is when you get the credit. When you work in a team, you feel the power of teamwork and you realize that the fun part is actually the whole journey. And vice versa, when something goes wrong, if you are all on you own, the whole responsibility is on you, unlikely if you are part of the team, you get the feeling of ”we are all in this together”.
Do you feel that being a woman has made your experience in tech different in any way?
I would say that when I started my career as aSalesforce developer, I really didn’t feel any difference between me and my male colleagues. I received the same help and support. And the same goes for Barclays. I really feel that I have the opportunity to access the same resources. I get the same support as my other colleagues, no matter what gender, nationality, etc.
However, if we talk about the time I was making my decision about going to university, I did struggle a bit then. People around me had this very strong attitude saying things like “you cannot study Informatics because it’s super difficult and only guys can do that because they are smart”. Even if you want to ignore these people, there’s always a part of your brain which is impacted by this. I feel really lucky that as an 18-year-old girl, I was able to close my mind to these people’s opinions and just follow my decision.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while working in tech?
That’s a challenging question because I can’t just point out one thing that I’ve learned. One thing I would probably say is the fact that it’s never too late to get into tech. Technology is changing every day and people these days have great opportunities to get involved with new technologies and grow with them. You don’t need to start in a super difficult Java position and be hard on yourself. There are many new things you can find which don’t require any previous knowledge.
What’s the biggest myth about working in tech?
People say that technology is not creative. I have never felt like that. It was something that people told me since I was a student, but when I did my own research, I really found it to be very creative.And while developing in my career and moving up, I realized you start to actively shape the technical infrastructure and make sure it aligns with the business goals. That’s exactly when you can get really creative. And to convince you of this, I’ll also say that : when I was making my decision about what to study, it was either Informatics or Art for me. But I then realized thatI would be able to apply my love of art in technology, but not so much vice versa. Yes, we use technology everywhere these days, but applying it in a non-tech environment is difficult. However, applying knowledge of art and creative desire in technology is much easier.
Any career advice you would give to your junior self?
I would say don’t be so hard on yourself. I remember that when I started as a junior developer, all I did was work, study, sleep. I skipped self-care, I skipped fun, I skipped so many things just to focus on becoming who I wanted to be. But I think that had I had a little more discipline in taking care of myself, it would have been a lot easier and I would have grown faster. Being hard on myself didn’t really help me to grow, it maybe just made the process a bit longer. So this is definitely something I would tell my younger self.
If our chat with Rudina has inspired you to pursue a career in tech, or if you are simply on the hunt for a new job, Barclays is currently offering some interesting career opportunities. Join their Prague team as a Junior Test Automation Engineer or as a Graduate Developer!