The feeling of finishing a software feature from "head to toe" is amazing | Talto

The feeling of finishing a software feature from "head to toe" is amazing

/ von Kerstin Wagner
veröffentlicht am 6. November 2020
Story
Story

Moving from Brazil to Austria to complete her Master Studies in Graz and starting as a Junior Software Engineer. Find out why getting used to new technologies was a challenge when starting the first job and which skills are important for it.

Hi, I am Vanessa and I'll tell you how my career start was after finishing my studies 

What you need to know about me

  • Studies: Bachelor

    Computer Science (Focus: 5G Networks and Algorithms)

  • Studies: Master

    Computer Science (Focus: Data Science and Algorithms)

  • University: Bachelor

    Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL)

  • University: Master

    TU Graz

  • Graduation year:

    2019

  • My first job:

    My first job is my current one as a full-stack Software Engineer at Dynatrace, mainly working with Java

  • Job title on my current business card:

    Full-stack Software Engineer at Dynatrace

My work day: A little insight

What does a typical week at the office look like?
Right now because of the pandemic of Covid-19, we, as a company, are allowed to work from home whenever we want (we just need to update a spreadsheet stating when we will be going to the office and when not). For this reason, I start Monday morning working from home from 8:00 to 4:30 pm. Tuesdays are the days that most of my team go to the office and so I also join from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Currently I am not working on Wednesdays as I have university courses from 12 pm to 8 pm. Thursdays are similar to Tuesdays and so I go to the office from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Fridays everyone from the office works from home and usually everyone stops working at most 2 pm. I use the rest of the day on Friday to catch up with the university courses and also do the groceries. I generally use the weekends to relax with my husband, sleep more than usual, take care of the apartment, plan the next week and call my family and friends from Brazil.

Which professional project do you particularly enjoy looking back to?
I am mostly really proud of my Bachelor's thesis work (An Auctioning Strategy for Virtual Mobile Network Service Provisioning, in which I solve a combinatorial problem with a heuristic in polynomial time. I studied the use of a game theory-based auctioning strategy to absorb high peak demands of 5G mobile services clients) that in 2019, won the prize for the best paper in the II Workshop of Scientific Initiation and Undergraduate Research presented during the XXXVII Brazilian Symposium on Computer Networks and Distributed Systems (SBRC 2019).

Which challenges do you face?
Since this is my first job, the first challenges were to get used to the technologies I had never seen or had much experience with. After only working for nearly six months, the challenges are now to solve the problems that arise within each feature implementation, which is something I am always very excited about, the feeling of finishing a feature from "head to toe" is amazing. 

What is the main reason you love your job for?
It's hard to explain only one reason but I would describe it as the feeling at the end of a long work day: I feel happy and fulfilled.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
Right now I am extremely happy as a Junior Software Engineer at Dynatrace. I see myself becoming a Senior Software Engineer in the next years and perhaps with all the experience I will gather I will probably want to move on to positions that require more decision making and managing other people. 

I know people that work and can program without even having a Bachelor's degree but I do believe that you need to have as much theoretical knowledge as practical.

Skills you need for this job

How much do graduates have to know when starting their first job?
I believe that if you are wiling to learn then you are good to go. Obviously Computer Science graduates should know how to program in different languages (for back-end at least Java, C++ and/or Python), how to solve problems in a structured way, know about data structures, algorithms and design patterns. But also a very basic knowledge you have to have is how to acquire more knowledge. It is very important that you know that you don't know everything and there will always be something new for you.

Which subjects from your studies are you particularly happy about today?
The most important subjects that I learned at university were:

  • Programming (UFAL)
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms (UFAL)
  • Software Testing (UFAL)
  • Design Patterns (TU Graz)
  • Network Science (TU Graz).

These were subjects of which I use the knowledge on a regular basis at work and/or that I found interesting for my professional and personal development. 

Which skills do you need a lot but haven't acquired during your studies?
The one I use the most is my programming knowledge in Java and some other languages/technologies such as MySQL, Gwt and Python. It is also nice to have some organizational skills in the sense of planning what you are working on every new day and looking at the bigger picture on what you want to accomplish (in the day, with the feature you are implementing, etc). 

Your opinion about Bachelor/Master/PHD: Which education level is required in your field?
To be honest I know people that work and can program without even having a Bachelor's degree but I do believe that you need to have as much theoretical knowledge as practical. One thing is to be able to solve a specific programming problem using the knowledge we can find online and another is to know how to solve problems in general and also prove that your solution is a great one. In the latter case, you could have higher positions for important decision making such as Product Owner or Product Manager. I believe that you have to understand how the technology you are using was built and that comes with at least a Bachelor's degree, which I believe it's the one that is necessary for you if you want to work in the industry. If you wish to pursue an academic career you should eventually reach a PHD degree. You can also have both Master and PHD degrees and work for the industry so ideally you would have a higher position as a researcher or any other where you could apply your knowledge.

My advice for you:

Just go for it! If you never try you will never know how (possibly) good it will be. When I first came to Austria I thought of only working after I finished my Masters but I didn't have any experience apart from undergraduate research in Brazil. I thought I would never be experienced enough to get into a nice company but I was brave enough to apply to Dynatrace and go through all the steps and interviews until I received their call with the job proposal. They believed in my potential and my willingness to do my best. And I think everyone should believe in themselves this way as well so that would be my advice. Be brave and go for it! And as we would say in Brazil: "their 'no' you already have". That means that you are already not in that company so the outcome could only be that everything stays the same way it is (with the 'no' that you already have) or change the status and get a 'yes'.

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