Gintarė Dzindzeletaitė is a Social Project Manager at Devbridge, based in Lithuania. In an interview with a Women4IT partner, Baltic Education Technology Institute, she discusses how her career has grown within the ICT sector, talks about opportunities that await women in the tech sector and strongly believes in the power of learning and growing from your own mistakes.
Women4IT: Could you tell us more about who you are and what you do?
Gintarė Dzindzeletaitė: Right now, I am a Social Project Manager at a Chicago-based programming company called “Devbridge” where I am responsible for the success factors of my four managing educational projects. I oversee and take responsibility for the successful completion and timeliness of educational projects within a set budget and schedule. Also, I am working with colleagues internally in order to gather new teams who will lead juniors to their future careers. I must translate project goals, the scope of work, budget, timeline, and prioritize requirements. I produce a detailed schedule by facilitating the team to plan out more detailed workflow and development cycles as well as identify key dates that require interactions and meetings. I‘m skilled in event planning, analytical tasks, news writing, event management, and public speaking.
Talking about my hobbies – one of them is to travel. I love to travel to new places, meet new people and experience new things. This is also one of the advantages when working in an international company as a project manager. We get to travel quite a lot.
W4IT: How did you get to where you are right now in your career?
GD: I‘m an experienced marketing and communications specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. I used to work at the Kaunas University of Technology as a marketing and communications coordinator, where my main goal was to increase the number of students in the IT field. Also, I was responsible for collaboration with companies. One of these companies – Devbridge – established a new position with a similar goal to what I did, so I decided to try. I have to mention that I did not have any IT experience when I tried entering that position as project coordinator. However, it seemed that they did like me and I was accepted. Then, the fun has started.
W4IT: What has been the role of technology and digital skills on this path?
GD: Before „Devbridge“, I just knew why ICT sector has to grow and what advantages it brings. Also, during my career at the university, I saw that mostly boys are choosing the Informatics Faculty. You would not believe how few girls were applying then (and maybe even now). So, basically, I had none of the experience except basic computing literacy skills and similar. I was very far from the model ICT sector worker. Since I started working at „Devbridge“, I have learned how to work in Agile methodology as well as to apply digital skills such as testing, Front-End development, website administration skills, etc. I learned more about slack, JIRA, Bitbucket and so on. It was quite challenging for me but the whole team was very supportive and now I could not imagine myself out of the ICT sector.
W4IT: What are the benefits of working in the tech sector / in digital for a woman?
GD: First of all, we get a lot of attention. Sometimes, men do not trust us but when we finally prove that we can do as well as them (or sometimes better), you get an enormous amount of attention and respect. Another thing is that you may be that motivation for other young girls to jump into the IT sector without any fear. If we are talking about salaries, then I have to mention that inequality here bare exists. You get paid as much as men, with no exceptions. One more thing very important to me is that the working hours are flexible and working from home is not an extraordinary thing.
W4IT: How do companies benefit from having women in ICT positions (tech/digital)?
GD: I believe, companies benefit from having women in ICT as much as they benefit from having men in ICT. Women are very good at testing engineering as well as Front-End development. We see a tendency of growing numbers of women in ICT nowadays. Women are more focused on details, able to communicate very effectively as well as to solve problems quickly and many more reasons why.
W4IT: Do you think we should have more women in the tech sector / digital jobs? Why?
GD: Of course, we should have more women. The main reasons are based on an aim to break the stereotypes that programming is only for men. I would like to see how one day these stereotypes will be blown away and girls will rock the ICT sector fully.
W4IT: Why is developing digital skills important? What opportunities can it bring, especially for women?
GD: We have to be up to date regarding the development of new technologies. It is changing our daily lives very quickly so we must develop our digital skills in order to have more opportunities in the future. All companies are trying to lower money spend on salaries so robots are being presented. Somehow, someone will be required to look after them, program them, understand their AI, etc. These people have to be us. As for women, the best example may be maternity leaves. If you have good digital skills and you are up to date with the required digital competencies, it will be very easy for you to enter the job market again and not be excluded. You can work from home, from any corner of the world at any time you wish. What could be better?
W4IT: What advice do you have for young women who would like to start their career in tech/digital?
GD: Start to learn individually and do not be afraid to make mistakes. It is much worse to be held back by a perception that women are not capable enough to learn the needed digital skills. I suggest for everyone who is willing to learn, to join communities of IT people and ask questions if something is not clear. Try, fall, get up and try again.
Interview by Baltic Education Technology Institute