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Meet a Mentor: Danitsa Simonovska

Written by James Adams

Tech Educators Mentor Danitsa Simonovska

January seems to be progressing at pace, and with our daytime cohort now completing their first module, we move closer to the third phase of the cohort, with mentoring just on the horizon.

Given this focus on mentors, we wanted to welcome our latest mentor Danitsa Simonovska - Software Test Analyst at Nielsen Brandbank, to the mentoring community and gain an insight in her background in tech, why she chose to become a mentor and advice she can give from her experience within the industry.

Our Full Stack Coding Bootcamps partner students with real world developers to support in their progression from junior developer, to in-career coder. Here is some insight from our chat with Danitsa.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into a career in tech?

My journey into a career in tech began a while ago when I first became interested in IT and System Administration and support in general. I started by experimenting with various networking and server configurations at home using Virtualisation and I fell in love with how everything was connected. As I gained more knowledge and experience, I began to delve deeper into more advanced concepts and technologies.

My first job in IT was as System Support Technician/Analyst. This provided me with a foundation of troubleshooting and problem-solving skills that I would later build upon and I’ve gained lots of commercial System administration experience. I quickly realised that I had a natural aptitude for technology and decided to pursue a career in the field.

Throughout self-education, I found that resources such as tutorials, forums, and courses to be incredibly valuable but I also reached out to other professionals in the tech industry for guidance and mentorship. These resources helped me to not only learn new skills and technologies, but also to stay current with the latest trends and developments in the field.

Being surrounded by IT people also played a big role in my career development. My husband is also in Tech as a Software Engineer and most of our friends are as well, so I was constantly exposed to the latest technologies, industry trends and was in the Tech buzz.

As I gained more experience through the years, I began to take on more advanced tasks and responsibilities in the area. One area that particularly fascinated me was software testing and automation. I was curious about the process of ensuring that software was of high quality and free of bugs, and I knew that this was an area where I could make a real impact and I can use my gained experience so far to thrive into this role.

I decided to focus my learning on software testing methodologies, testing tools, testing frameworks and programming languages (such as C#, JavaScript, HTML and CSS) used for these tools/frameworks and also best practices. I spent countless hours studying, experimenting and building experience. Soon I was able to transition into a role as a Software Tester and get to work with multi-disciplinary teams where I became responsible for ensuring that the software is of high quality and meets the needs of the company and customers.

My journey into a career in tech has definitely been an exciting one, and it has been incredibly rewarding. Starting out as a System Support Technician, progressing through the role and transitioning into a Software Tester role is a testament to the power of self-education, dedication and hard work.

I am excited to continue learning and growing in the field and am confident that I will continue to take on more challenging roles in the future.

What made you decide you wanted to give up your time to be a mentor?

As a self-educated professional in tech, I know first-hand the value of mentorship and the impact it can have on one's career. I’ve had great mentors in my career and that has played a key role for my advancements in the roles so that is why I decided to give up my time to be a mentor and pay it forward to the next generation of people in tech.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with several mentors who have provided me with guidance, support, and valuable advice. They helped me to navigate the challenges that come with the industry, and gave me the confidence and skills needed to succeed.

I also realised that I had gained a lot of knowledge and experience throughout my career that I could share with others. I wanted to use my skills and experience to empower and inspire the next generation of people in tech, and help them to overcome the same obstacles that I had faced.

Being a mentor is not only about providing technical advice, but it's also about being a role model, a sounding board, a support system, and a guide. It's about being there for your mentee, helping them to develop their skills and confidence, and providing them with the resources and connections they need to succeed.

What advice were you given early in your career that has stuck with you?

As someone who has progressed through the career ladder, starting from an entry-level position and working my way up to a more senior role in the IT industry, I have received a lot of advice along the way. However, there is one piece of advice that has stuck with me throughout my career and that is to never stop learning.

Early on in my career, I was told that the IT industry is constantly changing and evolving, and that in order to succeed, I needed to be constantly learning and staying current with the latest technologies and trends. This advice has proven to be invaluable as I have progressed through my career.

The technology industry is one that is always changing, new technologies and frameworks are being developed, new trends are emerging and old ones are disappearing. If you want to stay relevant and advance in your career, you have to be willing to learn and adapt and dedicate good time doing this. This is particularly true for those who are self-taught, as it becomes even more important to stay on top of the latest developments and advancements.

Another key aspect is to not be afraid to take on new challenges and to be proactive in seeking out opportunities to learn and grow. I have always been open to taking on new projects and responsibilities, even if they were outside of my comfort zone. This has allowed me to gain valuable experience and knowledge in different areas of the IT industry, and has helped me to develop a well-rounded set of skills.

In addition to learning new technical skills, I've also learned the importance of soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These skills are just as important in the IT industry as technical knowledge, and have helped me to build strong relationships and be a more effective leader and team member.

In conclusion, the advice to "never stop learning" has been a guiding principle throughout my career and has helped me to progress from an entry-level position to a senior role in the IT industry. I would advise anyone starting out in their career to always be open to learning and growing, and to not be afraid to take on new challenges.

What do you think you can bring to mentoring the next generation of tech talent?

By sharing my experiences and providing guidance and support, I believe I can help the next generation of tech talent to overcome the challenges that come with just starting out in the industry as well as help achieve their goals. I can help them to build their skills and confidence, and provide them with the resources and connections they need to succeed.

Furthermore, I can provide guidance on how to balance technical skills with soft skills. I've learned that not only technical knowledge but also soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are essential in the tech industry. I can help my mentees develop these skills and show them how to use them in their work and career development.

I believe I can bring a unique perspective and set of skills to mentoring the next generation of tech talent. I can provide guidance and support on the technical and soft skills, help to overcome the challenges and obstacles that come with being a self-taught professional in the tech industry and inspire and empower the next generation of people in tech.

To see if coding is for you, you can try our introduction to coding bootcamp - with our cohorts and student numbers constantly growing, we are always looking for new mentors. Please contact Tech Educators if this is something you are interested in.

About the Author

James has 8 years with Fortune 200 US firm ITW, experience of managing projects in China, USA, and throughout Europe. James has worked with companies such as Tesco, Vauxhall, ITW, Serco, McDonalds. James has experience in supporting start-up and scale up companies such as Readingmate, Gorilla Juice and Harvest London. James completed his MBA at the University of East Anglia in 2018.

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