Here at SheCanCode, we love hearing stories from women in tech who love their job, the company they work at and are excited about their future. And so, we were delighted to recently get to know Tania – Senior Software Engineer at Paddle.
Tania Zagorskaia, Senior Software Engineer at Paddle
Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your current role?
I’ve been working at Paddle for the last 3 years as a Senior Software Engineer. My main focus is the backend development which is mostly PHP and Go.
Did you always know you’d end up with a career in the Tech industry?
Not really to be honest! I was always good at maths and always enjoyed working with computers when I was at school but I didn’t realise it could be a path to the Tech industry. There was a moment when after school I couldn’t choose between 2 universities – one was about software engineering and another one – was about architecture. Two completely different specialties! I chose software engineering in the end and don’t regret it. But in my free time, I still enjoy planning and building different things 😊
And what attracted you to Paddle?
Paddle really was love at first sight, at least from my side. The team, the office, the technology we use, flexible working hours, the atmosphere in the company – everything. I really like one of our principles – openness and transparency. We have regular meetings when different news – good and bad – is shared with the whole company, it’s very important for me. And Paddle supported me and my family with my visa when I required it. It wasn’t easy to find a company that could provide that.
What would be the highlights of your journey so far with Paddle?
I’ve been through different projects and different teams for the last 3 years and the main highlight for me was always working with such incredible, talented people. Even during the last year when we were working from home 100% of the time, it’s always nice to have meetings and see my colleagues’ faces.
I’ve learned many things during these years but probably the most interesting and useful for me was over the last few months when I was leading a project mostly by myself with minimal guidance from my Manager. It’s a very important experience for me as I wish to grow further into a more senior role in the future.
On your Company Profile, Paddle is described as a ‘family-friendly employer’ – what has that meant for you in real terms?
Oh, it means a lot to me as I have 2 little kids. Flexible working hours allow me not to worry about dropping off and picking up kids from the nursery; I always know I have this time.
Unlimited holidays give me a chance for a proper rest with the family and for the last year, during the pandemic, I also learned that if I’m stuck at home with kids who have to self-isolate, I have my teammates’ backs. It’s fine to work whenever I can or to take additional days off. If I were still working in my previous company, I’d just spend all my holidays sitting at home. At Paddle I don’t worry about that.
I also really like our equal maternity/paternity leave policy in the UK. Even Dads are allowed to take lly paid 4 months off when they have a baby. As a Mom, I know how important it is to have your partner’s support during the first few months.
When it comes to attracting, hiring and retaining more women into tech – what do you think companies should be doing?
To hire female candidates the company needs to find them first. I think forums and communities for women in tech are a good start. When you create a job spec it’s important to make it gender-neutral so it can be attractive for both male and female candidates. And the final step – when you find a good candidate – is to describe the company in a compelling way. For me as a woman and mom, it was very important to hear about flexibility and being family-friendly as well as other things like the modern technology we use.
Finally, what’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t be afraid of changes”. I was born in a small town in Russia and was average at school, and average at university – I never thought of myself as exceptional or very talented. And yet I ended up living in the UK and working for this incredible company. So, anyone can achieve what they dream about if they work hard.