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Spotlight Series: Ieva Draugelytė, Front-End Developer, Oxylabs

Ieva Draugelytė, Front-End Developer, Oxylabs

ARTICLE SUMMARY

SheCanCode caught up with Ieva to chat about how she landed her current role, the skills she believes are important for her role and her career advice for other women in tech.

Ieva graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technologies and has tried various IT-related fields, including game development, already while studying. However, front-end development appeared to be the most exciting one of them. It led Ieva to Adform, a global digital media advertising technology company, where she spent almost four years developing internal systems and ad management platforms using JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, Python, and PHP. She also took the role of a Scrum Master.

After briefly trying her hands at fintech, Ieva came to Oxylabs, a market-leading web intelligence platform. Besides building, developing, and improving different tools and solutions, Ieva continues to specialize in the Scrum master’s role, deepening her knowledge of the Agile processes.

HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR CURRENT ROLE? WAS IT PLANNED?

I have always been interested in computers and technology to some extent, thus, I chose to study IT at Vilnius University. However, right after the first year, I started feeling lost, doubting my passion and choices, and even considered dropping out. Now, I’m very happy that I decided to continue as in my second year, I scored an internship in an amazing IT company. I started as a tech support there and, later, moved to a developer role.

A few years later, I was approached by Oxylabs, a leading provider of web intelligence collection solutions, and got an offer to join an ambitious and growing web development team. Oxylabs taught me a lot about the big data industry, and I’ve kept deepening my knowledge in this field ever since.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ROLES IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT EXPERTISE?

I tried myself in various fields before committing to front-end development which appeared to be the most satisfying as it is a dynamic field, combining both visual and tech creativity.

My current role at Oxylabs is broader than just development – I work closely with my team on improving our internal processes and driving new initiatives. I also mentor junior colleagues and own various web-related projects. Our team is responsible for numerous websites and internal applications, and we have also created our very own custom web builder to enable fast and dynamic changes throughout hundreds of web pages for our stakeholders.

DID YOU (OR DO YOU) HAVE A ROLE MODEL IN TECH OR BUSINESS IN GENERAL?

I’d say it was my father, who is a passionate engineer himself. He instilled curiosity in me and pushed me to think outside of the box when it comes to my career, never stop, and never give up.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR?

I had lots of doubts and rough patches but I’m very grateful to finally feel comfortable and confident where I am. My team consists of talented people, and we have delivered many creative projects, some of which I own myself. I have received an amazing opportunity to grow and express myself the way I want it.

WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORKDAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

It almost always starts with a cup of tea and a work overview. Since we have a hybrid work model with some days spent in the office and some – at home, I spend my early mornings alone going through my team’s code reviews and keeping up with joint initiatives and meetings. Every day is different. Sometimes, we have huge projects and burning deadlines, so I spend my time coding and pushing features. On other days, however, I work more with process improvements, participating in dev guild initiatives or burying my nose in documentations and diagrams while planning how to bring the next cool thing to life. It’s not easy to maintain balance and stay productive but it is very rewarding in the end!

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SKILLS OR TRAITS THAT YOU NOTICE COMPANIES LOOK FOR WHEN SEARCHING FOR ROLES IN YOUR FIELD?

I have noticed that no one has ever asked for my diploma or educational background during any job interviews, and the same goes for my developer colleagues. Apart from professional experience, during trials interviewers seem to prioritize passion and excitement, new ideas, and problem-solving abilities. Being good at communication, having actionable plans and ideas, being willing to learn and grow, confident and interested in tech stack – those seem to be the key traits appreciated during the interviews.

HAS ANYONE EVER TRIED TO STOP YOU FROM LEARNING AND DEVELOPING IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE? HAVE YOU FOUND THE TECH SECTOR SUPPORTIVE?

I consider myself lucky, as for most of my career, I had a lot of support from my colleagues, even when times were really hard. It is pivotal to have supportive, knowledgeable, and patient mentors, especially at the beginning of your IT career!

At Oxylabs, we’re encouraged to devote time to learning and mentorship initiatives. Helping junior team members and sharing feedback allows all of us to grow quickly and strengthen not only our technical skills, but also emotional intelligence.

HAVE YOU EVER FACED INSECURITIES AND ANXIETIES DURING YOUR CAREER, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

It took me a long time to overcome anxiety and the infamous imposter syndrome (it still happens, though). I was so afraid and overwhelmed, that it led me to burnouts.

Open communication with my peers as well as relying on my team more helped me to overcome the burden and unnecessary emotions.

It is very important to take breaks and say your troubling thoughts out loud – be it to a colleague or to a rubber duck 😊

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK CAN BE DAUNTING. DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE FEELING OVERWHELMED?

Always remember that everyone started in a similar position. At Oxylabs, part of our work is to learn and share knowledge equally. There is always someone ready to take on you and help you grow, so embrace it and use it to your advantage! Stay curious, never be harsh to yourself, and, most importantly – enjoy what you do.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO REACH THEIR CAREER GOALS IN TECHNOLOGY?

Never be afraid to apply where you want to be, and never be afraid of changes. Neither your age nor your education has any big impact when choosing IT as a career. Take online courses (so many of them are free today!), find the field and technology that interests you, join developer communities, and attend career markets. I have met doctors, historians, and artists of different ages that have joined the technology sector purely with self-taught skills and big motivation.

There are so many great women and mentors in this field, there is absolutely no need to be afraid!

Stay confident and positive, you’re not going to regret it.

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