After graduating with a degree in physics, Rasa found her calling at an IT company and learning to develop personal leadership.
Rasa Raulinaitė, started her career working at a custom software design and development consultancy Devbridge four years ago. For her, IT was an area of technology she deliberately tried to avoid. From her perspective, she found most things that she touched malfunctioned or stopped working, resulting in awkward situations all around.
Reflecting on the beginning of her career in IT, she says, "It seemed as though all I had to do was put my hand on a computer, and it broke. For me, the basics of programming lessons were quite a challenge. As a result, I was constantly surrounded by people who helped me fix all IT issues. The same people helping me resolve problems were programmers. From time to time, they showed me their software, turned to me for opinions, and asked me to take advantage of their work. After all, who better to find malfunctions than someone who was a pro at breaking things. After a while, one of my friends said, 'You pretty much always break my code. Maybe it's time you go and get paid to do that.' I saw the opportunity and went for it."
From physics studies to technology news editors
Raulinaitė studied general physics at Vilnius University to understand how the world works and answer for herself the constantly emerging "why?"
"I got answers to simple questions there. But when I saw that there were more complex questions that no one knew the answers to yet, I realized that my path was not there. I decided not to continue my studies. I chose to strive for improvement and gain as much practical experience as possible. I am still very grateful to the university for the strong rationale. My studies advanced and encouraged me to question everything and to find solutions to seemingly hopeless situations. This probably drew me to the IT sector in the long run," Raulinaitė says.
While still studying, she got a job as a news editor for a technology website. Later, like most of her classmates, she worked in a scientific laboratory. After graduating, she gave sales a try for a company that sold laboratory equipment, a job she did not enjoy.
By sheer coincidence, her friend (already mentioned earlier) urged her to consider a career in testing. At the time, it was an area she knew little about at the time. Raulinaitė decided to go for it and looked for a company where she could start an IT career.
She began working at a project contracting firm, where she accumulated more technical knowledge and valuable experience working on varied projects from scratch. She then furthered her knowledge by testing in a startup environment, where she experienced a completely different approach to work, processes, responsibilities, and results. She eventually found Devbridge, where she embarked on another exciting and challenging stage in her software tester's career.
Looking for a company that matches personal values
Before joining Devbridge, Rasa had to listen to all sorts of remarks about her being a woman working in a field dominated by men. Comments like, "Ooh, such an IT woman we have here" were common. The subtle jabs never stopped her from pursuing her goals, and today Rasa is a firm believer that most stereotypes come from people who do not work in this sector and do not have any understanding of how things work from within.
"I am not the only woman on the team. Working at Devbridge, unlike other places I worked, I know that it is not my gender but talent and work that is valued. Skills are easily measurable in programming tasks. Results are very clearly visible. You are judged solely on your work. Even during the selection process, I realized that I would like to work for this company, as the technological capital was very high and communication was based on full respect. After four years of working at Devbridge, I have the same perspective," Raulinaitė says confidently.
According to Rasa, the pace of working in the IT sector is fast. Each project often brings many professional challenges. It's necessary to learn new technologies, adapt to client facilities, business requirements, and understand what would provide the most benefit. Therefore, adaptability and the desire to improve are two of the most critical elements valued at work.
"The last project I worked on was for an automotive software company that merged the authorization from two client systems. It may not sound very interesting. However, I know our team helped save a lot of support costs, duplicative customer information issues, and headaches. We worked with our client's programmers on the project and advised them on how to implement good practices," shares the experienced tester.
"My job currently consists of two components: team leadership and direct technical work. I'm most excited to be part of a team member's growth, to see a person's potential, steer them in the right direction, see how they take challenges, how they handle mistakes, learn from errors, and improves. I am very proud that our team consists of technically strong, intelligent, and motivated people. I'm fortunate to work with people I can openly say everything to, get their feedback, have full confidence in their knowledge, and achieve results together," says R.Raulinaitė, now working as a team manager at Devbridge for over a year.
Leadership lessons are solidified at work
Rasa stresses that while there are still few women in the IT sector, successful examples of women can and should hopefully inspire and encourage others to consider work in the field.
"I am happy to learn from colleagues on a daily basis. I am constantly amazed at their ability not only to achieve results but also to maintain humanity, openness, and moral compass at the same time. Leadership is revealed in small, everyday, complex situations, where people often have to choose from several evils, taking responsibility, and openly acknowledging what does and does not work. If you make a mistake, learn quickly from the mishap, and move forward after correcting it. So far, I have met many leaders who inspire me. Often the inspiration comes from the people I work with every day and not distant, unfamiliar authors of leadership books (although theoretical knowledge is necessary!)" shares the interviewee.
According to Rasa, though, there are not as many female executives in many sectors, there could and should be. Rather than initiating women leaders artificially, she suggests creating an environment where good leaders grow in general, no matter what gender they are.
"I don't believe in titles, names, or boasting about big awards. I want results, not recognition. I think a person can be a leader and not have a big title, just as a person in a managerial position may not have the leadership qualities. Of course, by being in the right role and reflecting on your abilities, you get more tools and opportunities to achieve common goals and responsibilities. I am glad that a new generation is growing in Lithuania. It is important not only to come to work and be compensated for it but also offers an atmosphere that suits their values, one that is psychologically safe environment, encourages the creation of added value, and provides the opportunity to develop as a professional," Rasa emphasizes.