Sometimes finding your path requires experimenting with different things. I found my way to the tech industry after studying linguistics, working as an au pair, and taking shifts in restaurants. Today I’m working as a Software Designer in an international PSLifestyle project as part of team Solita. We are building an app that helps ordinary citizens take concrete steps towards more sustainable lifestyles. I want to contribute to using technology for good.
I’ve done many things before I found programming and got interested in technology. I’m originally from Poland, but I’ve lived in Finland for over five years now. When I first arrived, I worked as an au pair for a year and a half in Porvoo. Then I took some time to figure out what I should do next and worked in restaurants, first in Loviisa and then in Helsinki. I have a linguistics degree from Poland, but it’s difficult to work in my field in the Finnish market. While I was working in a restaurant in Helsinki, I found programming and started my studies.
I’ve always liked math, riddles, and problem solving, so it made sense that I got interested in coding. Also, knowing natural languages as systems helped. My boyfriend and sister are programmers, so I had examples close to me. I figured if my sister could do it, so could I.
What inspires me in programming is that you can create anything out of nowhere. The world is full of software and apps that people use every day.
I wanted to be one of those people who create tech solutions that make life easier and more enjoyable. I also see that technology has an important role in shaping the future, and I want to be part of that: contribute to using tech for good.
I started learning to program independently first, then enrolled in a course in Business College Helsinki. It was a one-and-a-half-year intense study period, and I graduated last year. I got lucky because when I was looking for jobs, Solita was building an English-speaking team. Since August, I’ve been a Software Designer at Solita, working with the PSLifestyle program.
PSLifestyle closing the gap between climate awareness and individual action
PSLifestyle is an EU-funded program that aims to close the gap between climate awareness and individual action. It’s targeted at ordinary citizens to help them find ways to take steps towards more sustainable lifestyles. It will be launched in eight countries, and we are working together with over 15 international partners.
The team at Solita is building a web app that citizens can use in the future to calculate their ecological footprint. We were also working with the service design in the earlier stage, but I wasn’t part of the team then. When the app is ready, people will receive tailored recommendations to reduce their ecological footprint based on their current results from the calculator. It’s a great tool to help people take small steps towards a more sustainable life.
This project has been a great learning platform for me. It’s the first big-scale project I’m working on in real life, so the learning curve has been steep.
It’s been eye-opening to work with multiple stakeholders and learn to ask for help from colleagues. I’ve enjoyed talking with people outside the tech field; they bring a different perspective to what we are doing on the tech side. I’m also impressed by how much Solita trusts me, given that I don’t have that much experience.
I think it’s great that Solita is part of this kind of co-creation project; it shows that Solita cares and wants to advocate sustainability. This topic is important for me personally as well. Building ecological awareness and contributing to a more sustainable planet is crucial. What I like about this project particularly is that it’s action-orientated: people will get concrete steps and recommendations to create a more sustainable life.
All the diversity in the tech industry is needed
I would love to see more women, minorities and all cultures working in the tech industry in Finland. Everyone uses tech, so the more perspective we get, the better. The tech field is still strongly male-dominated, and many studies confirm that tech is still very much designed by and for white men.
When I started, I was worried if I had anything to bring to the table as a junior female programmer, but one of my senior colleagues pointed out that I can bring a different perspective. And it’s what I’ve done, plus I’ve learned tons.
If I could say anything to my younger self, I’d say don’t be afraid. Sometimes we don’t know what we want to do, but there are many paths in tech: development, architecture, design, data, and cloud, to mention a few. You are never stuck in one path, but can explore there. It’s ok not to know, experiment and pivot – often, it’s actually the best way to discover what you want.
Solita is all about creating impact that lasts for a better tomorrow. We believe that we have an important and growing role in building a more sustainable future for our planet. For us, this means addressing key global and industry-specific challenges such as climate change, data security, diversity and human rights in an always connected and increasingly digital society. To walk the talk, we have launched three initiatives with clear goals and actions focusing on environmental sustainability, responsible business operations, diversity and inclusion. We do our best to build awareness and address these topics in our daily work internally and with our clients.
Find out more about Solita’s approach to sustainable growth.