Ana Milanović: A career move that satisfies my aspirations

For Ana Milanovic, there was always something fascinating about math. In her words, it is a wonderful (if peculiar!) world of rules and order. Earning her BA degree in the subject at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, she spent three years teaching math. Then she made a career shift and landed a job in IT.

I felt I needed a different type of challenge. That made me look for opportunities in IT. I think it was a step in a good direction.

She started out in customer success at Infosit in July 2021. Later she moved to quality assurance, where her talent for structure and procedure shines in the delivery of top-grade software. Those who know Ana also know about her love of nature and animals, especially dogs.

Entry into the world of information technology

- At the university, I always chose electives related to programming because they were the most interesting to me. Early on, I was starting to warm up to the idea of joining an IT company one day. But I was a little worried that I wasn't as qualified as people with computer science degrees. It took me a while to apply for a job in IT. It was through an acquaintance that I heard about Infosit and their reputation as a company with great working conditions and excellent relations between employees. That attracted me to apply for a job there, Ana said.

What appealed to me was a sense that the client is important to them, and that long-term connections and relationships are encouraged. I thought - if the company takes good care of its clients, then it takes good care of its employees, too.

- Considering my previous experience in education, which is a lot about communication, they offered me a place on the customer success team. My job was to educate clients on our software and process their requests. It was an excellent entry step. I learned about Infosit operations and especially the CMS system, which is one of the core products. It was a great introduction that eventually led me to the role of quality assurance tester, she revealed.

When they spot a person's potential, or that an area would suit you better, Infosit will encourage you to develop in that area (if that is what you want). They will look to help you to progress in your career.

The change in career improved Ana’s work-life balance. She saw a big change in how her day could be organised. Things became more predictable, with working hours clearly defined. This meant more freedom and flexibility, which she finds very important.

- Teaching has its advantages, but people often don’t recognise the amount of work that teachers do outside the classroom, Ana said.

A journey from insecurity to technical expertise

The transition to IT was not without challenge.

- At first, I was a bit afraid about whether I would be able to do the job. On the other hand, it was challenging and motivating. I wanted to see how I would manage in the new situation. Looking back, my first year and something at the company seems productive. I made full use of my technical knowledge and soft skills. During that period, software delivery passed through my hands. I tested it before it was delivered to clients. Goran and Dolores noticed my potential in that area and offered me the opportunity to develop more in the technical direction, given that I myself initially showed interest in the technical aspects of the job, Ana revealed.

An active stance on learning and development

When asked about learning and professional development, she singled out several approaches and resources.

- We have access to conferences, online courses, and internal knowledge transfer. Just recently, we were at a developers’ conference that Infositters attend every year. In such events you get a different perspective, a new look at your work. We can take courses through an online learning platform. Internal transfer of knowledge is also an important source of learning. Infosit promotes it for several reasons. It is not good that knowledge is limited to only one person, so documentation and sharing is encouraged, she explained.

Mentoring is also an important way of acquiring new knowledge.

- Each of us has a mentor, not only during onboarding, but throughout our professional journey. Mentors are there to help out in all sorts of ways. In my case it includes making test plans, working in test tools, showing me what to pay attention to, what to avoid, helping me improve, and so on. At first I wasn't comfortable asking so many questions, but then I realized my mentors were never bothered by that. They were always ready to help, which means a lot to me, Ana said.

Pushing the boundaries: Hybrid work and mentoring on a demanding project

She is currently testing functionalities on a large and demanding project.

The process includes checking the functions in different environments and detecting potential errors. This requires regular meetings and coordination. Testers monitor the status of functionalities in development so they can take those that are ready for testing. When not testing, they are preparing test cases.

Ana also mentors a teammate and two students. This year, mentoring became a part of her work. It happened spontaneously and she gladly accepted it.

- I devote a large part of my time to organising their work and helping them to make the most of their talents and interests. For me, it was a new situation, a new challenge and a good step in my professional development. It seemed like something I could do well, given my experience in teaching. For sure previous experience helped me in structuring the mentoring plans, communication and the like, she said.

These days Ana is mostly working from home, with occasional sessions at the Infosit office in Poreč. When the pandemic subsided, getting back to the office seemed like the best thing to do. Working from the office seemed easier. You can focus on the same things at the same time, you can pass information and get feedback faster.

- Still, working from home gives us more flexibility in organizing our working day. Also, we get more control over external factors such as noise. To some people it can sound trivial, but in our line of work it can make a big difference. Yet, if you only work from home, the social component will suffer. So I think a hybrid way of working is the best, Ana said.

Doing well in your position, and in your organisation

What does it take to do well in Ana’s role, and to excel in Infosit as the organisation?

- First of all, in my job you need to be meticulous and responsible. If on top of that you are resourceful, you will be able to manage in different situations, which I think is important in any job and organisation. Then there is the willingness to ask questions if you don’t understand something or if you are missing information. Be ready to ask for help when you need it, and learn constantly. Make sure you value and nurture good relationships with colleagues, and show that you care about the work you do.

In business, assumptions will often lead us to wrong conclusions. So we should avoid them and not be afraid to ask questions.

Overcoming challenge does most for our professional growth

- Testing the current project is perhaps my favorite part of the job so far. Although it is complex and demanding, it has done the most for my professional development. I have learned about different tools, tested various components, and revisited the databases. It has enabled me to develop soft skills, through mentoring other testers and presenting in internal meetings. I can safely say that through this project I’ve been growing in multiple directions, she said.

Managing her time is proving to be a challenge. With lots of hours going towards planning, mentoring and interacting with teammates, it can be difficult to find the time for her own assignments, even when she has them planned for the day.

Ana will say that, as long as you are in a mindset of learning and exploration, you are likely to stay motivated. At least that’s been her experience so far.

- It took me a while to fully accept the advice on the importance of asking for help or an explanation when you need it at work. If there’s an assumption that everyone should know everything, people will be unwilling to ask questions, and that’s not what we want, she concluded.

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