Meet Ana-Maria Pasparan from Gousto, she is a Software Development Engineer and is an avid lover of all things tech. Besides working in a development position, tech is her passion and even brought her to London leaving everything she knew behind to start a new job in the UK.
Ana has done various talks in tech and is involved with various different diversity technology related conferences and even gets involved with different coding camps. Gousto do a fantastic job of diversifying their teams and Ana is certainly a success story 😊.
Ana, pleasure to have you! You’re super busy at Gousto at the moment, not only in your day-to-day job in Development but other things too. Can you tell us a bit about what you get involved with there?
Sure. Gousto Tech has developed the culture of working cross functional and that means that our teams have more than just developers. My team, for example, works with people from Brand, Food Team and sometimes Marketing in order to ensure the quality of our solutions and the use of them for customers. Besides the code part, we are involved in the discovery process where we analyse customer behaviour based on analytics data and we come up with ideas for prototypes which then we validate in user testing. It’s really important to be so close with the customer and understand that sometimes they have different tastes and we want to fulfil all of them.
At what point did you know that tech was the right career for you?
I never knew for sure that is the right career until I actually got into tech. Around high school, my teacher of Informatics encouraged me to do more code and showed me the beautiful world I can create with my coding skills. I continue studying Computer Science because of that, but I wasn’t sure is the right thing for me until I got the job in IBM and actually worked on a project for one of their clients. The first application I worked on was an app that helped the employees to do a better audit with less use of paper. The feeling of helping people to make their job easier was amazing so I realised that was the right career for me.
You moved to London not knowing anyone and starting a new life in the UK which is brave. Did you face any challenges and how are you finding the UK compared to Romania?
Yes, it was quite a last-minute decision made on the bus on the way to the airport after my interview with Gousto (I really like the interview process Gousto has). I realised only when I arrived in Bucharest that I actually need to move to London on my own. I was a bit nervous when I realised I had no idea how living in London is plus how expensive life is here. I was quite lucky because my line manager was so willing to help me with the things I need to do in order to move here. He actually recommended me to rent a room in this campus (The Collective) where I actually lived for the first 3 months. When I had to apply for NINO, my colleagues helped me to understand what I needed to do and it was quite easy to adapt here with all the support from Gousto.
Gousto sounds like they do a lot to attract and retain diversity within tech, what would you recommend other companies do too?
The best thing Gousto does is to focus on the culture part and that is really important especially for women. Another thing I really like is we do support everyone and we work like a family, again something I personally value a lot. One of our principles is Make 1+1=3 that is very important when you want your product to be the most loved way to have dinner in the UK.
Have you ever received advice that you would like to pass onto someone who is considering a career in tech?
I think one piece of advice I received from my mother is to believe in myself and if I believe then I can do it. Another important piece of advice was from my current manager (Amy Phillips), she suggested that I should show more of my work in order for others to see it. I was doing a lot of things besides my day to day job but never talking about those things so it was hard for other people to see it. I think this is really important in this industry, to show off and not be afraid to claim your achievements.
When you were in school, did you feel like tech was promoted as a career to women?
I will say I was lucky here. My both teachers of Informatics were women so I would say yes, tech was promoted really well. I would like to mention that I studied in Romania and there the percentage of women in tech is much higher than in the UK. (27% RO vs 17% in UK).
What’s your favourite Gousto meal?
Glad you asked. Even if I am not vegetarian, my favourite meal from Gousto is a vegetarian recipe, Roasted Tomato Linguine With Basil & Seed Crumb. I bought this recipe every time it was on the menu.
`It’s up to you how far you go. If you don’t try you will never know!`- Merlin in “The Sword in the Stone” – I feel like this quote really represents my personality.
Who’s your squad?
Alex Kelly (Software Engineer in Gousto – she is a quick learner and amazing person to work with), Ellie Crome( Software Engineer at ANDigital – she is great at mentoring juniors), Tara Ojo (Technical Lead at FutureLearn – she really motivates me to learn more with her talk about knowledge share from Frontend London Meetup).
Thank you Ana!
An interview by Darcie Cornish.
A voice for diversity in tech <3