Barona IT wants to share stories of women who work in IT-field. This time we had the honour to interview Senior Software Engineer Chaitra Shanthappa (C), Software Engineer Hui Liu (H) and Senior Software Engineer Koren Tang (K) from PAF.

Can you tell us who you are and what you do?

H: I am a Software Developer and my name is Hui. I originally came from China and I ended up in Finland a bit more than five years ago to study. I was looking for thesis work and I ended up with a full-time job. Then they asked me to relocate to Helsinki. I joined PAF November 2018 and today I work in our compliance team. I have enjoyed working in PAF and here people are very friendly and we have the freedom to test new technologies.

K: I am Koren and I work as a Senior Developer in the same team with Hui. I came to Finland in 2001 after I joined Nokia. There I worked around 6-7 years, and then our whole team was transferred to Tieto. There I got to work with many different projects, for example, in banks and insurance companies. In 2017 I joined PAF for the first and worked there for almost 2 years. Then I wanted to try something new and went to another company. However, I decided to come back to PAF and this is now my first week back here.

C: I am Chaitra and I work as a senior software engineer in the database team. I came to Finland in 2004. I joined Nokia and was transferred to Microsoft when Nokia devices were bought by Microsoft. I joined PAF in 2017, got an opportunity to work in database technologies.

How did you end up working in the IT-field?

K: I did not study IT as I graduated in electronic engineering. However, I got in touch with C and C++ programming when I was studying. I understood quite quickly that I enjoy programming and after my studies, I decided to find a work where I could continue that.

C: I was also studying to be an electronics engineer as Koren. I wasn’t that involved with computers when I studied, but took some courses and got interested in software development. If you think about the IT-field overall, there are so many different roles and you can learn new technologies and switch the role quite easily.

H: I studied Software Engineering, however, I was not sure if I would enjoy doing this the rest of my life.  After four years of study, I decided to go to work and see if I would enjoy programming. Now after many years in the field and doing also my major here, I can say that I enjoy it a lot. As a developer, you get feedback from the computer all the time whether you do something right or wrong. It is really motivating.

What kinds of projects/technologies do you get to see and work with?

C: I work with databases and at the moment we use Kafka and Java for microservices. We also use Snowflake as a data warehouse and for the reporting we use Yellowfin. PAF is like heaven for tech people, as here you are free to test new technologies.

H: I work with Java, Spring boot and various microservices. Our team is doing compliance reporting for the authorities. At the moment we are building a new development pipeline. Like Chaitra already mentioned, PAF is a very flexible and friendly environment for tech people.

K: Like Hui, I am also a Java developer. Besides Java, I have worked for example with Ruby.  There are six people working in our compliance team and we share actively our knowledge among each other. It is very important to me that I get to learn and share my knowledge with the people I work with.

What tips would you give to women who want to work in IT-field?

H: I think women can bring a lot of good skills to the IT-field. There are many different roles inside IT and for example  in China, many women work as QA. Besides that, the internet is full of free classes if you want to learn to code.

K: When I studied in the UK, there were only six women in my class and working in IT I was the only female in the team for most of the time. I don’t see it changing that fast but PAF is unique in this way, as there are many female developers. However, I think that parents should encourage both girls and boys to code. People should see programming also as a hobby as it is also quite fun.

C: In India, we have a good number of women who work STEM jobs so I was surprised that there are not that many women who work with IT here in Finland. As Koren said girls should be encouraged from a young age. HTML and Python is a good starting point for young girls and women who wants to start in the tech industry.