Women in Tech - Spotlight: Iva Ivanova
5 minute read
March is Women’s History Month and in honor of this occasion, NextRoll is launching a month-long Women in Tech Spotlight – where we highlight a few of the women here at NextRoll. This will be a limited three-part series of interviews, showcasing three of our extraordinary women in technology. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Iva Ivanova!
Title: Data Scientist II
Can you share a little about what you do at NextRoll and what your typical day is like?
I am a Data Scientist on the Analytics team. My day starts with a strong cup of tea. I generally spend half my day meeting and connecting with product managers and engineers in person or over Slack where we brainstorm about experimentation design, feature launches, data infrastructure, reporting, forecasting and more. The other half of my day is usually spent executing on those ideas.
What do you like most about your tech career?
I like problem solving with technology. I also like the fact that I am always learning something new. If you like troubleshooting, learning, and being challenged, this is the career for you.
What would you say was the reason for you to pursue a career in technology?
I was working as a Sales Finance Analyst when a friend floated the idea of doing a 3-month data science bootcamp; I signed up and was instantly hooked. As an Analyst I was already pretty comfortable writing advanced SQL queries but had to learn Python in a matter of weeks as it was a prereq for the bootcamp. The bootcamp was my initial exposure to machine learning. I was fascinated by the sheer power that Python and machine learning put at my fingertips. Using Python, I was suddenly able to perform tasks that used to take me hours in Excel in a matter of seconds with one line of code. About a year later, I applied and was accepted into a part-time M.S. in Business Analytics program while keeping my full-time role at NexRoll.
What is it like to be a woman working in tech for you?
While it may still feel like an uphill battle as women are still a minority in the field, there are thankfully folks that are working to make things better by mentoring and advocating for women in engineering. And those are the folks that inspire me and keep me going!
Is there one piece of advice you wish somebody gave you at the beginning of your career?
Buckle up, you are in for quite the ride! Haha. Just kidding, sort of. I would tell myself to be patient, enjoy the journey, and don’t stress over what others are doing. Some of us are meant to take a short way to fulfill our dream, others the long way and what matters is not how long it takes but that you are enjoying the process and find what you do to be fulfilling.
Who has been your biggest advocate/mentor in the workplace and why?
I have been fortunate to have several great mentors over the years that have helped me navigate the reality of being a woman in tech. I had one manager early on in my career that always steered me toward technical projects even though I was not in a technical role at the time because they recognized I was good at teaching myself technical skills.
I think it is important to find good mentors early on in our careers because they are often able to see potential in us long before we are able to realize it and steer us in the right direction.
Is there anything that NextRoll does to support women in technology that other companies should do too?
I can’t speak much about other companies but NextRoll allowed me to transition from a career in Sales Finance to Analytics and supported my decision to complete a master’s degree while working full-time. Companies like NextRoll that truly strive to not just hire great people but help them grow are at an advantage when it comes to the talent war. That’s why the Owl is my favorite culture creature. That is the kind of support system I have found here.
Who are your role models in women in Tech?
Marie Curie - she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize not once but twice in two separate sciences - Physics and Chemistry. How awesome is that?
Any advice for Women in Tech/Allies you would give?
Women in Tech: For those early on in your career, have a growth mindset and keep your eyes on the prize. You are going to fail and it is ok, just don’t let that discourage you along the way. But keep in mind that you have to put in the work as well.
Allies: For those further ahead looking to mentor and advocate for women in tech, start a conversation, welcome questions, listen, and offer advice when asked. A small effort on your part might bring a lot of value to someone’s life.