Ely Orozco Ledezma is a senior software engineer and cluster lead who originates from Venezuela and who did not only bring her talent to Austria when she moved to Vienna in 2014 but also her South American mood and sense of humor. With a degree in informatics engineering, Ely currently works as an Android Developer for Erste Digital, where she thrives on challenging tasks and building apps that simplify everyone’s life. Ely sees herself as a facilitator of information with the goal to be always attentive, helpful, and in the mood to uplift the people around her. Her motto 'Everything is possible' goes totally well with this positive attitude and so does her passion for sports: Ely loves to engage and practice her resilience in power sports such as weightlifting, road cycling, and running. And last but not least, her Latin roots make her believe in the power of music. The soundtrack of her everyday life is a diverse playlist of metal music with contrasting classical & jazz and – of course – a fair share of merengue and salsa! Ely's diverse interests and experiences make her a dynamic and accomplished professional in the tech field, offering unique perspectives and skills to her work. We are grateful that she has shared her thoughts with us, shedding light on gender equality and growth opportunities from her distinct viewpoint.
Hi Ely, great to have you. Can you tell us why you love your job? What drives and motivates you?
I love the fact that I get to work on something that I know makes a difference in people's day-to-day lives, including my own. It's not just about getting the job done and outputting some code here and there. I want to create an app that feels so easy to use that the user doesn't even have to think about what is happening behind the screen: an entire company working together to make it happen.
That's what I have always pursued when choosing a company to work for: aligned values and goals, because that is the fuel that drives me and continues to do so. But of course, this life goal needed to evolve with time – when I was a fresh graduate, I didn't have enough experience to even have a clear idea of what I wanted. Later in life, I came to understand that I want to wake up every day and be proud of the people I work with (and for) and the product I am working on.
Do you have a mentor, or who is your role model in the world of software engineering?
When I moved to Vienna and started my first job here, I worked with a colleague who is the type of person that knows so much that he has an answer to almost every question, but at the same time is very humble. Even if you were a junior or still studying, he valued you and your work, and had the most positive mindset I've ever seen: "Let's learn together, let's try out possible solutions, and let's analyze the problem together."
So, he really listened to his colleagues, even to me as a junior developer! Later in life, I understood that this was more than just teaching code, it was teaching an attitude, a mindset, on how someone should approach any colleague, regardless of seniority, gender, age, or anything else.
We have many brave bee workers among us, and I admire people who choose to help their colleagues, to be kind and supportive, for example in doing a pull request, rather than showing off their level of knowledge.
I look up to people who choose humility and recognize the value in their individuality and the uniqueness that each of us possesses. This is something to celebrate and promote in our technological work environments.
How does being one of the few female engineers in a room full of men feels?
It's interesting that you ask, because in my first job back home (before moving to Austria), we had only one male colleague in a room full of female developers.
To be honest, I don't really think about this, even though I keep getting the same question. I don't feel fear, or scared of anything, and I don't feel like I have to prove myself.
I choose to focus on being a helpful colleague and learning from everyone, sharing my knowledge. If I don't know something, I will investigate and learn it.
I believe this is a universal mindset for all of us, regardless of our sexual identity. I see the power of our brains and personalities combined, rather than the gender we identify ourselves with.
What advice would you give to women who want to start a tech career?
There are many things people ask of women or tell us we should do: paths to take, directions to study, and much more. They may speak from their own experience, but not from yours.
Be brave and open to trying and failing, open to feeling scared or feeling like you don't have all the answers, and that's okay. No one does!
We are here to find purpose and learn, from the very first minute of life, we continue to develop ourselves. Software development is no different from any other career. It's a fascinating world where you can understand how technology can help us in various areas, such as medicine, banking, sports, services, and even entertainment, where you can choose to develop games!
The world needs people who are helpful and ready to exemplify fairness, respect, and responsibility. That's universal, regardless of gender. Do your best!
Thank you for your time and taking part in our little interview series, Ely!