Sanja Jovanovic is an experienced technology expert with a master's degree in computer information systems. With over six years of professional experience in the tech industry, she has an impressive track record: In 2016, she started as a Business IT Consultant at Senacor and then worked for over three years as a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft. Today, as a Specialist Solutions Architect at Databricks, she drives innovative topics forward and actively advocates for more women to pursue careers in different fields of tech and AI. She enjoys giving talks about various topics involving machine learning and getting into tech. Furthermore, she is part of the global nonprofit 'Women in AI'. Recently her team and her launched an independent nonprofit 'Women in AI Austria' where the women pursue the goal to increase female representation in the field of AI especially for the Austrian market. For 'Women in AI Austria', Sanja is part of the board and supports their vision as the Vienna Lead to grow the community and awareness of AI topics. And – last but not least – Sanja recently became a mother, which we are especially delighted about. This not only shows that a career in tech is possible for women but also that it can be combined with everything that distinguishes women from men – such as having children.
Hi Sanja, great to have you. Can you tell us why you love your job? What drives and motivates you?
One of the things that I love about my job is the fact that every day is different. If there is one thing that drains energy of me it's routine and no opportunities for exploration and growth. In my job every customer and their settings are different and contains new challenges to solve and learn. The tech industry is known for constant change and progress that by default you will never stop learning which highly motivates me.
What personal achievements are you most proud of?
There are multiple events and achievements that happened all along my career so far that I'm really proud of. However, what I think is more relevant to mention is that I was able to become a role model to others through networks such as Women in AI Austria, where I'm part of the board and where I was a community lead for Vienna and now Salzburg. Being in a network of people who want to empower others to grow, stand up and be brave enough to show what they can do is rewarding and I'm proud to be part of it.
Which latest trends in tech do you find most interesting? How do you keep yourself informed about the latest trends in tech?
This is something that I want to improve since I started my journey in tech. Information is available everywhere and progress is so fast that it is hard to keep up with everything. What helped me most is following certain people on LinkedIn or other platforms who share news on specific topics, talking to other peers who are also interested in that topic, joining newsletters to automatically get updates, and listening to podcasts.
What advice would you give to women who would like to start a career in tech?
There are three things I like to share:
Explore different areas: Working in tech is so broad and there are things you might like over others. But joining different networks, talking to other people from the industry, and being curious about certain topics is something you can start off with.
Don't give up if things get hard: Sometimes you might feel you're in the wrong place but taking a break, sleeping on it, and again discussing ideas with others on how to solve something might help.
If you're new to a job in tech things might get overwhelming: One piece of advice I'd give anybody starting in tech is: don't compare yourself to others and start comparing yourself to yourself a month or a year ago. Whenever I do that, it gives me so much energy – maybe it helps you too.
Thank you for your time and taking part in our little interview series, Sanja!