Women in Tech Profile: Kateryna Tsysarenko
April 4, 2022 by CLG Team
More often than not, women tend to have an untraditional path into Technology and Ukranian-born Kateryna Tsysarenko is no exception.
The now Redbubble Engineer went from Executive TV producer to producer of software. Prepare to be inspired by this resilient and intelligent woman’s story.
Whilst Ukraine is being held in the hearts of people around the world, we’d like to thank Kat for sharing with us during an immensely difficult time for her, her family and her home country.
Can you tell us about your diverse background? Do you think it's helped your tech career?
Originally from Ukraine, I relocated to Australia more than three years ago. My family travelled a lot when I was a kid which meant I’ve needed to adapt to new schools, new friends and a new way of life - at least six times. This experience has helped me a lot with my communication skills and is where my love for working with people stems from.
Can you tell us about the journey that led you to a career in technology?
I obtained a Bachelor of Computer Science in 2007; however, for the first 10 years of my career I worked in advertising and TV. It wasn’t until a decade later (2018), with a growing passion for technology and social change, accompanied by a rising number of female developers, that I pivoted back to the tech industry and began developing iOS applications. Prior to that I also dabbled in web development projects and support.
In 2020 my team and I won the ‘AI for Good’ Hackathon in Melbourne which led to the inception of AIon Spectrum, a venture I co-founded. I now balance being a co-founder as well as my current job at Redbubble.
Since entering tech, what has your career progression looked like?
A combination of a solid Math and OOP programming background and passion for puzzles/challenges while still working in TV led me to start Web Development as a freelancer. When the time came where I was ready to transition to the land of software development, I needed to choose a speciality. I chose iOS Software Engineering because of my love of Apple products and the Swift language.
First there was iOS Development Camp followed by a Harvard CS50 course. I then started as a Junior Dev on an Instagram-like AR App where I learned the basics. After about a year, I joined Drawboard (a PDF collaboration app) as a Softwear Engineer where I worked for about two years. I'm now a member of the Native Mobile Apps team at Redbubble, a marketplace of over 750,000 independent artists.
Who or what inspires you as a woman in technology?
Melanie Perkins inspires me with her success story on co-founding Canva. While teaching graphic design, she found that most people struggled to use the encumbant clunky and complex software, and wanted to help anyone create graphics seamlessly. It's a big dream, and I admire her for not giving up and making it happen. I'm also inspired by Elon Mask as a person with such a broad knowledge range and visions that blow my mind and push me to dream bigger.
Why do you think diversity in tech is important?
Diversity and inclusion encourage you to feel more comfortable sharing your ideas and contributing to solutions. It can be intimidating when you're largely outnumbered by another group (i.e. one female in an all male team); however, it’s important to understand that your unique perspective can remove biases and improve outcomes. Software development is a highly collaborative process, the product is more thoughtful and complete in a diverse team.
Do you have advice for women or diverse individuals who might be considering moving to a role in tech
Stop considering and give it a try!
What is your dream or goal for the future of tech?
My dream is peace in Ukraine and more understanding of each other's differences as individuals worldwide.
QUICK FIRE ROUND:
What's the best investment you've made in your career under $1000? I invested time to requalify myself and become a Software Engineer at 34 y.o.
What's your favourite quote or mantra? Progress is a process.
Name a book that's inspired you? Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
One piece of tech you can't live without? My iPhone