Interview by Marija Butkovic (@MarijaButkovic)
Maryna, what does your current job role entail?
In the current company, Bragi GmbH, I play several Technical roles, as working in a fast developing startup requires. This broad variety of tasks is very motivating to me.
The first and one of the main roles is Technical Project manager of BOS - Bragi OS.
As we integrated PDP (Product development process), based on the stages of development of each single feature or technical improvement, my main responsibility is to accompany every new feature from the early Appearance stage to the Release and Maintenance stage. This includes strategic planning, setting up a timeline, a technical roadmap, grooming, WBS (Work breakdown structures) for the initial stages, monitoring of the development progress, the release and maintenance (interaction with Customer Support), etc.
The second role is to be the SCRUM master of the new product that we launched recently - The Dash PRO.
Being the SCRUM master for such a tight project, was challenging and tricky at times. It included the monitoring of a multitude of work steps, like daily scheduled tasks, burn down charts, team moods, risk management, iterative-incremental development control and delivery.
Besides that, I am the Release Manager of BOS, which means for example that during the launch of a Firmware release, I am coordinating around 3-6 departments (R&D (Firmware Development, Mobile), Marketing, Customer support, Production (optional), etc.
The Main challenge here is to plan everything really precisely (hourly based) and to foresee all risks, rollouts or backups.
In addition, I am in close cooperation with the Web team, preparing technical packages, uploading to Cloud services and making smoke-tests of the Live-, Internal- or Beta-Releases.
But Development is not the only work field that I am specialised in. Having 6 years of technical SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) experience and further experience in Project management, scripting, tooling, Web development (Wordpress/Magento), DB Management (SQL) and Marketing (Viral, Mail, SEO - link building, content management, etc), gives you the possibility to consult the current company in different areas and to invent new marketing related projects from the scratch.
How has your career progressed since your degree? Has it been an easy industry to get into or have you had many challenges?
Eleven years passed since my first working day. It was a long path full of incredible people, projects and different work fields. However all the projects were connected with IT.
I started working in my second year of studying at the National Aviation University in Kiev, which gave me the benefit of having a stable, highly motivating job even before finishing the University. These eleven years can be sketched as an exponential function if you put all achievements, projects and salaries in one graph. Time matters - looking back to my previous experiences, I understand that maturity, knowledge and wisdom are coming with time. Technologies, languages, locations and teams are changing, but each single one of them is helping you to grow further. They teach you skills and stabilise your mental health for the next, maybe even harder challenge.
So do not be afraid to make a step further in your career! The world is waiting for your ideas and projects.
The IT/Electronics-Development Industry is not the easiest industry for a women to work in. Technically every project is different - even within one industry the architectures, technologies, tools and the composition of teams can be different. However this is not the hard part. If you are capable to comprehend new things quickly you will just need a couple of evenings with the specifications, architecture schemes, etc and you will catch it.
Women are not that widely spread among technical specialities, which is a pity. Having a structured and technical mind, communicational skills, the desire to sort everything out and sometimes simply charm can give women real benefit in certain tech areas. However it has always been challenging to break through to the top. Achieving respect and trust for you and your teams or projects is the biggest challenge.
Has your degree helped in your product design process for wearable tech products?
I want to share my experiences with younger generations and to contradict the impression, that a classical education is not worth to spend time on.
“Startupers” and people from the IT-World sometimes talk about the uselessness of a classical education, schools, and institutions. Of course there are plenty of gaps and missing parts, however, the main core of the Educational Institution is highly important in the development of you as the high-level specialist.
All, education and work experience, that I had was like a chain reaction. Every event caused another, every new experience opened a new Pandora box.
Receiving of the “Automation and Electronics in a ground Aviation Systems” master's degree gave a mature and a deep knowledge of:
Informational technologies and electronics
A various programming languages (ex. C, C#, VB, Matlab)
An importance of automation and a process optimisation
How long did it take you to be where you are now? What was the biggest obstacle?
It took around 3-5 years for reaching a managing position.
I started with IT companies in Ukraine (“High-Tech Initiative”, “GlobalLogic”, etc), moved on to freelance work for 3-4 years whilst being a co-founder of a private business. This played a big role in the development of communicational, business and risk assessment skills.
The main obstacle - is yourself. Overstep yourself, open new areas, find your disadvantages, improve yourself, grow a wise specialist. Fear is the main obstacle from my point of view.
To fight with such fears - simply decompose them on some kind of MindMap. What if -> then -> else. Think of all the options. Almost everything can be solved.
The other obstacle that I experienced was the age mismatch with the Business model or teams. Being at the age of 22, I was working in one of the biggest IT Outsourcing companies in Ukraine on AT&T Release Management and Accounting. At that time I understood, that I was too young for such a stable and mature project that was developed during the last 20-25 years.
What does the #WomenInTech movement mean to you? What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur and woman in wearable tech industry?
Women's appearance in Tech specialities always makes me smile. Knowing how complex it can be, knowing how much emotions it can take - we are still not scared to make this world better. To be the next Marie Curie or Amelia Earhart.
The biggest challenge is created every single moment. So do not even dare to lose the desire to catch it, form an idea, create a new project, implement. The biggest challenge is to make this world more flexible, automated, open for those, who don't have the possibility to experience all that using all the possible Wearable technologies!
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Migration of Internal CMS system from PHP to Angular - Cuponation GmbH. The project successfully launched after 5 months of development.
DB complete refactoring. Cuponation GmbH. Project successfully launched after 4 months of development.
The launch of BOS 2.2 - Bragi GmbH.
The launch of BOS 3.0 - Bragi GmbH.
Co-founding of Financial service and expansion in 7 countries.
ihomemoney.com - Personal accounting online
In your opinion, what will be the key trends in the wearable tech and IoT industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
The rise of 5G networks gives a big promise for Wearables and IoT industry. Higher speed and efficiency, lower latency which will gives a huge benefit for connection of more devices in mesh networks.
Artificial intelligence is the next key trend. Machine learning, complex computation algorithms, intelligent decisions making will give a chance to the wearables to become a smart devices, a personalised computers in small form factor. As we already see - big market players start acquiring data mining, neural networks and AI companies.
Wearables are becoming our body computers. Expansion of wearables in different form factors, that would cover all the body and track all the activities, measurements in one single personal Healthcare Hub.
Can you name any prominent women in this industry that you admire?
I am inspired by women in CTO positions such as Elissa Murphy - CTO of GoDaddy or Gerri Martin-Flickinger - CTO of Starbucks. Both companies have shown incredible development through decades, tonnes of books written, lots of new channels opened. This is a goal, the next stage of development.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs in wearable tech out there?
Several pieces of the above, however, to summarise all that:
Do not be afraid to state your position. To fix a process.
Never give laziness the possibility to kill your creativity and desire to act!
Invent new plans. Do not get stuck on old architectures. Use them as the baseline and build your own structures above.
LinkedIn: Maryna Iasynetska
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, co-founder of Women of Wearables and Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.