Be an example of success

Monday, August 30, 2021

Sasha Karpowa is a Process Information Analyst for PostNL. After working in the financial industry for 20 years, she is now discovering new business domains for PostNL by building content driven solutions within their international business unit. “People often talk about solutions instead of desires. It’s my job to ask what we need, and why we need it, and then build the roadmap to a content focussed solution,” she explains.

She is also a passionate part-time lecturer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, where she is shaping the minds of the next generation of technology professionals.

Connecting IT and business.

Sasha began her career in Russia where she completed her degree in electro technical studies. Upon arriving in the Netherlands, a drive to recruit programmers in the 1990’s in preparation for Y2K led her to take the leap of faith and study programming.

“I worked as a programmer for a couple of years, and liked the interaction – not only the problem solving, but everything around it – what’s behind it, why we’re doing it, always asking about the bigger picture.”

Sasha found herself becoming more involved in technical design and later in business design as well: “I realised that I didn’t have enough knowledge to grow, and needed more context of the entire IT branch, so I studied business informatics. I became more comfortable as an analyst because it gave me a more holistic overview of the IT landscape. Then I enrolled for another study in general management to gain a better understanding of the business side of things, because I was always very interested in finance. And my world expanded.”

A solid foundation of programming and business knowledge meant that Sasha could easily connect the dots, while also being able to translate solutions into the language of the various different stakeholders she worked with: “I can speak to the architects and the technical people who know the existing system landscape, and then draw pictures and process flows to explain the solution to the developers. Once the technical specifications are done, I can go to the development team and say ‘this is what we want, build it.’ It is really understanding the core of what we want, and knowing how to build the best possible technical solution. To be successful, you need to be able to speak both languages.”

Learning through teaching

Sasha views her career as one big journey and adventure: “There is so much to learn and you’re never really ready. And my quest for continuous learning is also why I now teach at the University of Applied Sciences. The best way of learning things is through teaching, because you need to be up to date with the most recent developments. It gives me a lot of energy!”

For Sasha, the classroom is an interactive environment which she thoroughly enjoys: “Education is changing in the direction where the teacher is no longer the only source of information. You can learn a lot from watching videos, searching the internet or simply speaking to people. The teacher has taken on more of a guiding role – you guide the students in the right direction, like a coach.”

She finds this peer approach to teaching especially important, as her students of today are her colleagues of tomorrow.

A career in IT is an opportunity

Sasha believes that RightBrains provides a platform where successful women can act as ambassadors to inspire the next generation of female IT professionals: “Women need strong examples to show that IT is an opportunity for someone who wants an interesting job. This is what I want to contribute: maybe I can just be an example and answer some questions.”

With her enthusiasm for the industry and the multitude of possibilities that IT has to offer, Sasha believes that there is plenty of room for more women in the field: “People are different, teams are different, customers are different. If you would like a challenge and like to solve puzzles, then this is the industry for you. Especially for young women considering doing something in IT, I say quite passionately: don’t be afraid. Perhaps it’s an image thing in Western Europe, but IT is not nerdy or boring. It’s so dynamic, changing, and deep, you can develop your skills in any direction you like. There’s so much communication and design involved, and it’s not only programming. If I could promote one thing, then I would really like to invite and seduce more women to go into IT.”

To connect with Sasha and other inspiring women like her, be sure to sign up to the RightBrains platform today!