I've met with Jennifer Strejevitch at the co-working space HubHub in the centre of Prague. She is one of the very few women who lectured at the Cloud Native Meetup which I help to organise. It isn't easy to find female speakers for this kind of event. Jennifer was recommended to me by another speaker, Katie Gamanji (we will publish an interview with her soon) Both Jennifer and Katie are active members of the Women in DevOps community and they both worked for Condé Nast - a global publisher with magazines such as Vogue, The New Yorker or Wired in their portfolio. I had a chance to talk to them both about how difficult was it to force their way in and thrive in IT, what kind of trends do they predict in this field, and what does “cloud-native” mean to them. Let's have a look at what I learned from Jennifer.
Jennifer Strejevitch: Site Reliability Engineer at Condé Nast.
Jennifer has worked across the application full stack for over 10 years and helped build a Global Kubernetes Platform at Condé Nast's Cloud Platform team. Currently, she is building an SRE practice at Condé Nast.
How did you end up in IT? Why did you decide to work in this field?
I liked maths in school and decided to apply for Engineering courses at the University back in Brazil. One of the University’s campuses didn’t have a classic Engineering course available so I chose Systems Analysis and got a full scholarship for it. That was the start, less than one year later I was doing my first IT internship.
Was working in IT challenging for you? Why?
Yes, it was. In the beginning, there is a lot of pressure to learn what it seems like thousands of tools and technologies and as a beginner, it was hard to know where to start. This was back in 2007, and there weren’t as many video courses and blogs available as there are now and I didn’t have a mentor to help me start.
When was the first time you tried working with the cloud? How did you like it?
It was in 2016 and I was a Python developer working with AWS APIs to process images. I started to get more and more curious and my team started working on containerizing our applications and deploying infrastructure as code. From a developer’s perspective, I found that the Cloud made it more “welcoming” for product developers. It encouraged me to get more curious and learn more about operations.
Which trends do you think will grow the most in the field of cloud technologies?
I believe containers will be mainstream (if they aren't already) and cloud services will have to offer a container runtime for its typical “serverless” offerings (perhaps Kubernetes as a Service everywhere?)
How did you like the meetup you attended as a speaker?
It was great. People were very friendly and truly engaged. The talks were insightful and straight to the point, giving a wide diversity of information at all levels. The food was also delicious!
What do you think about the composition of the audience?
Without sugarcoating it: Very homogenous.
Here in the Czech Republic, we have been struggling to get women speakers to the stage. In your opinion, what are the reasons for such small numbers of women working in technology in 2020? Do you think it is a global or just an “eastern European” problem?
It’s definitely not an “eastern European” problem, it’s a worldwide problem and some places are advocating harder than others. I could write a book here explaining all the reasons why, but as a short personal observation: Many are trying to get women and other underrepresented groups into IT, but now ask yourselves, what are you doing to keep them? And also what are you doing to help them thrive in the industry?
Thank you Jennifer!