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Why did you decide to study coding?

My thoughts were either medicine studies or electrical engineering. I wanted to have a job after finishing my studies. The job that would allow me to support myself and my family. I grew up a child during the Bosnian war in 1992 to 1995 and I have seen and felt what insecurity, instability, hunger, deprivation, and devastation meant. I have felt what it means to have a safe home, parents that have a job and stability, to come to the point, after the war, where you lose everything. But you are grateful to be alive as well as your family and friends, and you know that working hard, being persistent, and caring for the people and communities around will pay off greatly. On top of that, my oldest brother Nurija, did study at the Electrical Engineering in Sarajevo and he has been my role model for life, so I eventually decided to study at the same faculty. And I am happy I did followed this path as it opened many opportunities to me in sense of learning, discovery, meeting great people, exciting job opportunities, travelling the world and having this opportunity with you Gloria to share my story.

What were your biggest hurdles during your studies?

There are few, but two stand out in particular: Moving from a tiny village to the capital - Sarajevo, it has its charm, however it can be quite scary as I felt lonely and disconnected. I was the best student of the class in gymnasium and coming to the faculty and sitting with the best of the best was also somewhat intimidating. It made me think I had a lot to learn as I was falling behind. My first semester at the university was full of 6s and 7s but slowly I found my pace, made some friends, started enjoying Sarajevo and met my husband (but I leave that part for the next interview). Financial means to support my studies – I started studying with very limited financial resources and at the end of the first semester it came to the point that I almost quit. As I wrote above, my family and my friends’ families had a hard time sending their children off to the colleague. But they wished more than anything for us to study. All our parents, even though they haven’t study themselves, knew that is the future and they will put every penny into it. And take a loan if necessary. I didn’t need a loan as I have the best cousin Tea in the Netherlands and my aunt too. They were refugees from Bosnia and found their new home in the beautiful NL. Together with a local journalist in the local newspaper in a small city in the northern part of the NL, they wrote an article about myself and how I wish to continue my studies. However, financial means are scarce. Their friends, neighbors, and total strangers till then, put together some money and made sure I could continue. One of them stood out and decided to fully fund my studies until I graduate. I know in some countries like in Austria, students to work part time to fund it, however that wasn’t available back then and it is slowly coming in Bosnia.

Which support did you receive in your career to lead you where you are today?

I mentioned quite some support above which supported me to finish my studies, get to grow by allowing me to travel and visit some countries and see what possibilities lie outside of the Bosnian borders. Travel and meet as many people from as many countries as you can. It is the best investment in life. Furthermore, during my start here in Austria I did receive quite a lot of support from people that believed in me, even though they met me for the first time. They might have seen in me themselves. When it comes to the career, I advise myself and everyone reading this, to actively steer their career and not wait for their managers, various departments, and programs. I am a big fan of mentoring and since 2018 I have been engaged in various mentoring programs, as a mentor and as a mentee. The best investment as you learn from the ones that have already gone through it and you get to give back to the ones who strive for a similar path. Apart from mentoring, I have engaged in various business and leadership coaching’s as well started my own community called “Making IT IN Austria” where I interview people that made great careers in Austria. And in return I get to go ask them for advice and get introduced to the people in their circle. Whatever is on your vision board, don’t wait, start today with a small step. It might be sending that email or calling that prospect. 3 years ago, I couldn’t imagine that Making IT IN Austria would be such a great community project that would bring so many great people together and allow me to grow and develop in my career as well privately as you become friends.

more coming soon...

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