Updated: Jun 22
This month, we caught up with Alex Radu to learn more about her journey into tech!
Name: Alex Radu
Location: Originally from Romania, now living in Scotland since 2020.
Role: Product Adoption Lead, Public Cloud
Tell me a bit more about your journey into tech?
My journey started off in Romania, where I was born. I was lucky as I had many compulsory and elective STEM subjects alongside humanities that I studied, the majority of my teachers, especially in STEM, being women, so I always thought I belong here (in STEM and tech). After graduation, I decided to move to the UK and support myself through university, much to the disappointment of my family that were all still in Romania. Despite this, I went forward with my plans and today they couldn’t be more proud of my achievements.
From a young age, I was passionate about content design and entrepreneurship so decided to do my undergraduate in Business Management and Publishing Media, as a double honours. Soon I discovered technology was really my passion through attending lots of events, hackathons, conference: all which inspired me to change my career path.
You could say that I am a purple unicorn, as one of my fellow technologist, Jenn Bergstrom would describe it. If you ask anyone who knows me, they would tell you I love them: my 3D unicorn crochet project and Zoom ID (unicorn) can attest to that too! Why do I describe myself as a unicorn? Because I love working both in software engineering and design, I am a creative technologist, and we all need a bit of magic in our lives.
When I graduated from my undergrad I moved to Barcelona, Spain from the UK. There I interned in Service Improvement at King, the makers of Candy Crush, and I was hooked. I knew that the tech industry was the place for me, especially on the creative side. During that summer, Brexit happened and I decided to return to the UK, where I secured a place on the Tech Connect program at JPMC. And here we are over 7 years, 4 job roles, 4 promotions and 3 countries later. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do, it is entirely up to you to make it happen. Today, I work in the Public Cloud organization, finished my MSc in Computer Science at the University of Bath alongside my work and in December 2022, I delivered my first talk at the AWS re:Invent cloud conference in Las Vegas; my public speaking dream come true.
What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
Challenges I encountered in my tech career have shaped who I am today but living away from all my family and friends from back home was one of the most difficult ones. I have lived in more than 6 countries since leaving Romania, 10 years ago. Thanks to that decision I made when I was 18, I am now culturally richer and more independent for it, which built a strong foundation for myself in growing my career in technology. I have mentors, supporters and networks all over the world by being always curious and eager to support initiatives and people I believe in. This mentality really helped my transition into technology as well as an invaluable attitude to see me through every time I join a new team, organization or start a new role.
My independence, curiosity and trust in humanity enable me to learn at a fast pace, integrate into new environments and form relationships by having and inspiring trust in others. The biggest challenge, every time along my career and life journey, was being the new person from a non-traditional tech background in a new environment, country and culture, with time I find my people and my passions alongside sharpening my skills, both technically and professionally.
I am very lucky to have created lasting relationships, partnerships and support networks in many of the locations and roles I had the pleasure to be in. These are one of the most important elements in a career alongside skills and knowledge. Moreover, my whole interest in tech started with my mom inspiring me when I was little, as she was a computer operator in Romania in the 90s, when computers were a rare sight and being in tech wasn't yet popular or well paid. She has been my inspiration ever since, she taught me how important being kind and being curious is and I live by that to this day.
What are some of the resources from SheSharp that have helped you with your growth?
The 2021 SheSharp Community Day introduced me to the community, I saw an ad on DiversifyTech for the event and signed up, I was so impressed by the organization, agenda and lessons shared that I started following SheSharp everywhere I could!
Being based in Scotland there aren't that many opportunities to attend the in-person events, though might take a trip to Amsterdam for it one of these days, I get a lot of value from the online speaker events, blogs and community. It's so amazing to have discovered the community and really excited to also give back more and help others through it!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to break into the tech industry?
Be kind and curious, find your people and your passion, that will ideally lead to a job that satisfies you professionally and personally in terms of compensation or growth, so you can:
bring your real self at work
make a difference (no matter how small)
and reach your goals.