The interview with Tatiana Malecova, Junior Python Developer
Tatiana (Tania), joined our company in May 2021 and just recently became a mentor in the Python Weekend project created by the code.kiwi.com community in the Engineering department. Our internal tech community is an amazing crowd of our engineers running tech initiatives to share knowledge and drive tech conversation.
“When I saw that our tech community is calling out for new mentors for the Python Weekend event, I immediately signed up. My manager was very supportive once I got accepted and made sure I have enough time to dedicate to the project” said Tania.
In this interview, you will read Tania’s impressions of the Python Weekends that we organize and how it benefits the community as well as her own path to Kiwi.com, her views on Python language, and much more.
Hi Tania, tell us a little bit about yourself.
At the moment I am in the final year of my Master’s studies in Software Engineering and in parallel, I work for Kiwi.com in the Bratislava office. As you can imagine, I do not have much free time, as the vast majority of the time during the semester I am working on school projects or studying for my exams.
When it comes to the free time I manage to get, I am trying to find as much time as possible for my non-tech activities. I enjoy playing with my dogs, exercising, taking care of plants, and so on.
In the evenings, I read books or watch movies and t.v series, and also play games. I usually read bestsellers. I do not have some specific genre I would choose, these days, for example, I’m reading George Orwell’s, 1984.
We’re in Barcelona right now and this office visit is very special to you. You happened to be the first female mentor at Python Weekend this year. What does the Python Weekend mentorship mean to you personally?
I see it as a huge opportunity for gaining mentoring experience because I haven’t participated in such an event yet. I would say that it means even more to me since as you mentioned, I will be the first female mentor of the Python Weekend this year. I was a little bit nervous about how it will go and I felt the responsibility to represent women developers in the tech community. In the end, it was an awesome experience. I was very excited about the whole Python Weekend and it turned out to be very beneficial for attendees. We got to know each other and we had a lot of fun as well.
Can you tell us more about the Python Weekend?
It’s a 3-day event where people from everywhere sign up and complete an entry task that we evaluate before inviting Python developers to code with us. People need to have some level of understanding of the language, but not a high one. Once we evaluate their tasks, we accept the ones with a level of knowledge that is satisfying and invite them for the intensive three days of coding. We teach them the theory, we talked mainly about the REST API, and about debugging. I had a presentation about Git, the tool for versioning, it’s held in deem projects that we are using on a daily basis.
We show attendees what we do at Kiwi.com and how we do it, and for the rest of the weekend, they are solving a challenge. We’re there to help them all the time and mentor them whenever they are unsure how to proceed. During breaks, we organized food, and drinks gathered for the dinner and had plenty of time for networking.
I think it is admirable that we invest resources and time for people to show them the Python language. We go there and share our best practices, teach them some basics that we use on a daily basis, and show them our community as well.
How would you explain the importance of Python Weekend in the community?
Generally, people improve their knowledge and with time you can see how the whole community changes. We are sharing our knowledge for free and I believe we’re creating a much better environment for developers to share knowledge and thrive by organizing these events.
During the Python Weekend, mentors are trying to give as much knowledge as possible to the participants, I think we really give everything we know. We’re there to help them to get through the tasks and support them along the way. Participants can learn a lot of new things with a mentor’s assistance for free, and the only thing they need to have is a willingness and a couple of free hours.
From what I could see, people were amazed at the amount of knowledge they gained during the Python Weekend in Barcelona and it makes me very proud and happy that I was able to be part of that. I don’t know many companies that would do all of this for a public community.
What value can Python Weekend bring to you as a mentor?
I believe it can teach me many new things, and probably experience overall, and leadership is the main one. Moreover, it makes me feel so good because I really like to help people, and share my skills with them. I enjoy helping colleagues that recently joined my team as well. I know how it feels when you are new to something. I know how hard it is to deal with new technologies or languages and how I appreciated the help back then. I am trying to give back what others gave to me when I was starting.
What was your path to working as a Python Developer?
I started programming in grammar school in the second grade and I fell in love with it. Before I would never say that I will be a developer but this became my passion after a while. My final exams changed from Biology and Chemistry to Mathematics and Informatics, so I could join an IT university.
I got acquainted with Python in one project at the university and I really liked the language. I enrolled in a voluntary course that dealt with data analysis and visualization in Python. I gained a lot of skills and a few months later I started to work at Kiwi.com as a Python developer.
What made you fall in love with Python language?
I was programming in several languages at university, but Python is still my favorite one. It is easy to learn and use. It has a lot of flexibility thanks to hundreds of Python libraries and frameworks, so it is giving you an opportunity to work with big data, machine learning, and automation etTell us more about the techstack you’re working with in Data Acquisition.
Specifically, I work in Data Acquisition in the Modules team. We are taking care of modules that are sources of the data that we provide to our customers. We keep our data as fresh as we can, which includes a lot of investigations and debugging. Further, we have highly scalable services that have to handle several thousands of requests per second since we have a lot of traffic in order to provide our customers with quick results. The code in our APIs has to be optimized and we use a lot of caching as well.
What do you like the most about the Engineering culture at Kiwi.com?
I love the whole process of contributing to our product. Once you choose a task you want to do in our Jira board, you are studying the problem, trying to understand the existing code where you are going to add your code, then comes implementation, and testing and in the final, you are waiting for a review from your colleagues. These reviews are very fast, so your contribution is released within a few hours or days, depending on the impact and size of the changes.
What was your path to Kiwi.com?
This is my first job, and I gained programming experience during school projects, which were some small programs without any further use. I felt really excited when I started to work at Kiwi.com because I was finally doing something that is really used and my work had a purpose. I found Kiwi.com on Instagram actually and I really liked the company culture.
So I started to search more about this company and I found on Linkedin some people I know that worked for Kiwi.com. They gave me even further information about how it is working here. I loved it, I applied for a job, went through interview processes, and was accepted.
What was the biggest challenge you experienced so far in your career?
My biggest challenge was to keep up with my colleagues when I started to work at Kiwi.com. During our meetings, I quite often didn’t understand what they are talking about, because everything was new for me and they already had years of experience with these issues. But it required only time, diligence, and of course their help. Now I am keeping up with them and I am able to brainstorm with them about the problems.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while working in technology?
I’ve learned that I love technology that much that I wouldn’t change that work for anything else. Technology is advancing more and more and we can’t imagine our life without it. Especially for women, since they are really missing in the technology industry. When you want to work in technology, you have a huge number of possibilities for what you can do. Moreover, there are still evolving new technologies, so you have to continuously study and maybe you will find something that will be bigger fun for you.
If you had power, what is one thing you would do differently when it comes to hiring women in technology?
I have never encountered disadvantages just because I am a woman, but my experience is more or less tied to Kiwi.com. In my opinion, when a woman has analytical and logical thinking, she definitely should try finding her way in technology, because she can easily find self-realization and satisfaction. If I saw obstacles at work only because I am a woman, it would show what kind of company it is, and obviously, it wouldn’t be a job or a place for me.
Interested in joining Kiwi.com and working on exciting things alongside Tania? Check out our open positions!