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Women in Big Data: Why now is the time to start a career in Data and AI 

Women in Big Data (WiBD) is a new partner of DATA festival. Therefore, Katerina Andreeva (Chapter Lead of Women in Big Data in Munich) spoke with DATA festival Marketing and Business Developer Judith about her career path so far. She explains why meeting Women in Big Data was so important for her and why she thinks that now is the best time for women to start a career in Data and AI. Enjoy the interview.

What does Women in Big Data stand for?

Judith: You are Munich Chapter Co-Lead for Women in Big Data – our new partner with DATA festival. So please tell us a little bit more about it – for what reasons was it founded, what are your ambitions? And also about your position – how did you come to this honorary office and what were the reasons for you to take it up?

Katerina: Women in Big Data is a global organization to inspire and connect women in Big Data careers. Since its inception in 2015, WiBD has grown to over 20000 members worldwide and continues to grow. We offer meetups with exciting topics, mentorship programs, hackathons, and conferences.
The first time I saw a WiBD event on LinkedIn was in 2019, but I wasn’t sure if I was professional/senior/technical enough to attend such events. So I signed up for an event but stayed home.

So the first time I met WiBD members was in 2021 after the lockdown at a beergarden. I had the opportunity to meet inspiring women and wanted to do the same. In November 2021 I did my first event for WiBD and in January 2022 I took over the leadership of the Munich chapter together with Karolina Stosio. 

For me personally, it is very important to give women a sense of belonging, which I have needed a lot myself. At our networking events, women come from a wide variety of companies and professions. That means not only pure tech jobs, but also from sales, HR, marketing, and everyone who works in the Big Data World. 

How do you feel as a Lady in Tech?

Judith: Diversity and female quota in tech jobs are currently much discussed. How does it feel for you, being a „Lady in Tech“? 

Katerina: I think it depends on many things, like company, team, and position. For example, being a data scientist is very trendy. More women are working in data science than in data engineering. There is still a big gap between women in tech jobs. It could also be profitable if you are open to it. Sometimes it’s still easier for women to get a job in tech because a lot of companies are trying to fill their quotas. I even had a request once that was “We are looking for FEMALE Data Scientists”. I think it’s not okay and candidates should be measured by knowledge and experience and not by gender. But I won’t judge anyone who takes such a job, sooner or later you would have to prove knowledge anyway.

“Consulting was the fastest way to gain experience in different areas”

Judith: You’ve already had several jobs in the field of data & analytics since you graduated with your bachelor’s degree. Looking back – what learnings can you share? Do you have any tips for other young people who work or start working in the tech or data & analytics sector?  

Katerina: I don’t think my path is the right one for everyone. I gained experience in IT consulting and wouldn’t do it any other way. For me, consulting was the fastest way to gain experience in different areas and also the best way to learn not only theoretically but also to gain practical experience. I have worked as a Data Engineer, Data Analyst, BI Analyst, and Data Scientist, but my job title has always been IT Consultant.   
I think it’s also important to learn how to search for information. There are a lot of free learning opportunities out there. If I’m not sure if the field is something I want to do or if the course is right for me, I always check it on Youtube. There are many different websites for different needs, you just have to know how to find them. 

In general, I think curiosity and constant development are important. That is what has kept me going.
I also don’t want to underestimate networking. Now and then you just don’t know what professions are out there and what development opportunities you have, and that’s where it’s important to talk to someone who has had similar experiences. 

Women in Big Data: Why now is the time to start a career in Data and AI 
Thanks for the interview, Katerina!
Die DATA Party geht weiter!
Das DATA festival #online kommt am 19. und 20. November zurück!
Zwei Tage lang dreht sich wieder alles um die nutzbringende Anwendung von Daten & künstlicher Intelligenz und wie wir damit unsere digitale Zukunft gestalten können. Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos.

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