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Teamwork is key

I got into programming by accident. In fact, when I went to high school, I said I would never enroll in a college where there is a lot of math and physics. But it turned out quite differently.

Klavdija Piskule Smolnikar, software developer at the .si Registry

Before I got into computer science, my desire was to study special pedagogy. But the college information day convinced me that this was not for me. I enrolled in the Faculty of Computer and Information Science, even though I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Unlike many other freshmen, I had no prior programming knowledge. I was surprised that I passed the math exams with ease, while the physics classes did not go my way at all. At the same time, there were very few computer subjects and they seemed quite impractical to me.

Excellent lecturers are crucial

After the transfer to the Bologna study, I was on a roll. The program there was significantly different – updated. We also had great lecturers, people who knew how to impress. Even today, I am convinced that the key is who passes on knowledge and how. The material was extremely interesting to me. Even though I did not have any programming knowledge, after a lot of study and hard work, I passed programming exams with ease.

I came to the Registry in a rather winding way. It was recommended to me by a friend who is a programmer. I actually had my first “interview” with an external contractor working for the Registry. Given that there are mostly server experts at the Registry, while I work with applications, I had to prove myself to him first. This was followed by interviews with people working at the Registry. Finally, I had an interview with the head of the Registry, Barbara Povše Golob. We agreed on a trial period.

It means a lot to me, there is no problem getting help from others 

In my opinion, Registry .si is not known enough in our IT community. When I went to the interview I have of course familiarized myself with the Registry website. But it still seems to me that when Arnes is mentioned, the first association is still the internet for schools and domain registration. Before I started working here, I really had no idea what Arnes was doing, much less Registry .si. I find it a pity that this is the case, as we are doing important things on the one hand and very interesting things on the other. Perhaps I should also mention that as a “woman in IT” it has never been difficult for me. Well, at least not because I would be a woman and someone would look down on me because of it. I feel good when I work in mostly male environments. I had no such problems in college, but I have to say for the Registry that I am comfortable in our office. It means a lot to me that everyone is ready to help and give advice, if needed. Of course, this means that you also help others. That goes without saying. Regarding the work at the Registry, I would say that it is quite relaxed. But at the same time, you are expected to be aware that you have obligations and deadlines – and that things must be done. I like such approach.

Skills you learn from the Tibetan Mastiff 

I would like to emphasize a great lesson that I learned in the first months – the most important thing is teamwork. Technical knowledge is of course necessary, but as a programmer you must understand someone who does not have programming knowledge. And you must be able to present things in an understandable way. It seems to me that these skills are very much lacking in the IT industry. Communication is key. Well, programming is not my only passion. I own a dog, a cat, some hedgehogs, tenreks and ferrets. Although, the term “owner” doesn’t even seem right to me – sometimes it seems to me that they have me more than I have them. Leisure time for me also means a lot of visits to the vet. Animals are a responsibility, they require a lot of care. It can be exhausting, but I am sure that in addition to love, these animals also give you some skills that come in handy at work. They require time management and patience – a lot of patience. Learning to be more stubborn than a Tibetan Mastiff or a ferret is a real achievement. Those who have one or the other will already know. In general, I would say, now that I look at my work and experience at the Registry, that college gives you very little. You get some basics, but wherever you start working, you are “tossed” into the water. And you just must learn to “swim”. You really must learn from scratch. You must be very patient. It can be hard at first – because you have no clue. If you’re coming into a new work environment in IT and you don’t have a lot of previous experience, then it’s healthy to assume you have no idea. And that you must learn from the beginning. But I find that interesting.

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