Magda Miu – Squad Lead Developer at YOXO, Orange Romania

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It depends also on us, the women who already work in technology, to show that it is possible to have success in tech and to mentor and encourage other women to follow a career in this field.

Magda Miu is an enthusiastic and innovative Squad Lead Developer at YOXO, Orange Romania and Google Developer Expert for Android with more than 10 years of experience in software development. Also, she is a co-organizer at Women Techmakers Romania and Google Developers Group and believes in a diverse and inclusive culture where the leader’s main responsibility is to set up the team members for success.

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

I work as a Squad Lead Developer at YOXO, Orange Romania.

My squad is a team of 18 mixed skills professionals (Product Owners, Business Analyst, Backend Developers, Mobile Developers, QA, UX/UI Designer). I am responsible for driving all aspects of implementation, quality assurance, security, continuous integration and deployment, and application monitoring.

Our mission is to build a customer-centric, fully digital solution for managing a telecom service. The output of our mission is a product called YOXO, the first 100% digital telecom subscription from Romania. YOXO is revealed to the end-customers in a native mobile app (Android, iOS).

Since February 2019 I am also an Android Google Developer Expert. Other than that I am a blogger (https://magdamiu.com/), public speaker at international tech conferences (Droidcon Berlin, mDevCamp – Prague, mobiconf – Krakow, Android Makers – Paris, DevTalks – Bucharest, DevFest – Ukraine, Romania), and also a promoter of digital communities in different towns of Romania (Google Developers Group Pitesti and Women Techmakers Romania), supporting other technical professionals to constantly improve their knowledge.

Since October 2018 I am an Android trainer and mentor at Google “Digital Garage for Programmers”. For this program, I defined the curricula, created the materials, and delivered practical Android training at the University of Bucharest. The training is organized in 4 University centers from Romania and until now I trained more than 160 students.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

My professional journey started 10 years ago, in my 3rd year of university, with an internship in an IT outsourcing company from Pitesti (a city near Bucharest, the capital city). The internship was followed by a full-time job as an Android developer. After 5 years of working as an individual contributor, I became the technical leader of a team of mobile developers (Android and iOS). The team was built by me from scratch.

After 8 years of working in the same company, I decided that I should reach the next stage in my career so I joined Orange as a Squad Lead Developer to develop YOXO, a product that has an impact on telecom subscribers from Romania.

How I got here: I love this quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I truly believe that if I want to achieve a goal I need to have a very clear plan in place. I check it often and evaluate where I am and what’s next.

I was inspired by OKRs superpowers (focus and commit to priorities, align and connect, track for accountability, stretch for amazing) and I also find very helpful the SWOT analysis so I build my own “planning framework”:

step 1: where I am now? => apply the SWOT analysis on my current career status

step 2: what I want to achieve? => based on the results from the SWOT analysis I define OKRs for the next 3 or 6 months for my professional or personal growth

step 3: what I achieved? => after the allocated time is finished I evaluate the results

step 4: how it was and what’s next? => retrospective about what was ok, what should I change and avoid doing in the next phases

Other than having a clear plan also what helped me a lot during my career was to have a coach and a mentor. It was like a career boost, I had the opportunity to learn a lot of new things about myself, to be more confident in my strengths, and to have a different and objective perspective about the things in my professional and personal life.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

Since I have a background in mobile development from my perspective the greatest transformation in technology was the launch of smartphones.

As an Android developer, I was amazed to see how the lines of code define an app that could be used by millions of people. It was my “a-ha!” moment. Then I realized what I want to do in my professional life: to be a mobile developer and to build mobile apps that have a positive impact on people’s lives. 

I learned that when I develop an app it is not about me, it is about the users who will interact with the app I build and my all focus should be to offer them a simple and intuitive experience.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

Success. Women have and they will continue to have success in tech as long as they are confident in their strengths and they work in an environment that helps them to thrive and to be their best version.

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech?

Yes, the gender gap is still relevant in the tech field, and only by collaborating and providing guidance, this gap will start to decrease.

From my perspective, the girls should be encouraged to follow a STEM field since they are little. The parents and teachers should not make differences between a girl and a boy in terms of learning choices or limit their options based on irrelevant beliefs.

It depends also on us, the women who already work in technology, to show that it is possible to have success in tech and to mentor and encourage other women to follow a career in this field.

Also, the companies and the leadership should understand that a diverse team will create successful products, and will address better the customers’ needs.

I also noticed that including the leadership level is not so well represented by women so also in this area there is a lot of room for improvement.

Which was the best decision in your career?

One of the best decisions in my career was when I started my blog about Android development. I learned a lot of new tech concepts and principles and starting from there a lot of opportunities occurred.

One of the best decisions in my career was when I started my blog about Android development. I learned a lot of new tech concepts and principles and starting from there a lot of opportunities occurred: organizer for tech communities, public speaker at conferences, trainer and mentor at University, Google Developer Expert for Android, and also based on my exposure I got a job in a position that represented a good match for my profile and expectations.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

Have more confidence in yourself, don’t search for validation outside, surround yourself with people that motivate and inspire you. Invest in yourself and have more courage to make bold decisions.

Magda Miu is an enthusiastic and innovative Squad Lead Developer at YOXO, Orange Romania and Google Developer Expert for Android with more than 10 years of experience in software development. Also, she is a co-organizer at Women Techmakers Romania and Google Developers Group and believes in a diverse and inclusive culture where the leader’s main responsibility is to set up the team members for success.

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