Patrisia Pascan

I’m a 23-year-old Computer Science graduate working for a start-up as a UX Designer. As of September, I will be starting a new role at Microsoft as a Cloud Solutions Architect. My career so far has not been too extensive but I’m proud to have been involved in numerous projects and internships at top companies, including Oracle and J. P. Morgan.

Be passionate about what you do. Be curious – leap at every opportunity that comes your way and try out everything you can, anything can be a learning opportunity. Be disciplined – you can accomplish greatness only if you’re willing to work hard for it. Lastly, don’t let anyone make your career about gender – it should be about your curiosity and love for the chosen field.

I studied a science-based curriculum in high school and I always knew I wanted to have a career in STEM (although field preferences have shifted throughout the years). I decided I wanted to study Computer Science at degree level because I had a huge curiosity for the subject. It was the only science I barely had any knowledge of and I wanted to dive deeper into it.

I have designed/prototyped numerous applications including a commodities clearing platform, a web version of a local council’s yearly report, a task assignment platform, an employee recognition scheme portal, an anti-human trafficking app for a local police constabulary and many more. As part of a challenge aiming to create a solution for access to healthcare worldwide, my team and I pitched a line of robots that would automate sample testing and body scanning using image recognition and ML for faster and higher diagnosis accuracy. I also undertook market research and developed a marketing plan to expand a car service company, and created a business plan and a technical approach for a bank’s new facial recognition feature for online customers.

My proudest achievement is making my parents proud. As an only child, it was not easy for my parent to accept that I will move to the other side of the continent for my degree. My parents are the world to me and I promised them it would be worth it. My greatest achievement is hearing them speak with pride about their daughter’s involvement.

It varies from day to day, but there are always meetings around the stages of work we are in with each project, lots of planning, discussions about product specifications, creating pitches, writing technical documentation and sprint deliverables, working on designs, researching tools and new technologies, etc.

My favourite part is finishing a project and looking back at all the work that’s gone into it. It’s very satisfying to look at the product journey and reflect on all the decisions made and how the product has come to life from nothing.

When I started university, I had absolutely zero coding experience. The colleagues I was hanging around with seemed to know everything from algorithms to code syntax, and I was miles behind. The only way I thought of dealing with it was to study and acknowledge that it wasn’t the end of the world and that if I work hard enough, I’ll catch up with my peers.

My closest friends in high school were all extremely passionate about different STEM fields. They spoke about their favourite subjects with so much curiosity and enthusiasm, won top-level olympiads and had such stellar knowledge that they sparked my interest in them too. I then oscillated between STEM fields I loved for a while and then decided I was going into Computer Science.

I love visiting my family and spending time with my loved ones whenever I can. I listen to music almost every time I’m alone, no matter what I’m doing – 80s, country and blues mostly. I’m also a beekeeper.

I experienced imposter syndrome in my first year of university. However, the harder I worked and the more projects I had gotten involved in, the better I was feeling. I kept myself busy in order to be productive and learn, and it worked out pretty well for me.

I do my best to sound as passionate as the people who inspired me. I’m very transparent when asked about my journey in STEM so far and I’m always happy to help out in any way I can when people want to dip their toes in tech.

The message I always try to spread is that it’s not gender that matters, it’s the passion for the field. I don’t look at myself as a female in a male-dominated field, I look at myself as an individual working in tech. I’m a strong believer that people should rise through merit and I will always encourage women to work hard and reach as high as possible, not make them feel they are at a disadvantage because of their gender. That was how I was raised and I never once believed there was anything I couldn’t do because I’m a woman. I was always encouraged in anything I put my mind to and I do the same for the women I speak with.

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