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Career Profile

Ksenia Nadkina (she/her)

Software Developer
Ksenia Nadkina headshot
Ksenia Nadkina headshot
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Education Pathway
School Subject

I create code for different types of software.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Ukraine and grew up in Russian far east. At the age of 15 I moved to Canada, Calgary.

I now live in: Montreal, Quebec

I completed my training/education at: I have a bachelor's Chemical Engineering from University of British Columbia and a master's in Sustainable Development from University of London SOAS, CeDEP.

What I do at work

Generally, I work on tasks and features. This means that my lead will assign work to be done for the software to behave a certain way and I will write the code to make it work that way. Then the program will undergo through testing. In this phase, someone will try to "break it" and if they don't succeed the code is flagged as good to be added to the program. That's how your favorite software gets updated!

I normally write programs in languages such as JavaScript and Python. I also use additional tools made for developers. One of these tools is a code editor called VSCode. I also use programs to communicate with your computer on a much deeper level. Other than that software development is one of those low-bar-to-entry professions. In a nutshell all you need is a computer and a strong wi-fi connection. Having a great, easy-to-talk-to team is so important. I need to communicate with my colleagues a lot. This has increased now that we’re in a distributed and remote setting.

We solve problems in a team setting. As a result, easy and smooth communication is essential. Think of writing code as the way we create features in software. Analytical and computational thinking to break big problems into smaller manageable chunks. This is a skill that each software developer generally acquires during school. We use this skill to make decisions about how the software will behave in the long term. For example, imagine how a traffic light switches color. In theory, it’s a simple program. Light red for a few seconds, light orange, then green and create a loop. But there are many questions that have gone into creating such a simple algorithm. How long should each light be on? How long should the green blink? What should happen in case of an outage? These non-trivial questions had to be asked and resolved for such a program as traffic light control to work properly. And the decisions to create that program had to be made as a team!

My career path is

My career path was anything but linear. I completed a degree in chemical engineering and worked in automation and controls for a few years. However, I realized that I wasn’t interested in the chemical industry, and I would much rather work on solving software problems. I was also attracted by the flexibility of software development. I liked that it gave me the ability to work remotely and switch between industries, because let’s face it, there is no industry left that has in some or other way been affected by automation and computerization. In that way writing software is recession-proof. At the end of my twenties, I did a full pivot. I went back to school and started from scratch, back in a junior role, but enroute to my dream profession. Never be scared to follow your dream, at any age.

I am motivated by

My work is generally very exciting. It is not only spent in front of the computer, but sometimes in the field, playing and managing our own hives. Our product requires a lot of testing, so we have our own hives that we visit regularly to run software tests on. And, of course, we get insights and learn the intricacies of beekeeping. And why not enjoy some local, hand-made honey while we do it 😊 I am also genuinely excited by the problems that we get to solve on a daily basis. I am part of a small, but dynamic team. We operate with an understanding that no task is too small or too big and each one of us makes an invaluable contribution to solving technical challenges.

How I affect peoples’ lives

At this moment, my team and I are working on helping beekeepers raise healthier bees. As you may know, bees are in trouble. The use of pesticides, insecticides and monoculture has caused the spread of many diseases and parasites affecting the bee population. Through monitoring and precision beekeeping we use technology to help beekeepers keep track of their hives’ population. This allows them to make quick decisions that could ensure the health and wellbeing of beehives. This makes our job very important as bees are directly linked to food security and a healthy ecosystem.

Outside of work I

In my free time I enjoy art and photography, both creating and viewing. I especially enjoy traditional methods of photography, (i.e., wet-plate, darkroom) and I take photos with an old 35mm film camera. On weekends in the summer, you will probably find me with my camera biking around my favorite city of Montreal and taking photos of passersby. In the winter I love x-country skiing and snowboarding. I also volunteer and teach kids and women beginner-friendly programming skills.

My advice to others

My best advice in software development is to always be learning. Writing software is incredibly interesting and rewarding. However, it is a very quick-paced field that is always developing. To stay current, one has to be content and excited by the ever-changing way of writing code.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Foreign languages
  • History
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Computer Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Liked reading
  • Didn't really care about grades
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Learned best “by doing”

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