Tamara and Mariia Koliada
Developer Circles Kyiv
Empowering women to pursue opportunities in tech
From an early age, Ukrainian sisters Tamara and Mariia Koliada loved mathematics. In school, they enjoyed solving numerical challenges, and discovering practical applications of mathematical theories. Their passion for numbers led them to pursue careers involving the subject - yet each sister embarked upon a different path, with Tamara leaning towards technology and Mariia taking on a job in finance.
“My love for technology was sparked when my uncle presented me with a computer, and I taught myself Turbo and Pascal. I was blessed with a supportive teacher who pushed me to excel at programming and mathematics,” says Tamara, who graduated with honors from Chernihiv National Technical University, having studied Computer Science. Once an intern at the NASA Ames Research Center, she is currently a data scientist at Flico, specializing in transport optimization.
Looking for new challenges, Mariia was attracted to the fast-paced world of technology. Enterprising and driven, she taught herself programming languages R and Python. Now, she collaborates with other developers to share knowledge, build technical capabilities and swap best practices.
Being women in technology
When the Koliada sisters made their foray into tech, they realised it would take twice the effort to receive the same recognition as a male colleague - be it compensation , promotions, or career opportunities. As the only female developer in her first company, Tamara felt that her gender and physical appearance received more attention than her technical expertise. However as more women entered the space, the sisters felt it is easier to have a flourishing career in technology.
Women are underrepresented as key decision-makers in both public and private spheres, with traditional Ukrainian society dictating they aspire solely to be homemakers. Tamara and Mariia want to change that.
“Offering women and girls meaningful professional opportunities to reach their full potential, and empowering them to pursue a career in tech is key to not only attaining gender equality but also transforming society into an inclusive and compassionate space where female talent is celebrated and nurtured,” shared the Koliada sisters, who have organized the NASA Space Apps Challenge twice in Lviv.
A regular hackathon attendee, Tamara was keen to learn about new technologies and put her skills to the test. In fact, she has attended more than 30 coding and tech events in the last three years.
“I learned about Developer Circles from my teammates at the 2018 F8 Hackathon who had launched their own tech communities in Israel and South Korea. Listening to their success stories made me want to accomplish something of my own,” said Tamara. She joined the Developer Circles family and discovered several valuable opportunities to grow as a software developer.
Beyond exercising her technical acumen, Tamara notes that “becoming a Developer Circle Lead in Kyiv has done wonders for my confidence. Not only have I overcome my fear of public speaking, but I have also built connections with other inspirational people, shared knowledge, and supported other talented tech and data enthusiasts in boosting their careers.”
Given the Koliada’s sisters’ deep bond, it was only a matter of time before Mariia joined the Developer Circles community to explore her love of technology and data science. Like her sister, Mariia shied away from public speaking but quickly took a shine to it during monthly community events such as Build Days. Now, she addresses large crowds with ease and confidence and has steadily built up a solid network of like-minded data enthusiasts.
Collaboration has been the key to the Koliada sisters’ success. To date, Developer Circles Kyiv has 1,500 members because of Tamara’s enterprising spirit. Two individuals belonging to this actively growing community have won the Developer Circles Challenge, and three teams have received financial backing for their start-up idea at the Developer Circles Kyiv Founder’s Night.