Anastasia is the youngest sysadmin in the hosting company “Hostens”. Only 24 years old, she has already firmly established herself in the world of hardware, logics, virtual machines and… rabbits. After the whole day of dealing with server administration, this at first sight fragile young lady spends most of her free time with her lovely rabbit named Zaika.
We met with Anastasia in a cozy lounge after her hard day at work to talk about her story.
Women in the field of technology are definitely a minority, why have you decided to pursue a career in this area? How did you get into computing?
Math was my favorite subject at school. I remember our teacher used to give us some difficult math problems to solve if we were late for math class and it made me happy every time.
Then the time came to decide what to do in my life. Having heard of the salaries of IT specialists and mathematics teachers, I decided to study IT at Vilnius University. I studied programming hard for two weeks before school graduation and passed the programming exams successfully.
After graduating from the university, I started working as a junior IT specialist, thinking of pursuing a career in programming or server management. I wasn’t too sure about it yet, when one day a colleague placed a recommendation for me to take a system admin test as they were were looking for a new colleague at the department of system administrators. I passed the test and started working as a sysadmin.
You are the first sysadmin girl in our company. How did senior sysadmins welcome you?
Oh, they accepted me very well! I was surprised by how friendly and supportive my colleagues were. No pressure, no jokes, real gentlemen in the real world and in the virtual reality.
As the first girl in the admin room, I was going to surprise my colleagues and bring in a little bit of femininity into this bleak and grey men’s world. First, as a joke, I decided to decorate the admin room with pictures of my rabbit, cover tables with pink napkins and to put colorful flowers on the walls, but finally, I took pity on them and just brought some pink cupcakes to make life sweeter (laughing). They were very pleased.
What is the real sysadmin life like? What are your everyday tasks?
Answering client’s requests, server’s troubleshooting, maintenance work, updates, upgrades. I do everything that is in my job description. There was just one case, when I felt that I was a woman: I needed to change a storage node in the data center and it is really heavy (around 30kg) and was placed too high for me. But I solved this issue too, I simply took hard the disks out, then replaced a node and I put the disks back. Task accomplished!
You may not notice the sysadmin’s real work if everything is running smoothly. But when things go wrong, sysadmins are buzzing around the office and moving with fervor and urgency. Is it true? How would you describe the position of sysadmin?
This joke is partly true, because actually, if everything is working just fine, you will see the sysadmin drinking coffee and talking with other colleagues (laughing). I totally agree with my teacher saying that the sysadmin is half engineer and half shaman.
What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of computer technology?
As I have always loved challenges, I would advise that you face your fears and do what you want to do.