How to awaken a dormant interest in IT? 

People Success Story: Verena Lanzinger

Verena Lanzinger has been working at Cloudflight for almost three years: she started as a part-time employee and is now a full-time software developer. Her focus is on aerospace topics. Lately, she has also taken on more leading roles in some projects in addition to being the location leader in our Innsbruck office. Read her success story to find out what the biggest milestones were as she moved from astroparticle physics into a leadership role.  

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From astroparticle physics to VR and 3D printing 

Before working here, Verena went to a technical school, where she learned the basics of programming and studied astroparticle physics until she got her Master’s degree. She mainly writes user-friendly functions for complex scientific use cases and processes data for customers on our infrastructure.   

Her favorite hobby is video games. She loves the fantastic stories they tell and the worlds that can be built. Verena also enjoys playing VR games with her friends, who now live far away. As if that wasn’t enough, she also enjoys handicraft and has lately been dabbling in 3D printing. 

How did the STEM journey begin?  

“I started playing video games at a young age and was fascinated by how mechanical designs worked,” she reveals. “I enjoyed going to a technical school and learning mechanical engineering. When I was thinking about my continued studies, I realized that what fascinated me most about mechanics was the physics behind it. I suddenly wanted to understand how everything in the world is controlled and by what physical properties. I ended up focusing on studying the creation and decay of the distant universe.  

Interest is independent of gender  

When it comes to the topic of women in IT, we often want to know more about the inspiring people behind female colleagues in the tech world: Who are those who have supported or influenced them? Did these women choose a career in IT because they had role models?  

“I didn’t have anyone I looked at and thought, ‘I want to be like them’,” Verena confesses, “but I have an older brother who was also interested in technology and electronics from a very young age. He had books and toys based on all these things. But these tended to be geared towards ‘bigger kids’ and even more towards boys. So maybe that sparked my interest in the subject as well.” 

Diversity broadens horizons  

“There were few women in the physics program – about 10% in our cohort”, Verena says, “so about 20 out of 200. I feel like my fellow students didn’t care about the gender of the students. I also think most professors didn’t care (although I’m sure some did). And I don’t think anyone’s nationality was an issue either. Because the University of Innsbruck is used to having many people from different countries,” she explains.  

“Innsbruck has a lot of students from the surrounding regions. So there is quite a mix of different people compared with outside the city. At least in higher education and among the younger people. We also have people from all over the world, who moved here to be closer to the mountains. I think that helps a lot to broaden your horizons and get to know different life stories! It also makes Innsbruck an interesting place to work.”   

The multitasking leader  

Verena currently has four roles at Cloudflight: She is a software engineer and team leader who is also responsible for office administration and location leader duties at the Innsbruck office.   

“I want everyone to like their workplace and feel at ease there,” she says.   

Verena told us that this feeling has developed into a strong motivation to make the Innsbruck site the best it can be. We were curious about what skills she thinks she needs as well as what responsibilities and initiatives she must have. Verena emphasized the most important factors:  

“I think it’s very important to be a good listener and stay in touch with what’s going on around you. If you don’t pay attention to your surroundings and things just pass you by, how can you act and react accordingly?  

You also need a great deal of self-confidence without being overly cocky. You need to listen to criticism and either remain confident that you have a good plan or recognize when you need to change your approach or come to a compromise.  

And, of course, you should value the advice of people who have more experience than you do or different insights: Multiple points of view are important. Otherwise, you might lose sight of relevant issues. 

The future of Innsbruck Location 

“We are a small location in the company: Therefore, a big goal for us is to become better known. We have already started participating in an online career fair event and have had the chance to talk to many interesting people there.   

As soon as there are more on-site events again, I would like to be present at as many as possible so that we can further increase our visibility. We’re already getting applications from some young people who tell us they know about us because we were at a career info day at their school. So that’s something I want to keep doing. When schools return to regular schedules, I’d also like to do workshops with students. And, of course, I would like to make our next coding contest bigger than the previous ones. To this end, I was in contact with university staff, and they seemed willing to support us.  

Now that more people around Innsbruck know our name, I would also like to see more women applying to work with us. Because I am still the only female colleague in our office! I hope that I can be a role model for young girls and maybe awaken their dormant interest of pursuing a career in IT.” 

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