From Siberia to London: My Journey as an IT Project Manager
Written at Jul 31, 2023 2:22:05 PM by Anastasia Starchekova
I was born in a small military town in Siberia with limited opportunities for the future. When I got bored of living in the middle of nowhere, I decided to take a chance and study in a military boarding school for girls in the capital of Russia. 14 years old I separated from my parents, left my hometown, and went to study in Moscow. After my military education, earning my bachelor's degree in information security and working for almost two years as an IT auditor in an international consulting company, I realized that there are no limits and I need to think bigger. My dream was to live and study abroad.
In March 2020, I decided to give it a try and make my dream come true. After a long period of studying English, I came to London with the only goal of improving my English speaking skills enough to pass a language exam and apply for a master's degree in computer science in Germany (where education is free). However, I didn't expect the global pandemic to start, my English school to go bankrupt, and all flights back to Russia to be cancelled. I was stuck in London but was lucky enough to start my master's degree at Northumbria University in September, isolating at home due to the Covid pandemic. It wasn't exactly what I had imagined living and studying abroad would be like, but it helped me focus on coding practice and learn frontend development from scratch. I finished my university with distinguished results, even though I struggled to say a word in English in the beginning due to the language barrier.
Hard work, facing fears, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone helped me get an offer at distriBind within the two weeks that I had given myself to find a job. At that time, I was ready to give up because I was stressed that my country was involved in a war, and I didn't know what would happen next, when I could see my family again, or if I should come back home. distriBind became my safe point that gave me some stability in life, financial security, and future certainty that was so lacking. It took me a year to realize that home is not a place, it is the people, and to accept the idea that London and distriBind are actually the best things happened to me, it’s my booster in career and opportunity to build a new life.
Throughout this year, I received enormous support from my team. I was surprised to find such a healthy work environment still exists. Of course, we have our ups and downs, challenges that make us experienced but if you need help, you will always get it. The most caring, supportive and kind people work at distriBind.
When I joined distriBind, there were only five of us. In my career development, I grew from a graduate project management role with little scope of responsibilities to a Project Manager managing technical engineering teams of eight people, helping deliver against a backlog, involving in client delivery with daily communication and collaboration at multiple levels (!), doing some side frontend development, and trying to be a good supportive manager in a fast-paced startup environment.
The main challenge I faced this year was understanding Charlie's Scottish accent and the British work culture where "very interesting" doesn't mean they are impressed; it actually means that it's clearly nonsense 😊 What a life! What a successful year in my career!
I am forever grateful and very pleased to be part of the distriBind team.