Women in IT – Elena De Roeck


Power Women, Power Talks.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we decided to collect some powerful stories by inspiring women within Tobania. No endless scripts on what should or shouldn’t be done, just some honest, casual and pleasant chats about their aspirations, happy moments and role models in life. Fancy diving into Elena’s story? Let’s go!

What’s your current role within Tobania? 

I am a Data Scientist at Python Predictions – aka the business unit Tobania .Data


What’s your favourite part of the job?  

The variety. Being a consultant means you get to work for multiple clients and meet loads of new people. Each client has different data and different needs, so with each new project you discover new insights and get to do different things.


What first sparked your interest in pursuing this career? 

During my Business Engineering studies, we were taught a course called “Objective Oriented Programming”. There, we learned to program very simple things like playing “Hangman” against a computer or determining whether a word or sentence contained a palindrome. I had never programmed in my life and always thought that it was not for me, but during the course I discovered that I really liked programming and got a lot of satisfaction from succeeding in my tasks. 

“There is much more to programming, and IT in general, than those typical stereotypes. We need to start breaking down clichés, opening people’s eyes and informing them.”

How can we encourage more women to dive into a similar professional growth path? 

I think if you ask most people what they know about programming, they will think of a stereotypical nerd. But there is much more to programming, and IT in general, than those stereotypes. So, I think we need to start breaking down those clichés, opening people’s eyes and informing them. A lot of people still don’t really know or understand what exactly people in IT do, as it can be so diverse. So, I think informing women about what IT entails can spark their interest and encourage them to follow this path. 


What has been your most career-defining moment that you are proud of? 

I only graduated this summer, so my career has only just started at this point in time, but right now my most career-defining moment will be joining Python Predictions – a Tobania company. I started with a lot of theoretical knowledge I had gathered during my studies, but little practical experience. In these past six months, I have become a better Data Scientist and also learned a lot of consulting skills. I have grown a lot in this time and I am really proud to be part of this team! 


Who is your role model or mentor? And why? 

Daliana Liu. She is a Data Scientist I discovered on LinkedIn. She has a huge reach/network and uses it to hand out advice to all data scientists. It’s really concrete and straight forward and it is both reassuring and inspiring to hear this advice from a person with experience. 


What is your wildest dream on a professional level? 

Seeing the world through my job. Not that original, but it’s something I love to do. 


What is your biggest stress reliever? 

Putting on songs that I like. Playing them really loud and singing and shouting along and, if there is room, doing a little dance as well. 


“My advice to young potentials? Finding the right company match will kickstart your career.”

What mantra do you live by?  

It is better to regret having done something than to regret never having done it. If I want to do something, but I am not sure, I ask myself: what will I regret more? Will I regret that I did not have the courage to do it or will I regret that I did it? 


What advice would you offer to young potentials who aspire a career in the IT industry? 

I would say: go for it. There are so many job opportunities out there, next to the many on- and offline courses. The IT world is ready and yours to discover. But also: take your time to choose and find the right fit. IT people are ‘hot’ (desired) right now, so you have the luxury to choose. Both for you and your future employer, it’s important that you’re on the same page and share the same values to enter a company culture that fits you. Finding the right match can really kickstart your career.