This is part of a new initiative featuring the women of Tempo, where we tell their stories and learn more about the paths that have led them to where they are now, and to see what they think about the future of tech — and for women in tech, generally.
For all, women and men, I think it’s always becoming more and more important to have people skills.
Many think of tech jobs as individuals sitting in the corner and programming. That is not the case!
Our own Jane-of-all-trades, Sandra Björg Axelsdóttir, started her career in one of the oldest pillars of the Icelandic economy: the fishing industry. Her job at Tempo is quite different from the freezing plant. When she’s not answering questions about JIRA and Tempo, managing our partner initiatives, or meeting customers and potential customers at conferences, Sandra manages a home and is raising two kids. We love Sandra for her eagerness and competitiveness, where she would surely jump on any opportunity to compete. Let’s get to know Sandra better.
Sandra joined the Tempo team in 2013 and is Tempo’s Channels Manager. She has been working for TM Software (now Tempo) since 2011, and has over 12 years of experience in the IT industry. Sandra has a B.Sc. in Business Administration as well as certification as a Scrum Product Owner, IPMA and ITIL.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Sandra and in the year 2015, I will reach the desirable and respectful age of 40. I’m a carrier woman, managing a home and raising two kids on the side. I have a boy, 12 year old, and a 8 year old girl. I’m the Tempo Channels Manager as well as being a JIRA and Tempo consultant and administrator.
Previous experience and how you ended up at Tempo?
I studied at the University of Akureyri and University of Skövde. My major was Business Administration with a Computer Science as minor. My degree is B.Sc. in Business Administration.
After graduation I started working for Skyggnir, an Icelandic IT service company that today is part of Nýherji (Tempo is a subsidiary of Nýherji). So, you can say that I have been working for the same company since 2001, but I have had many and different roles. My interest in Tempo started when Nýherji implemented JIRA and I was in charge of training all employees (at the time over 200). In 2012, I started my job as a JIRA and Tempo Consultant, and in 2013, I began my role as Tempo’s Partner Manager (today Channels Manager), in addition to consultancy.
What are your interests and what do you do for fun?
A lot of my free time is spent with my kids in their after school activities, or my own after work activities. I enjoy most outdoor activities and sports, as well as relaxing with a book or watching TV. My favourite sports are golfing, hiking, running and skiing.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
When I was younger I wanted to be a Software Engineer at one point, but also had dreams of being an interior architect, flight attendant and hair dresser.
What was your first job?
My first job was at a fish freezing plant in my old town Seyðisfjörður, a small town in the eastern region of Iceland.
When I was deciding what to study I thought a lot about what industry would be most successful and growing in the future and offer a broad variety of jobs. I came up with the combination of Business Administration and Computer Science. I looked at this in a very realistic and analytical way.”
I don’t know if that would be my conclusion today, but it certainly has not disappointed me.
What were your earliest interactions or memories with technology?
Probably playing Super Mario Bros on Nintendo.
What is your favorite part about working in IT?
The speed; you really have to stay focused to keep up with technology!
What is an average work day like for you?
Every day is different. Much of my time is spent on support and answering questions from my coworkers, customers, and partners. Some days are packed with meetings and some days are not. The one thing that every day has in common, is my computer.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
I’m a people person; meeting new people and communicating with others is one of my favourite things. Being an expert and helping people achieve their goals by using our products is very rewarding.
Overall, how do you think things are for women working in tech right now?
We definitely need more women in tech, but I think the women that are already here are doing just fine.
What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in tech?
The biggest challenge is gaining respect from “older men” in tech. They sometimes ignore you and don’t think you know tech or what you are talking about because you’re a woman. But this is not a big problem.
What is your biggest success up until now, career-wise?
My current job is my all time favourite.
Aside from technical skills, what other skills do you feel are important to have if a woman is interested in working in technology?
For all, women and men, I think it’s always becoming more and more important to have people skills. Many think of tech jobs, as individuals sitting in the corner and programming. That is not the case!
What advice would you give to others interested in pursuing a career in tech?
Go for it! But you need to be committed and really interested to keep up with the speed and understand that you don’t know anything when you graduate. You need to be eager and willing to learn from your senior co-workers.
How do you see the future of women in tech?
The future is bright! I think more women are joining the tech sector every day and succeeding.
Who is your hero?
Don’t have one particular hero. I look up to various people for various reasons.
University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?
A combination of both. I think University teaches you to be organiszed and the foundation you need for your career, but you learn most by life experience.
The best part of waking up is?
To live another day.
Thank you Sandra @axelsdottir for your time. Stay tuned for more!