Problem-solving and appreciating the Product: Rita’s journey to becoming a software developer at RELEX

Mar 9, 2023 4 min

In honor of International Women’s Day, we created a mini-blog series where we celebrate brilliant women across RELEX and get an insight into their careers in the technology sector.  

‘Colleague is a friend’ is one of the main values we live by at RELEX. We aim to have a low hierarchy where colleagues are treated as equals. One of our guiding principles is to respect expertise, which is easy to do with a house full of brilliant minds, whether it be women, men, or non-binary RELEXians.    

We work hard to ensure everyday equality within RELEX. We, for example, take pay equality very seriously and regularly monitor salary levels to ensure there are no statistically significant differences in pay between different genders within the same job titles. 

To kick things off, we would like to introduce our Software Developer, Rita Pereira! She started her journey with RELEX in October 2022 as the first female Software Developer in a team formed just a year earlier. She is currently based in Lisbon, working with our Portuguese team.

Fun fact: If Rita could be any type of food product, she’d be a blueberry juice, preferably the kind you get in Finland! 

What was your favorite subject in school? 

My favorite subjects were Portuguese and English. Languages come naturally to me, and I enjoy deconstructing and tinkering with text. I love that it can be ambiguous but also made clear by just moving some words around or adding punctuation.  

When I started studying Computer Science at university, my preferences followed along the same lines, even though the subjects were completely different. I enjoyed writing code, trying to make it understandable and clear. It’s satisfying seeing all that writing you’re doing producing different outcomes. 

What is special about the work of a Software Developer?

The most interesting part is that it’s such a broad world! There’s a lot of space for different kinds of expertise; it’s not just about the code. You can experiment with UI, QA, infrastructure, technical writing, team dynamics, leadership, and so on. Then, of course, there are different types of businesses. I’ve worked in telecommunications, transportation, and now retail. I learned so much about optical fiber networks in my first job. Is it useful now? Maybe not. But was it interesting? Yes, it was! 

 How would you describe your typical workday?

A typical workday for me starts with a daily meeting where the whole team gets together for a quick checkpoint. We have our tasks organized so we can work independently, but it’s common to work on projects in pairs. More often than not tasks also require a certain degree of learning and investigation, whether it be related to technical or business aspects. Google and StackOverflow are your friends when doing investigative work, although you can’t just blindly trust everything you read. ChatGPT has also joined the arsenal of tools we get to use! 

Why did you choose RELEX?

During the past seven years of working as a Software Developer, I’ve worked mainly in Java in various different teams and companies, which eventually led me to realize I’m more passionate about product than technology. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with some amazing people who introduced me to RELEX, and I felt working here would provide me with exactly the type of challenges I’d enjoy solving. 

More than anything I enjoy the work environment here. It’s such an eclectic group of people, and things just sort of feel like they fall into place. Just going to the office at Lisbon is always a good laugh. People genuinely enjoy each other’s company. It just works! 

Finally, the best thing about RELEX is the approachability and humility of its founders. Their values really seep through the whole company. 

What is your advice for women interested in or already working in technology?  

Don’t be afraid to speak up. You don’t need to be nice or likable. If you see discrimination, harassment, bias, or anything you’re not comfortable with, speak up about it. More often than not people are not intentionally trying to be harmful, they just haven’t realized how much a seemingly innocuous comment might affect others. You can make a change by speaking up and confronting issues head-on.  

Also, there is something I didn’t realize until I experienced it myself by working closely with another female colleague. It helps when you have someone who understands what you might be dealing with. Find a mentor who can help you navigate through your career, even if it is outside of your workplace. Venting to another woman about your frustrations, helping each other find your paths, and realizing how diverse and appreciated your skills are can help you thrive!