Inspired by the International Women’s Day, we recently launched a campaign in all our channels in order to truly celebrate the powerful and inspirational women here at Starship. Although we only have one specific month to celebrate the women that strive to #breakthebias, we are dedicated to amplifying women’s voices every day.
Should Kaari’s story inspire you or if you feel an interest towards working at Starship, then make sure to check our careers page as we have currently globally more than 120 open positions available.
Happy belated International Women’s Day, Kaari! Please tell us a bit about your career journey.
To be honest, I have never really planned any of my career. I didn’t plan to become a software engineer, it kind of just happened to me. I came to Starship as a bored PhD student, looking for a larger team and for something more fast paced. I do get a lot of energy from other people around me and I like if there are others to lean on.
Whoa, so how exactly did you end up in your position?
I ended up in my position by saying to others that I would like to code more. Seems a cool thing to do. And then others did their best to help me achieve that. It’s easy to help others when they know what they want.
Your story of how to maintain confidence and follow your gut feeling is so inspiring! At your current role in Starship, what is your everyday life like?
I am very involved in deciding what is the most impactful thing to do in our field in order to achieve the goals of Starship. So a chuck of my time goes to data investigations. The other part is implementing all the ideas. I work with managing which robot does what at what time. It’s an endless optimizing exercise. And it’s basically impossible to say what would be the truly correct thing to do. I like operating in this uncertain space.
I especially love lengthy discussions with others about how to solve problems. You shoot out ideas and at the same time try to think why the solution fails.
In general, how would you describe Starship’s culture? Or what do you like here the most? Has anything surprised you?
I’d say that Starship has been a very caring and considerate environment. What I like most is that I know that my managers sincerely care about my wellbeing. That I am not just a human resource that needs to be managed, but I know I can trust my colleagues so that I can open up about all kinds of issues and I can expect understanding.
I think Starship aspires to a very healthy work life balance. As one of our engineering managers recently said, there are much more important things than work.
Finally, can you share with us any career tips or pro tips you may have for women wanting to work or develop in the tech sphere?
I think the essential thing is to learn that everyone else is just as clueless as you are. I think literally everyone feels the imposter syndrome when they start out.
It’s quite typical for young boys to start developing their interest in tech early on, because their friends are into similar things and society as a whole encourages them, which is great. When you start out as an adult it may feel that others just have so much more knowledge, but they have learned techy things for so much longer. I think early on it seemed to me that I can’t catch up, but now I know that you absolutely can. Don’t mix up experience with inherent ability!
Another thing that I would recommend is to take on tasks that you have no idea how to solve. And when you get stuck, ask for help, it won’t make you look stupid. It is great if you find someone sympathetic from whom you are not afraid to ask the dumbest questions. They usually aren’t dumb, even if it seems that it’s obvious to everyone but you.