"Working at CERN means growing, both professionally and personally": meet Raluca, software development engineer

CERN represents the ideal organization where I knew I could learn and flourish.

Hi Raluca, tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to CERN
My name is Raluca Cruceru, I am 23 years old and originally from Romania. I studied Computer Science – Human Computer Interaction at The University of Manchester in The United Kingdom. Passionate about science and technology, it is needless to say that CERN represents the ideal organization where I knew I could learn and flourish. Another reason that made me decide to hit that apply button was the chance to work in an international and multi-cultural environment. Is amazing to know that professionals from a variety of countries, with diverse backgrounds, collaborate in the best way, all with the common goal of pushing the limits of science and technology.

What do you do at CERN today?
I am a fellow in the ALICE Experiment at CERN, working as a Software Development Engineer. My responsibilities are focused on technologies for organized distributed data analysis. These are dedicated to accessing and analysis of the physics data produced by ALICE, in the most efficient way, making optimal use of the CERN GRID resources. I am proud to be part of this great team, collaborating with individuals sharing the same passion and goals.

What is working at CERN like for you?
As far as I’m concerned, working at CERN means growing, both professionally and personally. On one hand, I get the chance to work on a complex project within a team of professionals who guide me and support me. I am learning every day, and with each task I am assigned to, there is another challenge that brings me experience and improves my software engineering skills. On the other hand, simply being able to communicate with scientist and engineers from around the world is a dream come true. It is always a beautiful journey to make friends with inspiring people and discover ideas from different perspectives. I am learning a lot about science and technology, but I am also getting insights about people and life in general.

What have been the main hurdles or challenges you encountered along the way?
I think the biggest challenge for me initially was realizing that I deserve the position I was offered. It was unbelievable to know I was accepted in such a great experiment as ALICE at CERN and I was nervous, thinking I would not meet the expectations. However, once I started working in my team, I was offered such a warm welcome, followed by constant support. This helped me overcome my worries and I am glad to be surrounded by amazing colleagues and work on a project that gives me a great sense of purpose.

What advice would you give potential applicants?
I met a lot of people who hesitated to apply because they think that there is no chance for them to be accepted. To those I say, just do it! I did not feel 100% confident myself when I was completing my application, but here I am, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else at this time. Another thing I noticed is that there is general belief that CERN is a place only for physicists, and this is not the case. While our organization has great opportunities for physicists, one would discover that engineers from all areas or professionals from domains such as administration are also welcome. Dedicate time and effort to the application and be honest with your motivation to work and CERN, and maybe we’ll meet on our Organization’s site one day!

If Raluca's story has inspired you to take part, don't hesitate! check out our Fellowship opportunities for graduates and apply now!