Meet Weronika, a Data Engineering graduate from the Gdansk University of Technology

Meet Weronika, a Data Engineering graduate from the Gdansk University of Technology

Working at CERN means continuous learning, not just about technologies and physics-related topics but much more. It equates to values like equality, openness, and the full usage of one's potential.

Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to CERN?

Hello, I'm Weronika, a 25-year-old Data Engineering graduate from the Gdańsk University of Technology - one of the best technical universities in Poland. Before joining CERN, I have been working in Poland as a part of the data engineering team at T-mobile.

During my studies, the idea of working for an organization with 17,000 amazing employees and a profound mission to push the frontiers of science had never crossed my mind! Fortunately, it was my best friend who introduced me to the idea of applying to CERN. Though my initial attempt during my bachelor studies for short-term and summer student programs received no response, I remained motivated. This time, I wanted to participate in the Technical Student Programme. Finally, I was not only recruited for two projects, but also successfully chosen to be part of one of the most significant organizations globally. My reaction upon receiving this news was beyond words!

What do you do at CERN?

My entire journey at CERN revolves around data! I began at CERN as a technical student in the Information Technology department in October 2022. Throughout this period, I took charge of evaluating data visualization tools at CERN, their deployment, and implementation of automation processes.

After that, I was recruited into the Business Computing group of the Finance and Administrative Processes department. This time, I joined a data engineering team. My job includes mainly handling the analytics and deployment of complex CERN reports for internal and public usage, and gathering and processing vast volumes of CERN business data.

Apart from this, I am doing so many different things at CERN, including being an official guide of CERN and a member of Women in Technology at CERN, attending technical and soft skills trainings and courses, participating in international conferences to represent CERN, taking part in the mentoring programs, volunteering in events and conferences organized at CERN, being a member of dancing, squash and skiing clubs and trying to promote CERN wherever is possible, like on my LinkedIn profile!

What is working at CERN like for you?

Working at CERN means continuous learning, not just about technologies and physics-related topics but much more. It equates to values like equality, openness, and the full usage of one's potential. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. If you have a valuable idea to offer, there's a place for it here.

In my example - recently I organized on my own a Power BI workshop for my department. I met Microsoft specialists responsible for developing a Power BI tool at a conference in Dublin last year, and I invited them to CERN. They came to get to know more about the Organization but also to share with us a lot of expertise on Power BI - the tool which is broadly used within the Organization. Connecting with specialists who are directly responsible for developing a tool used worldwide was an amazing experience for me!

What have been the main challenges you encountered along the way?

My path at CERN is full of various challenges, each presenting unique obstacles with each new goal.

My initial steps into the CERN journey were shadowed by a concept known as Impostor Syndrome. This feeling, familiar to many people, involves doubting one's worthiness or competence in the face of achievements. It was surprising to realize how many people, even those in higher positions at CERN, have this feeling. Navigating it was a challenge, but I was fortunate to receive a lot of support from people I met at CERN. It became a source of huge amounts of knowledge and mental strength!

Among other challenges, the language barrier and relocating to a new country were also quite difficult. Transitioning into a new work environment demanded an extra effort to communicate effectively and integrate into the work culture. Social events and joining several social clubs at CERN were very supportive in this case.

Each challenge has been instrumental in shaping my growth and fostering resilience. After over a year, every day spent here is invaluable from the perspective of an ever-learner and analytic type of person. I really like taking up challenges, and at this moment, I can confidently say that choosing CERN was one of the bravest decisions I've made yet but also the most enriching period I've experienced so far.

Is there any special place for you at CERN?

CERN, with its expansive campus spanning different locations in France and Switzerland, is truly unique - there is no other place like this in the world.

During my time here, I've found three places particularly dear to me. The first is the data center, where for the first time I had the opportunity to become an official CERN guide. Every CERN employee can undergo training provided by the Organization to become an official guide, allowing them to lead tourists and guests on visits to official CERN locations.

Two others are the CERN dancing club and CERN squash club. CERN offers numerous after-work activities not only for its employees but also for external individuals.

In fact, CERN puts significant emphasis on the well-being of its diverse workforce coming from around the globe. It provides a lot of activities such as sports, dancing, skiing, language, photography or board games clubs and many more. The Organization truly creates an environment where employees don't feel alone.

What advice would you give potential applicants?

  • Firstly, recognize that CERN isn't reserved only for physicists. This Organization of around 3,000 staff and another 14,000 employed by affiliated universities and institutes, is like a small, independent country. It needs the expertise of specialists across various domains necessary for its existence and success.
  • Being interested in the technologies utilized at CERN is crucial. Conduct extensive research - there's an abundance of papers, blogs, and articles available detailing the groundbreaking work being conducted within the Organization.
  • Networking plays a pivotal role. Connect with current or past CERN employees on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, or through CERN's official websites. Even during a visit to CERN, making connections can provide valuable insights and opportunities.
  • Understanding the nuances of the recruitment process for different contracts is essential. Each type of contract has its own set of expectations, requirements, and rules.
  • Believing in your capabilities is super important. Receiving a rejection initially shouldn't deter you. At CERN, you have to apply for each job offer separately. Even if you have already submitted an application in the past, it will not be visible in another offer. Keep faith in yourself and persist. Sometimes, the right opportunity at CERN may appear in subsequent attempts.
  • But last and the most important part - remember, when those feelings of Impostor Syndrome creep in, push them aside and believe in your worth. (Let the one who has never felt the Impostor Syndrome and ALWAYS believed in her/his abilities raise a hand!).

We all come into this world with our unique potential - the crucial part is uncovering it and confidently carrying it through our life's journey! Maybe the right place for you to use it is CERN! 

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