Hi Katerina, tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to CERN?
I'm originally from Albania but I grew up and studied in Greece. I arrived in Geneva about 6 years ago after being selected, much to my surprise, for a studentship. Much to my surprise firstly because at the time I didn't know that CERN had opportunities for students and secondly, well, because it's CERN. Also since my undergraduate studies were rather multidisciplinary and touched upon both computing and business administration I thought that a generalist like myself would have little to contribute to a high-energy physics laboratory.
Almost 6 years later I can now disprove my past self and simply hope that I have played my infinitesimal yet valuable part in the Organization's operations.
What is your personal experience with CERN?
For the best part of my first 5 years at CERN, I worked in the Talent Acquisition group where I was very generously offered the opportunity to undertake various activities and harness my diverse skillset to my heart's content. From coordinating a junior recruitment programme to analysing recruitment processes to automate some of the most routine-based tasks to finally redesigning the recently launched careers' website.
It was during the latter that I decided that I wanted to further my studies and pursue a Master's degree in this domain. After extensive research, I discovered the programme of Digital Media Design from the University of Edinburgh. What made this programme particularly appealing to me, apart from the curriculum's very hands-on approach to design topics and the university's excellent reputation, was the fact that it was offered on an entirely online basis alongside the standard on-campus one.
So I took a leap of faith, decided to apply and was offered a position. The programme entirely lived up to my expectations and after an entire year of watching lectures online, working my afternoons, weekends and holidays for the different requirements of the programme I can once again refer to my past self, but this time to thank her.
Did you meet any challenges along the way?
Studying while working at the same time is not for the faint of heart. It took a tremendous amount of self-discipline and time management to see this through. To make matters worse I was also going through a job transition, with everything that usually involves, while studying at the same time.
It's not something I would recommend to anyone wanting to maintain any level of social life and I publicly apologise to all my friends that I've neglected over the past year :-)
What do you do at CERN today?
Today I work as a Business Analyst in the Business Computing group that supports the information systems for CERN's administrative sector.
What advice would you give potential applicants?
CERN has opportunities for almost everyone. In fact, it's harder to think of professions that CERN doesn't hire for than the other way around. Applying for a job at CERN might feel too ambitious and rightly so. CERN is a remarkable place and a testament to what can be achieved when different countries and their people decide to collaborate towards a common goal. But then again most people I've met who work here, myself included, never would have imagined they would be walking its corridors, much less be pouring their creativity, ideas and competencies on a daily basis contributing towards CERN's purpose.
Best put in the words of another alumnus from the University of Edinburgh about a hundred years ago, Alexander Graham Bell 'The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action'.
So quite simply: apply!
Are you inspired by Katerina's journey? Take part and apply now for CERN's student, graduate or professional opportunities! https://careers-at-cern.web.cern.ch