We all have a story to tell, a path we have walked, a life journey we are in. Some of us know where we are at now, but don’t know where we will go next. And this is exciting news because a world of opportunities opens up before our eyes. If you are in the IT industry, you know this much is true. Join us and get to know Ioana’s life journey through IT and what she has learned while traveling the world.
My name is Ioana Niculescu. I work at Globant as a Project Manager in the Romanian TDC.
Romania is a small and beautiful European country. Here we have the tallest wooden church in Europe, the best-preserved delta in Europe, the second largest underground glacier in Europe, the world’s best driving road, the second largest building in the world, the largest population of brown bears in Europe, the world’s first top-scoring Olympic gymnast aaaaaaaand the No. 1 WTA tennis player, Simona Halep.
Did I mention that Dracula lived here in Transylvania and that we have vampires going out at night in search of blood?
The Romanian TDC is currently small (around 110 Globers) but it has a huge potential. Romania is the 6th country in the world regarding the number of certified IT specialists and has been a favored IT outsourcing destination for many, many years. We really know what we are doing and have outstanding IT specialists.
When and how did your professional career started?
I personally started working in the IT industry about 20 years ago while I was also studying computer science at university. My first IT job was a part-time Search Engine Optimization position. It didn’t require many skills, as I didn’t have many, but it was a salary to help me start gaining independence as a young adult. My first IT job was for a small Swiss company with very nice and friendly people. I didn’t know it back then, but that was the moment I entered into a privileged IT bubble that would guarantee me going forward to a great workplace with wonderful, highly intellectual people around me. It is said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I was and still am lucky to spend 8 hours a day with so many smart people. Some helped me grow and I hope I also helped and inspired others.
While I was working on SEO, I would peek at the work by my web designer colleagues and I pretty soon fell in love with web design. Watching them create those beautiful designs day after day was impressive. A different kind of art. I knew I wanted to become a web designer and I started studying to achieve that. I have always loved the beauty in life. Being able to also create it was more than just a job for me. It was my passion, my biggest hobby back then. Something I worked hard to improve throughout the years while doing all in my power to create a positive experience for the people using the websites or applications I made.
It wasn’t easy to get artistic all of a sudden. I studied hundreds of websites and even had a huge collection of menus, banners, buttons and everything. When people see a beautiful design they just smile and enjoy it. I don’t think they realize how much work and practice a beautiful design requires. I still feel web designers are not appreciated enough. Imagine how much effort it would take you to paint a painting so beautiful that people would actually pay for it…
I worked for 8 years as a web designer for three different companies, mostly for Romanian, French and American clients… and loved every second of it!
After 8 years, it was time for me to face my next IT challenge: people.
I was promoted to manage the web design department. My main responsibilities were to oversee people’s daily activities, guide them when needed, resolve conflicts and blockers, determine assignments per project based on availability and skills, and organize internal technical presentations and training sessions, encouraging them to grow.
What advice would you give someone that is starting to work as a manager?
The best advice I can give someone who is working with people is to be empathetic, have common sense and stay positive! Remember that there is always a good side to every bad situation.
Five years later, our Delivery Director asked me “Ioana, why aren’t you managing projects? I think you are capable of doing that, you have the right skills”. I totally loved the idea! I’ve been managing projects ever since, and if you ask me, there’s no other job in the world I would rather be doing. It’s amazing how a simple word can change someone’s life completely.
As a main characteristic of my personality, I love to feel alive. Project Management incorporates creativity, but you also need to be a technical person, a salesperson, a psychologist, an accountant, a teacher, a negotiator and also a businessperson. A whole new world opened up again before my eyes, with so many new things to learn, challenges, obstacles and accomplishments.
What was like starting to work at Globant?
Being acquired by Globant felt like an even bigger door opened. There are so many Studios and so many ways in which we can all grow, switch our position and our focus. There is just one condition: to really want it! You first have to figure out what you want to do —where you get your most joy from. Then you need to dare to say it out loud. And really prove you deserve it.
Being part of Globant also opened a door for endless cultures: we are 16,000 Globers, some with incredible life stories. Being able to work on a team that combines different cultures is indeed challenging in many ways. But I have always been very interested in learning about different cultures. It’s fascinating how we all look the same but be completely different at the same time. It’s amazing how getting to really know a new person is like reading a great book. Getting to know what other people from different cultures think or how they act can have a huge impact on your own existence. It can give you a sense of direction, shape you better, give you a valuable free lesson.
What is the main thing you love about working in IT?
The main thing I love about the IT industry is that it literally has no limits!
You can challenge yourself in so many ways. You always have several options matching your current life goals and personal evolution. You can change your position and grow skills you didn’t even know you were capable of having. All you need is passion and curiosity. The rest will come easy.
What is another passion that you have besides IT?
Our life is like a trip —at work and outside of work. There are multiple possible destinations and multiple roads to get there. Looking back, I was passionate about all my previous jobs and loved each one of them. I enjoy my current PM job very much, too. And to be honest I can’t wait to see what the future brings!
This is where my other passion comes in: TRAVELING.
I have visited many, many countries in 4 continents, and I hope I will travel even more in the years to come! I travel to discover new places, new sites and architecture, but most of all I travel to discover and shape myself by looking at other cultures, interacting with new people, and putting myself in different situations outside of my home comfort zone. I think every country and every city has something unique. I love cultures that are very narrative. I love to get back home a changed person. A better one. I let travel shape me and these are the types of changes that for me will last a lifetime.
What are some things you can share with us that you have learned while traveling?
Here are just a few examples of the things I learned along the way:
Monaco taught me that money doesn’t automatically bring happiness. In fact, having too much of it might even have the opposite effect.
Barcelona taught me it is ok to be different.
New York is such an AMAZING city! I felt so small among those skyscrapers, yet so important and with huge potential. We built those skyscrapers after all, didn’t we? NY taught me we have no limits.
Japan taught me to pay more attention to people. It’s in our power to change someone’s life for the better. And most of the time it doesn’t cost us anything to do good things for others.
In Verona, I learned that love is the most important thing in the world.
Pisa taught me that imperfections are beautiful too. And that we should focus more on progress rather than being disappointed because we never reach perfection.
In Rome, I learned that beauty is really everywhere. You just need to look for it. Turn around!
In Italy, I learned that all our 5 senses are important. Italy is a celebration of TASTE. Their food, sweets and wines are amazing. I just cannot imagine this world without Italy! Pizza, pasta, ice cream, parmigiano, gorgonzola, coffee…
In Patagonia, I learned that the planet Earth is amazing! Its mountains are so beautiful. So strong. Yet we keep destroying everything. In Patagonia (and Austria and Switzerland) I learned to take care of this Earth because there is no planet more beautiful than ours.
Argentina is where my heart is. I never felt more ‘at home’ anywhere else. Here I learned that I will always have problems, but despite them, I can still be very, very happy. And that human interaction is a lot simpler than I thought. We overcomplicate things way too much!
In Bosnia, I learned that war is scary, people really do die, and that there are always better options to get things done than being violent or aggressive to someone.
Belgrade taught me that no matter how low you are at some point in your life, you can always rise up even better than before.
In London, I learned to dare more.
In Prague, I learned that pain is also a normal part of life.
And then there is Romania, of course. I cannot close the list without recommending that you visit Cluj-Napoca, Brasov and Sibiu. I’m so curious to see what lessons you will learn from the Romanian people.
As a closing line: What is some advice you would like to say to people starting their professional career?
One very important thing in life (both personal and work life) is to not just let things happen. It’s in your power to set the course. Make a plan and go for whatever makes you happy. If you are not happy, change something. Work hard and be perseverant. But also remember to stop from time to time to take stock of how far you’ve gone. Applaud your accomplishments and celebrate yourself! And always, always be optimistic and trustful. You only see things in the direction you look. Look for your own kind of happiness. It is a smart choice!
So now take a deep breath and remember all you have accomplished until now. With that in mind, know that you can achieve anything you set your mind to from now on! Are you ready to take a step in the right direction? Join us here https://www.globant.com/careers