Simona Achim

I first saw a computer when I was 12 years old, 7th grade in Romania.

I had been off sick the week before and missed the lessons on math functions so I had a hard time understanding how they were working. Our math teacher brought a computer in school which rendered the linear function f(x)=y on the screen, and boom! I got it! I was mesmerized by the machine and immediately promised to myself this is the job I am going to have when I grow up: a computer programmer. Nine years later I was celebrating with my family graduating the Computers Faculty at Babes-Blolyiai University Cluj, Romania, delivering the promise to the 12 years old myself.

I worked for various companies in my University town. My learning path had not ended there, I was the last generation graduating from university with an outdated program so my preparation was far from ideal when I graduated. I continued learning from my colleagues, books, whatever I could find in those times when Internet was not already that rich in content. In fact this is still my favourite thing about this job: it forces you to keep learning.

I started as an IT contractor in Romania working for an outsourcing company and then decided to move to UK primarily because at the time the town where I was living the number of technologies that you could work in was limited. I can say I have moved to London 10 years ago out of love for technology!

I am now working in IT banking, I have been for the last 8 years an employee of Credit Suisse but worked in multiple projects and business areas. I have worked in IT all my life, except for the one year I took off when I had my twin boys 8 years ago. This was a huge change for me and I was very lucky my team and company had supported me in the very first years on this completely new, scary and beautiful experience which was to suddenly be a mom of two kids.

After more than 12 years of developing using exclusively Microsoft technologies, another challenge came my way, I moved into an area where everything was new: low latency real-time pricing and trading Java applications running on Linux machines. I am currently the team leader of the backend services team for pricing and trading of a new application which is meant to replace and enhance multiple legacy applications. I am also an Agile coach, this being one of my long-term “pet-interests” related to technology.

I recognize the importance of deciding so early what will be my career so I am a big supporter of making a case for technology in the schools as early as possible. I am an active member of Credit Suisse IT Women Champions organization and Tech Girl organizations from London and Romania.