From Belarus to Silicon Valley

Anna Vasilko

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I grew up in a village in Belarus and was not exposed to anything high tech or engineering, but was good at school and math in particular.

Our village school was pretty conservative. For example, we had a mandatory class where boys had to work with tools and build something cool, and girls had to knit, which I personally found useless and unfair.

I didn’t have a future career in mind as a child, all I knew was that I wanted to be a financially independent woman and a professional. The image of a businesswoman was super appealing to me and it made me work harder during school. My success in math helped me get into one of the best technical universities in Minsk on a full ride.

I studied manufacturing engineering but later picked up computer science on my own, as it seemed like a more appealing domain to be in. I recently moved from Belarus to Silicon Valley a few years ago and have gone through the path of “test engineer -> software engineer -> engineering manager”.

I love technology and the startup vibe of Silicon Valley, and see myself as a tech entrepreneur in the future. One thing I have realized over time as my career is progressed, is that I have to force myself to be more bold and vocal about what I want. Just hard work is not enough. We should not be shy about asking for a promotion, career move,  or advice from an expert. It is often just one question which separates you from a more successful version of yourself. I hope to have a positive impact on the younger generation, especially girls. I would love more girls to join the tech domain and have the same wonderful work and life experience as me while helping shape the future of technology.


InterviewsNitasha Syed