she left Chalmers in 2015, Andjela Kusmuk has, among other things, been
responsible for consulting at the IT company Netlight, developed Amazon's
Nordic gaming venture and given an inspiring TED talk on how computer games can
lead to gender equality in the technology industry. Now she leads a part of the
technical development at the investment company EQT.
always loved technology, whether it was fixing a broken computer or writing
commands for a machine so that it did as I said. There is so much else in the
world that is ruled by emotions and thoughts. So, it’s a nice change to be able
to search for a logical solution and concrete results”, says Andjela Kusmuk.
her studies in Mechanical Engineering at Jönköping University, she continued on to the master's programme
in Production Engineering at Chalmers.
Mechanical Engineering since my study advisor directed me away from Physics and
Computer Engineering. She thought my previous experience in programming
wouldn’t be enough. Today I am very happy that I chose Mechanical Engineering, but
for a long time, I was anxious about my choice and felt great insecurity. I wouldn’t
want any other girl in my position to have that same experience,” she says.
She describes her first lecture at Chalmers as “exciting”. The lecture itself
was given by a younger female professor who talked about how future production
is affected by the ageing population.
incredibly knowledgeable in her subject and engaging as a teacher. A really
strong role model who has inspired me in many ways.”
Shares advice on Youtube
She wants to convey a similar feeling in the new Youtube channel IT-Girls Tech
which she runs with EQT colleague Elin Bäcklund. Together, they alternate
easily accessible "know-how" about machine learning and coding with
more tangible tips, such as how to succeed in a job interview. The channel is
currently aimed towards young Swedish girls.
girls generally do not see technology as something creative or even something
that suits their personality. Therefore, a big change needs to take place to
get them interested and able to see all the possibilities in the industry.”
least ten girls who watch our Youtube channel apply to, for example, Chalmers, then
we would have fulfilled our purpose and set the ball in motion”.
The technology industry itself offers many benefits that could really be
attractive for the female population, she says.
are many young people who dream of becoming an influencer, without realising what
an incredible amount of technology lies behind that type of work. The cameras
you record with, the software required to edit a video. Why not work on
developing that instead? It is creative, well paid and there is never a
shortage of interesting challenges at work.”
equality is not only important to approach a more balanced gender distribution,
but also because it gives better results overall, she says.
from MIT, among others, show that diversified workplaces meet their financial
goals faster and perform better.”
Women can find different solutions
aspect that highlights the need for equality in the industry, according to her, is that women can come up with different
technical solutions than men.
contraceptive Natural Cycles is a brilliant example of this. It was founded by
a woman, Men had probably never thought about the idea that hormones in
contraceptives are bad because they do not use them themselves. This is part
of the reason why the industry is generally better at solving "male"
problems than "female" in business. There are not as many female
entrepreneurs or engineers and those that do exist are analysed under different conditions
than men. Therefore, capital is not distributed equally.”
She lights up when she talks about new companies started by women and other
technological innovations and achievements. She explains why she sees it as her responsibility
to be a role model and inspire others.
women go into technical education, more tech-companies will also be started
by women. These women will, in turn, have sufficiently important positions to
be able to financially pave the way for more women who want to develop their
innovations. It is as simple as that.”
Helped Amazon launch a new venture
Two years ago, she helped Amazon launch its game development venture in
northern Europe. The work consisted of taking care of all startups in The nordic region, meeting company founders and helping them to develop their
business and technology-secure their products. She got to help them with
everything from "go-to-market" strategies to architectural optimisation.
of course a great opportunity for someone as young as me. I was still
relatively new in the industry but got the chance to combine my technical
background with my great interest in gaming and the contacts I built up during
my time as a consultant.”
was cool about Amazon was all the freedom. You got to come up with your own
ideas and brainstorm as much as you wanted. As long as you could show figures
on what you wanted to achieve and how you would get there, you got the
opportunity to kick-start your own initiatives. There was an openness to change
that was very exciting to be a part of, we reorganised at least every six
Works with developing AI
the time at Amazon, Andjela Kusmuk was headhunted by EQT, where she currently
works with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, among other
not be the first thought when you think of investment companies, but I think it
will become increasingly common. My colleague Elin and I lead three technical
teams in a domain together. In short, our work is about training the algorithms
to become better at finding the right choice more easily when it comes to buying
and selling companies.”
That she finally
ended up where she is today is not something she could have predicted. She thinks
that this shows the true value of her education.
strength is that I am good at solving problems regardless of which industry I
work in. That is the mindset you get from Chalmers. Tasks can be solved in many
different ways and you have to test many different solutions until you succeed.
That, combined with a sense of numbers, is probably my favourite trait about
To stop worrying
about choosing the "wrong education" is a piece of advice that
Andjela Kusmuk wants to give young people who are considering a technical
education in the future.
you choose a certain programme now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will
determine your entire future. See it more as a means to achieve your goals.
With a technical education, you can decide for yourself where you direct your
energy. Technology is available in all industries and you can work with
Text: Vedrana Sivac
Master's programme in Production Engineering
Andjela Kusmuks TED-talk about gaming and equality
Andjela Kusmuks Youtube channel IT-Girls Tech (in Swedish)