From Tester to Development Team Leader role. Meet Pavla Kučerová!

Joining EmbedIT in 2014 as a tester, Pavla, thanks to EmbedIT’s support, she ventured into new roles including DevOps and Application support. She gradually worked her way up to the position of Development/Functional Team Manager, where five colleagues work under her supervision. Her work with people and her ability to connect different aspects of the work process have led her to take on ever greater challenges. It is our pleasure to introduce you to our Development Team Leader at EmbedIT Brno — Pavla Kučerová!

Pavla, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your experience with EmbedIT and in the IT world. Could you also share with us what motivated you to enter this area of computers, software development, and programming?

Thank you for having me! Well, back in the grammar school during IT lessons I noticed that I might be a bit talented in this direction — compared to other girls obviously, the boys were crushing it just naturally. When the graduation year came and I had to decide, I thought — what the heck, give it a try. I applied for Computer graphics program at Masaryk University and I got in. Later I switched to Applied informatics and then I dropped before graduation.

EmbedIT was (and still is) my first job. There were many times when I failed and I kept thinking that this was a bad idea, that I am not cut out for it, that maybe I would be better off in other sector. And yet here I am, 10 years later, being a manager. Never saw that coming.

You have switched between a few roles from software tester, release leader, application support specialist, to your current role of a team leader. Which one of these roles gave you the most and which one do you personally enjoy the most?

You never forget your first job, right? I think that deep down in my heart I will always be a tester, even though it’s probably the lowest job position possible around here. There is just that pure joy when you find a bug (not so joyous for a developer though). Each role was different and challenged me in many ways. Being a release leader was far away from “just” a tester. It was also a big opener for the EmbedIT world — I suddenly got to know the whole department (and beyond), I coordinated a lot of people. It was like being a delivery manager for the development part, often combined with a deployer and mini baby DBA. Lots of bossing around without any actual subordinates so to say.

Then my fellow colleagues from other department suggested me to be a replacement for leaving Application Support Specialist Team Leader. I absolutely did not think I could pull it off but in the end I did. First team leading experience, completely new domain, more technical work. This one was probably the most challenging. I think that I combine all that I learned in my previous position within my current one — Functional Team Manager.

I do what is necessary to be done — testing, DevOps, product management, analysis, deployments, coordination. But in the end, it’s not that important what you do — it’s who you do it with. And I have a family of 5 amazing guys, great tribe of people around and pretty nice department we all work together in.

Can you share with our readers where you learn more about current trends and news in such a dynamic area as IT? What sources do you typically use?

Staying up to date is very handy for developers and people in technical positions. But of course, it’s nice when even managers don’t stay behind. I like EmbedIT ITea & breakfast sessions or updates on our bi-weekly Open Mic meetings. I’m rather doer than a dreamer, if you know what I mean. We have people with vision, technical leaders and architects, I focus on the job in front of us and I learn on the way.

You now have five colleagues in your team. What were the most valuable lessons you learned as a leader? Do you follow any special routines or processes to keep your team effective, motivated, and engaged?

It’s necessary to constantly grow as a manager. You need to nurture your people, take time to listen, prepare for your regular 1–2–1 meetings and most importantly — give feedback and be prepared to receive one in return. Leave emotions behind the door.

Last year I tried to improve the 1–2–1 sessions and based on the comments from guys it seems to be successful. I try to be positive and motivating. We keep track of the topics discussed and return to them until they are fully finished, which helps with the effectiveness as well. I think the team is so strong thanks to our tight relationship, that’s what keeps us going, improving and engaged.

You’ve been with EmbedIT for 10 years now. First of all, congratulations on such a significant milestone. Did you celebrate it with your team?

Thank you! Not yet actually, my unofficial anniversary is in February and official one in May. Almost all guys in our team are either already over 10 years old or very close. I think we need to spend some team building budget and celebrate properly!

What is it that you value the most about being part of the EmbedIT family?

I think that everybody in the company will tell you without thinking twice that the reason why they’re content is the people. Not money, not benefits — the people. Even though this is a job, it feels like a family.

As such a successful and respected woman in IT, what message would you convey to other women hesitating to join the IT world?

Don’t be afraid and try. If you are willing to learn there is nothing that can stop you from achieving a good career in IT. You don’t need a degree in Informatics. You just need to believe in yourself and be willing to change and evolve.

What message would you like to convey to potential new colleagues considering joining EmbedIT?

EmbedIT started small and outgrew very quickly. Even though the first years were marked by adjustment and realization that we became a big company, I believe that now we settled. We are ready to operate in the big world which means a lot of diverse opportunities and technologies. Company really tries to improve the life of employees during the last few years, improving the benefits packages or the offices. Although there were many setbacks in the past (and it’s fair to admit it), I think we are on a good way now. If you search for opportunity, self-development and a bunch of great people to work with, EmbedIT is the one to go for.