Iulia Feroli: “You are open to women, but do you make them feel comfortable?”
She grew up in Romania, but she saw opportunities in The Netherlands. She went for it. Iulia Feroli is only in her twenties, but she already received an award nomination for Young Technologist at the Technology Playmakers Awards.
Iulia was still young when she started getting into tech. “In Romania in middle school we’re taught how to do programming. Maths was one of my favorite subjects, but learning programming was so much more fun. There is so much of that Western world ideal in Romania: my favorite books are in English, the internet is in English and that just seemed so much cooler. I moved to The Netherlands because there were great opportunities for me there.”
Iulia has lived in The Netherlands for 3,5 years now. First she did her master in Data Science and Knowledge Engineering in Maastricht, and then she moved to Amsterdam to continue a master in Data Science. Her study is a part time thing, so she can focus on her full time internship at Microsoft. “It’s a busy life. Last month I was also teaching. I taught linear algebra to bachelor students at university. That was a bit overwhelming though, so I stopped.”
If it’s up to Iulia, she would do tech 24/7. “That is why I love it so much: there is so much tech in this world. I love new things and I feel that programming is a cooler version of Maths. You do it with a computer, you have a solution for all these problems. Data science offers even more: there are statistics coming into play and machine learning. You teach a computer to solve its own problems. I love using tech for good things: the world changes because of it. You really see more companies getting into machine learning.”
Iulia also is an inspirational speaker at conferences. “It is so awesome standing in front of all these young women, telling them what inspires me. I hope to inspire them. You start off with little steps and before you know it, you made a big change. First I was so nervous, I am not that good in big crowds of people. But, sometimes you have to push yourself out of that comfort zone and I am so happy I did. As soon as you do, all your fear goes away.
Iulia loves to meet women in tech at the conferences she visits. “I do not really have any idols. I am very active on LinkedIn and there I often see interesting stories. For example the ceo of Microsoft did a speech and that made me want to work for Microsoft. I also think it is important for companies to be inclusive. You can advertise so much about how you are open to women, but do you make sure they’re comfortable once they are there?
Iulia thinks women in tech are important, but she mainly is an ambassador for data and artificial intelligence. “Anyone should be able to use it. There is just so much potential there to help companies. It should also be a standard thing in schools. If you just know the basics, it is so much easier to use. I really want young girls to know that, that’s why I’d love to do workshops in school. Everybody can benefit from technology.”