Woman in tech of the month: Elitsa Argirova
Women in Tech of the month is our series exploring the achievements of women who are breaking gender stereotypes to build technology-based careers. This month, we’re celebrating Elitsa Argirova, our recent web development course winner and a Data Analyst at PA. In our interview, Elitsa discusses her experience on the PA Web Development course, shares her story about her journey into tech, and encourages other young women who want to make a career move into tech.
How did you come across the Web Development course and how was your experience?
I have a keen focus on self-development, learning, and expanding my knowledge. For me, learning more about web development was an additional skill that I felt would complement my knowledge. When I started at PA in September 2022, I was fortunate that my buddy was an instructor on the course and encouraged me to join.
I really enjoyed participating. It was organised in a clever way. As a total beginner in web development, I appreciated being able to start from scratch and found the taught lessons clear and easy to follow. As my skills increased towards the end of the course, I was able to build on the foundations I had been taught and focus on the final project. We were allowed to pick our own final project, an idea which I loved. I had a lot of fun experimenting and developing a project that represented me.
Throughout the course I received a lot of support from the instructors and appreciate how much time they devoted to us. They would jump on a call with me whenever I needed support. I would recommend the course to anyone. I’m still using what I learned on the course now as I develop a website for my mum’s yoga studio.
What was your final project?
I wanted to represent two distinct styles of websites, so I did! The first style was a photo blog format design. I love photography – as a visual person, I believe that a picture speaks a thousand words. I was engaged by the user experience design element of the course and created a website that felt like a magazine, displaying my favourite photographs.
I also wanted to represent and document the beauty of my country, Bulgaria. I was able to do this by developing an informative website. I took inspiration from the National Geographic website, and I was able to include stories, celebrations, and folklore that represents different elements of Bulgaria.
What is your current role?
I’m currently a Data Analyst at PA, and my role includes cleaning data and creating dashboards to display it to the end user in a succinct, useable way. This encourages businesses to understand their data better and enables them to make data driven decisions.
I first became interested in data when I was working for the conservation centre at Bristol Zoo Gardens. We were provided with a lot of data, and it was exciting to connect the dots. For example, we were supplied data on tree and primate species. Working with the data set, we learnt which species preferred different trees. Then, we could create the most appropriate reforestation plan, planting trees in an optimal way. Working in Bristol Zoo gardens emphasised the importance of data and how it can influence decisions. It helped me see the practical results of analysing data too, which was inspiring.
What advice do you have for other women wanting to get into tech?
Just go for it! As women I find that we can be intimidated by not having the ‘right’ degree. But we shouldn’t be. Thinking in a unique way from not having a Computer Science degree may play to your advantage eventually.
I would also recommend that you find what motivates you – your end goal. Everything is challenging at the beginning, so you’ll need to be dedicated. I remember when I was completing the Code First Girls Data Science degree during the day, whilst working nights as a customer advisor. I was looking forward to being able to work and combine all my passions, sustainability, biological sciences, and data. It was what pulled me through when times were hard.