House-building dream paved the way for career as IT architect
As a child, she drew houses on everything – from drawing blocks and paper pads to even the walls. She also loved mathematics, which made much more sense to her than poems.
Now 29, the IT architect Catalina Dobre knew from an early age that she wanted to be an architect and design beautiful houses. It was only later she found out that IT rather than buildings was going to feature on her CV.
“There is a lot in common between being an architect who designs houses and an architect who works with IT. That dawned on me at upper secondary school, where I combined mathematics and computer science. Basically, both involve having a good plan, building a solid framework – and then building on that,” says Catalina Dobre.
Her fascination with computers and their incredible potential persuaded her to switch track. However, she still often uses the building analogy with walls, floors and roof to explain what she does as an IT architect.
I make a difference for other people
Several years have passed since Catalina Dobre completed her Master’s degree in Computer Science, and since 2017 she has worked as a developer and then as an IT architect at Systematic in Romania. Each day, she is involved in further developing Systematic’s defence software SitaWare, which provides a situational overview and makes it possible for different units to communicate with one another. The software has been developed to minimise destruction and protect civilians and soldiers. It is a powerful tool that is used by armed forces worldwide, both in conflicts but also when conducting relief work in connection with natural disasters and pandemics.
“It’s important for me to hear from those with real hands-on experience. A colleague and former soldier told me, for example, about their own experiences from the field, where there is a real risk that your fellow soldiers end up shooting one another if they’re unable to see where everyone is and form a clear overview. Using SitaWare, soldiers can see where their friends and the enemy are, so it means a lot that the software that I’m working on helps to save lives at the end of the day. It might sound a bit clichéd, but our software does make a difference – and do I, and that’s important for me,” says Catalina Dobre.
Puts herself in other people’s shoes
Perhaps that is why project manager Stefanut Sorin Teleu highlights Catalina’s ability to see things from other people’s point of view – even under pressure.
Catalina’s dedication to her job is obvious to everyone. Her colleagues describe her as being ambitious, loyal and focused.
When René Balle Jensen, senior program manager, talks about the areas in which Catalina excels, he says: “When a team gets stuck into the difficult task of scoping a new feature and balancing scope, limitations, time and budget, Catalina comes to the rescue. On numerous occasions, she has demonstrated her ability to dive deep into specific features and help define the right conditions.”
“When a team get stuck in the difficult task of scoping a new feature and balance scope, limitations, time and budget she comes to the rescue. Numerous times she has demonstrated her ability to deep dive into specific features and help setting the right conditions.”
Have faith in yourself
Over the years, Catalina Dobre has learned to trust herself and her competencies as an IT architect. It is very satisfying for her to identify and suggest improvements which are then implemented and make the software even better.
Since her first day at university, she has been surrounded by men. She looks forward to a time when more women will apply to study IT. There are attractive jobs to be had, and she also finds that a good gender balance generally leads to better results.
“Men and women have different fortes, and different ways of tackling the tasks. Often, women are good at the details, which are extremely important in IT development, while men are better at maintaining an overview. We complement each other well, and that produces better solutions,” says Catalina Dobre.
She is conscious of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and her advice to other young women is clear: “Follow your dreams. Don’t heed anyone who tells you that it’s not for you, because you’re a woman. And don’t accept that IT is a man’s world,” says Catalina Dobre.
Personally, she highlights her own workplace as somewhere which is good at accommodating a wide range of competencies and many different approaches to the work.
Away from the office, she still loves drawing. Houses do not feature to the same extent as they used to, but she still finds giving space to her creativity very satisfying.
Name: Catalina Dobre
Position at Systematic: Senior Architect
Educational background: Master's Degree in Computer Science
- Systematic: 2017 - joined Systematic as Developer (Defense);
- 2019 - Software Architect (Sitaware Headquarters);
- 2020 - Program Architect (Sitaware Headquarters);
- 2022 - Senior Architect (same project)
Want to join Catalina as an architect?
We are always on the lookout for people similar to Catalina who can come to the rescue when it comes to scoping features and balancing limitations in the product development.
See all our vacancies for architects and software engineers here