Anne Ratzer – the no-nonsense Swiss Army knife of Systematic
When Anne Ratzer was young, she wanted to study psychology, but life took a different turn, and she ended up following a group of friends into studying computer science, where she specialised in human-computer interaction (HCI).
In 2007, Anne joined Systematic, where she has worked on several different projects and held many different roles, for example as a developer, UX designer, process engineer, teacher and tester. Today, she works as a test manager and release manager on Systematic’s Library & Learning solutions.
“As a test manager, I’m responsible for every new feature being properly tested and approved. Being a tester is a fascinating job. It involves messing with the system in every conceivable way. If we can mess something up, so can the users – in this case librarians. Our job is to ensure that they don’t experience any hassles when using our software – even if they happen to press all the wrong buttons. It can be quite a challenge – but it’s a lot of fun,” she says.
Inspiration and role models to get women into software development
On bringing up the topic of women in tech, Anne looks weary.
“I’m a bit tired of the argument that we need women in the IT industry because men and women contribute with different inherent traits. I think every individual regardless of gender has something different to offer, and I’d rather look at the individual than focus narrowly on gender. What’s important is that we must make sure to expand the talent pool for IT jobs to include more women. There are a lot of women out there who would be great at working in IT, and it’s a real shame that so many don’t think that they’re suited to it. We should focus on how to inspire more women and girls to better see themselves in these types of jobs,” she says.
A leader with a healthy disregard for rank and station
Talking to Anne’s colleagues, it becomes clear that she is a well-respected and appreciated member of the team. Jan Reher has worked with Anne for several years, teaching the essential software development process course for new employees to fellow developers at Systematic.
When asked what makes Anne an outstanding colleague, he replies:
“Oh, but I hardly know where to start…” Then he delivers a poignant characterisation of her:
“Anne is largely responsible for knocking the feature-driven development process into a cohesive and working toolbox at Systematic. She is experienced and focused and she does not accept nonsense. She is highly intelligent, and has a healthy disregard for rank and station. Anne is able to correlate and prioritise a large set of incomplete information and unclear ambitions and turn them into clear goals. Anne is a leader, and if I were to pick a team for a particularly important project, Anne would be on it. I don’t know what her role would be, but she would probably tell me,” he says.
The Swiss Army knife of Systematic
Anne’s manager, Maria Stenholdt Christensen, describes her as a human ‘Swiss army knife’:
“Right now, her title is senior systems engineer, and during the last 15 years at Systematic she has excelled in so many different roles, and no matter where you place her, she will bring all her knowledge and skills into play for whatever project she is working on while inspiring and challenging her colleagues to do better each day.”
The list of projects Anne has worked on is impressive; she was a developer on the electronic health record system Columna CIS, she has worked as a UX designer on finance and intelligence projects, she has been involved with improving Systematic’s internal development processes, and she was part of the team that secured Systematic a CMMI Maturity Level 5 appraisal in 2021. Currently, she is using her skills developing library solutions and enjoying the way we work at Systematic:
“The two things, in particular, which made me decide to work for Systematic is the high level of process maturity with a structured, well-tested approach to daily work tasks combined with a strong focus on solving tasks collaboratively, with input from many other perspectives. It is also these two things that keep me here, as Systematic is among the best in the industry in these areas,” says Anne.
When asked for some advice for women considering a career in IT, Anne says: “Find something that inspires you, and use that to guide you. And don’t be afraid of changing direction along the way. This goes for both men and women, and not just for tech and IT. I just think it’s important to remain curious and open to different paths rather than the one laid out in front of you,” she says.
Want to join Anna in software testing?
We are always on the lookout for people similar to Anna who can come to the rescue when it comes to testing and developing solutions in defense, healthcare or Library Learning.