Zdenka Dudová is one of the few women at ICS working as an IT analyst at the IT Infrastructure Division. Thanks to her expertise in Life Sciences, she focuses primarily on understanding problems and offering effective solutions for the needs of our research partners. And among other things, she is looking forward to her fourth child soon. She shared with us also how ICS meets her (not only) during parenthood.
Zdenka, you work for us as an IT analyst. What is all hidden under this position?
My work itself is not easy to define. Still, I usually say that I have a scope from the analysis of the problem through the current analysis of the needs of research partners to the analysis of the development of their needs. This includes proposing solutions and consulting possible solutions with our experts. In addition, I often take on the role of a project manager who monitors deadlines and tasks from the backlog, which should be pulled out when it's time for them and "they fit in the shop," or you need to move forward in team tasks. Finally, I enjoy having an overview of the project from start to finish, from detail to the visionary "big picture".
You initially studied biology and biochemistry at the Faculty of Science. How did you get into these fields, and how did you develop the connection with the IT sphere?
I studied molecular biology and genetics. I have a doctorate in proteomics and genomics. It is pretty useful for my work at the interface of IT and research in Life Sciences. I have quite a long experience in the laboratory and basic research, so when I talk to scientists about their work, I can imagine quite well how they see the IT infrastructure and what needs to be explained to them to understand what they need :)
"I enjoy having an overview of the project from start to finish, from detail to the visionary "big picture"."
I started studying biology and biochemistry because my boyfriend at that time went there, and I could handle biology and chemistry at the gymnasium without much learning. I initially saw myself in the fields of management or marketing. The connection between IT and my original field did not occur to me at all. It all happened in a short time before completing my doctorate when I decided to go to the office to do project support to be more at home with the children. I received a tip from Aleš Křenek that he is looking for someone from Life Sciences research to communicate the possibilities of the parties to IT researchers and, conversely, to interpret user ideas and needs to IT experts.
How long have you been working at the institute? What was attracting you when you decided to apply for a job with us?
I will be at ICS in September for five years, which happened so fast! I was thrilled by the offer because I had to communicate with international partners and MU researchers, learn a hitherto unknown field of information technology (focused on IT infrastructures) and most importantly it was a total change for me - away from the lab and basic research to industry trends. Moreover, I love challenges and discovering new topics, so I didn't have to make decisions for too long.
I sucked in new information like a sponge. Things I did not understand easily, I naturally fell behind, so I gradually settled into a position in the team, which suits me very well. Thanks to my colleague Martin Kuba, I had a bachelor's preparation in computer science in 3 months! And everyone at ICS has always been helpful and patient with me (for example, networkers or cloud-workers) when I learned how to define the requirement for us to understand each other.
A big topic for employers is work and parenthood balance. How did the ICS meet your needs?
From the beginning, I experienced very helpful behavior. I was able to finish my dissertation defense, and I was given enough space to learn new things. I have flexible working hours at ICS, so it's not a problem to combine family and work. I'm pleased about that because the number of children is increasing :) I tend to work overtime, so it took me five years to find a reasonable level of work to leave energy for the family. At home, on the contrary, my husband is on parental leave, and I enjoy full working hours. But not forget to answer the question, the ICS helped me in the form of work arrangements from home or freedom in terms of performing my tasks.
Women in IT are generally in the minority, and there are even fewer in research and science positions. How do you perceive this role at ICS?
It's pleasant to be one of the few women among so many men. It has several advantages, such as diplomatic negotiations on whether our research partners need what they think is necessary for them. Or, conversely, convincing colleagues from ICS about the need for a more complex solution because it will undoubtedly serve longer than during the project. There I feel strong, and I think my biological gender helps a lot. I believe that women do not have such a strong need to rush forward, so they can back down their views in favor of reaching an agreement. It worked for me to listen, analyze the situation on both sides, and suggest something - not to order. An open discussion usually takes me further. I have never felt a disadvantage on the part of ICS or colleagues, I work in a team, so I am not alone in anything. And if I don't understand something, someone from the team always helps me.
„I have never felt a disadvantage on the part of ICS or colleagues, I work in a team, so I am not alone in anything. And if I don't understand something, someone from the team always helps me.“
What awaits you now - work and non-work - in the future??
At the moment, I'm getting ready (again) for maternity leave, so I'm catching up on writing articles. I'm teaching colleagues what I'm doing on projects so that I can be out for a few months. It's tough for me not to rush into new things, but people around me keep telling me that I don't have to take much, so I'm listening to them, and I'm pretty happy with the work-life balance I've found now. The immediate goal is to maintain this balance and, as far as possible, to remain active at the international level.
Zdenka, what do you enjoy in life besides working for ICS?
Oh, that's a difficult question. I can't do much other than work and household with a family. I had a lot of hobbies, at the moment it's probably sleeping! I like wanders, still, sometimes I manage to do it over the summer with family, but otherwise, I will ask you, Filip, to ask me this question in about five years :)