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Meet Ligia: Project Manager, Product Owner, and an Active Community Member

Ligia Corduneanu has a broad background in academic and market research. A few years ago, she discovered her passion for business analysis and decided to make a career change. She started from scratch, but her ambition, motivation, and desire to learn led her to a rapid career growth.

Get a glimpse #BehindTheCode, in this special audio edition dedicated to International Women’s Day and get inspired by Ligia’s story.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose the IT industry?

I was born and raised in Iasi. My background is in social sciences: I have a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in European Studies. So, there was nothing related to technology at that point. I worked in market research for a couple of years, thus being exposed to other fields.

In 2018, I decided to move to Cluj-Napoca. I was curious about the IT industry and eager to discover its professional opportunities. I browsed various sources of information, and, besides the technical roles, I found out about the Business Analyst (BA) role. During college, I was focused on academic research – I attended conferences and wrote articles, being good at translating the essence of a subject in a concise way. That’s why the description of the BA role sounded very attractive to me.

I attended a Business Analysis course and started applying for jobs. At that moment, I’ve had two job offers: on the one hand, an experienced role at a non-IT company with a good salary, and on the other hand – an internship opportunity at an IT company. I’ve chosen the IT company, embracing the risk associated with this decision, as I needed to pay rent and all the bills. But I’ve never regretted the decision. After this internship, I was promoted as an Associate Product Owner and made the most out of this role.

How did you join Fortech?

As I previously mentioned, I worked as a Product Owner at a product IT company in Cluj. After working for a year and a half on a product, I felt the need to grow and have access to more information. I wanted to be exposed to more technologies, business areas, clients, stakeholders, and project teams. That’s how I decided to change my job. Of course, it was a hard decision, but I managed to close my activity and started to look for job opportunities on LinkedIn.

I had interviews with around four companies, including Fortech. I liked the recruitment and selection process here, starting from the HR Interview. That professional discussion offered me all the details I needed to know about the company, collaboration types, and open vacancies. After the technical interview, I was informed that they decided to hire another candidate for the role I applied for. But they proposed me a Product Owner role on another project. I highly appreciated this flexibility and that they offered me another job opportunity.

How did your career evolve at Fortech?

I joined Fortech as a Product Owner, but I was also involved in business analysis and team leading. I really enjoy working alongside a dedicated and motivated team.

This year, starting January 1st, I moved to a Project Management (PM) role. The transition was smooth, as I discussed it with my direct manager last summer. He saw my potential and proposed me this career opportunity. After a detailed discussion on the subject, I accepted the offer when I knew exactly what this role meant and what it meant in Fortech. We’ve set this objective and made a detailed development plan as part of our iGrow discussions.

As a Project Manager, I am more focused on team leading and organizational strategy. I think that the interaction with the team is a little different from this role, as besides product, business, and delivery, I am also responsible for the team’s wellbeing. Additionally, a new thing for me is resource management – offering your team the things they need to maintain team satisfaction and motivation.

Ligia and Alex during recording of the podcast.

What software project are you working on? What’s your favorite thing about it?

At this moment, I am waiting for a new project to begin. But the project I’ve previously worked on is a Cloud-Based Assembly Management System from the manufacturing industry. It allows optimizing costs of complex assemblies across all processes and the entire lifetime. This cloud-based application helps users compare prices for every key step involved in the product’s creation, assembly, and transportation. For the tech stack, we use .NET and Angular JS.

As you can figure out, this project uses a lot of algorithms and calculus. It was a challenge for me, as I’m definitely not a math person 😊 However, it was a great experience working on it, as the project team is wonderful. For me, the team will always be my favorite thing on a project.

Tell us something you like most about your team. What makes it different from other teams?

My team is great. Even if the project was demanding, my colleagues were committed and always eager to help one another when the deadlines were tight. I must confess I had a strong bond with them from my very first days here. It’s known that sometimes a Business Analyst or Product Owner is seen as the client’s ally, as they represent the client’s needs. But my colleagues saw that I was here to help them. We’ve always found a common language and constantly helped each other. That’s what makes them special.

Besides your daily responsibilities, in what other activities are you involved in Fortech?

I’m a member of Fortech’s Business Analysis and Project Management Communities. The BA community was recently rebuilt, and I was in charge of preparing an onboarding document for a new Business Analyst or Product Owner. The target was to help colleagues from the company who will transition in one of these roles or someone outside Fortech who wants to make a professional reconversion. As I was in their shoes, I enjoyed this task and was highly motivated to prepare a useful guide.

In the PM community, I was involved in the definition of the project management processes within the organization. I’m currently preparing for my first presentation at the community’s next meetup.

Besides community involvement, I like to organize team going outs and other team activities.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m passionate about photography, even if I don’t practice it as frequently as I would want to. I like to write, but lately it is mostly job-related. I also enjoy sketching; I’m currently working on a personal project of a satirical sketch.

Recently, I’ve registered for a volunteering project at the “Ajungem Mari” NGO. It was an old desire of mine to join this cause, but I felt the right time came last year. Make sure you consider both the time investment and the emotional commitment before joining a volunteering project.

The “Ajungem” Mari program supports the education of children from foster care centers and disadvantaged environments. Through volunteering and professional orientation projects, creative workshops, and social-recreational activities, the program seeks to build the children’s trust in themselves and develop the abilities they need to become responsible and independent adults. I’m currently attending some training programs for volunteers, and I’m looking forward to the allocation to meeting the person I will work with. “Ajungem Mari” is doing an incredible job. The core organizing team counts only a few members, who take care of thousands of volunteers. If you want to give a helping hand, here‘s how you get involved by donating or registering as a volunteer.

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