Sofia Ponte, Head of Quality Chapter

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Early years and where you came from?

I like to think that my early years were not that long haha but, in 2005 I came to Lisbon to study Electronics Engineering from Azores and turned Lisbon into my place to call home. I was a super active kid/teenage (and still am), practicing all kinds of sports (literally!) special if it involves the ocean and waves.

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

I was first introduced to the tech industry in my first job at Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) as a Hardware Developer. I was part of the Optical Networks business unit part of the team that was designing and testing the amplification of the optical fiber signal to be transported through Network Elements from, for example, Lisbon to Madrid. Super excited at the time because I had a huge “hunger” for technology, in particular how the hardware was able to do such amazing things at that time. Nokia 3310 phones were a success at the moment.

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

So, I started as a Hardware Developer at NSN. After 3 years I realized that being at the lab all the time testing circuits was not for me, I wanted more! Haha
I needed to understand how the planning of a project was done, how business requirements were defined, how the organization of activities was done… and I did a self retrospective and considered my personality, find signals from my past to help me figure out what I should be doing. I had an opportunity to join a quality function, and from there a whole new world has opened to me. I started managing the quality of a program with hardware and software, then another one and another one, and the “wow” realization that my passion for management was clearly identified. Soon I started my prep for the PMP certification, I had the opportunity to join an IT consultant company and traveled the world delivering and managing projects and today I am at OutSystems defining and leading the Quality department of Professional Services and taking an MBA to scale my career goals. It ended up a natural professional path in the IT world.

What part of what you do, you love the most?

Making things happening! Ask anyone who knows me, I have the energy to give and sell to make things possible to happen and preferably in an automated way.
Helping teams and the organization to grow and be part of that growth to scale fast and in an “automated” way.
It’s amazing this feeling.

How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

I see all my work experience as an investment in myself. Having the opportunity to work in international environments has opened a lot of doors, even for myself, and do personal development.
I also invest in studies: Degree and Masters in Electronic Engineering, then an Executive Masters in Program and Project Management, PMP certification, now an Executive MBA.
All this combined has brought me where I am today and I believe that has an impact on the way I work.

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

Today the options are endless. And we can try before doing investments. Just do it, it doesn’t matter where you start, has long you keep resilient and keep trying. If the first one does not work, move to the next one.

Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.

I start my day super early, walking my dog Lolita at 6 am, Crossfit at 7 am, and then I start my workday.
Managing quality of services provided around the world, there is a lot of coordination of teams in different time zones, so there are days that are dedicated to sync with different teams. Manage the outcomes of the quality audits, understanding customer satisfaction, addressing best practices, covers the majority of my days.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

To take care of myself!
It’s very important to focus on all dimensions of who we are so we can succeed in our dreams and goals.
That means sleeping, planning work and life, and prioritizing.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Whatsapp, Linkedin, Linkedin Learning, Mbway, Google tasks, Google calendar, Google reminders, Mail, Calm, Mindvalley, Muse, Spotify, Waze, Maps, Uber, UberEats, Health Mate.

Any links that you want to share? In what are you working on…

Check out :)

👉Find Sofia on LinkedIn

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