Liquid Web software engineer Alis Klajda talks about what drew her to technology, why she loves her colleagues, and the importance of letting your passions guide you.
One of Alis Klajda’s earliest memories is of her father setting up his work computer in his Michigan basement: a Commodore 64. “It was love at first sight for both my brother and me,” she says. “At first, we played video games, but that quickly escalated. Soon, we were learning BASIC to write our own, and eventually, we built our own desktop computers.” Now, after all these years, Klajda and his brother are software engineers.
Klajda landed her first job at a tech company straight out of college in 2011. “That was the era of tech consulting groups before remote work went mainstream,” she says. “The consulting company she worked for spent a ton of time and money flying her consultants across the country to work in clients’ offices, away from their families for long periods of time, living in dorm rooms. of hotel. It’s a bit hard to imagine now, with the widespread adoption of remote work. I wanted a better work-life balance and finally ended up at Liquid Web in 2014.” She has been here ever since.
Now at Liquid Web, Klajda is a software engineer in the Technology and Development department. “My team builds and maintains many of the systems essential to the daily operations within the company. For example, our billing and invoicing systems, customer portals, shopping cart and phone systems, and even many of the products we sell, were created by ourselves.”
What Klajda likes most about working in technology is the people. “I work with a lot of super bright people with intense and interesting hobbies. I am always growing as a person and learning new things from my coworkers,” she says.
Klajda says that her family has been very influential on her career path. “They have always been unconditionally supportive of my life and career choices,” she says. “When I was young, my parents told me that they didn’t care what I did for a living as long as I was happy. That kind of support really gave me the ability to take risks and make decisions based on my own long-term satisfaction rather than societal expectations.”
The people on the other side of the apps keep her motivated. “At the end of the day, it’s about the people. The apps I build are used by thousands of customers and hundreds of coworkers every day, and if I can make their lives easier, that’s really satisfying,” she says.
Outside of work, Klajda loves to travel. “A couple of years ago, I made it a point to visit all the National Parks in the United States, and so far, I’ve visited more than a dozen,” she says. “I like to travel old school road trip style so I can see all the wacky bits of the US along the way.” She also has two cattle dogs, Jewel and Chloe. “We spend a lot of time outdoors, walking or at the lake. I’m also a big fan of live music and I go to a lot of shows.”
As for the future of women in tech, Klajda says that’s the million dollar question. “More women are seeking higher education in one form or another after high school, but we haven’t really seen that increase in technology as much,” she says. “Only 20% of IT graduates are women, and only 25% of tech workers are women. These are interesting, well-paying careers, so it’s hard to imagine the job itself being responsible for that gap. I think a broader cultural shift is necessary before we see full gender parity in technology.”
Her advice to women interested in pursuing a career in technology is simple: “If you’re interested in technology, or anything for that matter, don’t let societal expectations deter you,” she says. “There is a great deal of pressure from family and society when it comes to choosing a career. Most of that pressure is related to traditional notions of what the role of women in society should be. Many women are directed into ‘caring’ roles such as nursing or teaching; And while those are wonderful career options, at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live your life and go to that job day after day. Let your passions guide your direction in life. I think that’s the key to happiness.”