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Women in STEM: How Engineering Took Senior Software Engineer Halina from Belarus to San Francisco

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  • Life at EPAM

Halina BezabrazavaMeet Halina Bezabrazava, Senior Software Engineer at EPAM. Throughout her seven-year career as an EPAMer, Halina has had the opportunity to work with different technologies and major programming languages across several industries to become an engineering expert. Her philosophy of continuous learning and developing new skills is something she applies in both her career and personal life. When she’s not creating innovative solutions at EPAM, Halina enjoys music, art and nature. She’s an avid traveler who finds excitement in exploring new places, meeting new people and gaining different perspectives on life. We were lucky enough to sit down with Halina and get her take on what it’s like to be inside EPAM and how her career brought her from Belarus to San Francisco.

Tell us a little about your career journey.

My career journey began with EPAM during my last year of university, where I studied automatic data processing systems. I love a good challenge, the feeling of a clean and beautifully built system, and the novelty of discovering different technologies, which were all things that I was lucky to find at EPAM. The best part of EPAM is the people. There’s also an abundance of possibilities allowing everyone to find their passion. I started at EPAM on the engineering side of things, but I soon had the opportunity to pivot to a test automation role, where I dove into a world of automation frameworks, continuous integration and quality assurance.

From my time working in test automation, I was able to gain more clarity of both the development and testing world, which—although closely related—require different skills from different activities. From this experience, I was able to choose the area of work that was most interesting to me. I moved back to the programming scene, and I’ve been learning and growing in this area ever since.

What work do you do at EPAM?

Java is my primary framework, but it’s not the only one I work on: I also write in C#, Golang and JavaScript. My philosophy is that programming languages are just a tool to be picked up as needed because tech concepts stay the same, it’s just the technicalities that change. Currently, I’m working for one of our technology clients to manage a system that provides automated and manual advertising reviews. I work on both the backend and frontend, and most of my day is occupied with features implementation, bug fixes and fine-tuning the existing system. Our team also helped the client transition their app to a new technology stack, so there was never a dull moment!

Why EPAM?

I’m from Belarus and that’s where I began working at EPAM. In Belarus, EPAM is one of the “big players” in software development. The company is very well-known and prestigious there. Before joining, I also knew about the relocation program EPAM offers its employees, which made the company extremely attractive. I’m always on the hunt for new experiences and relocating to a different country seemed like a very exciting adventure. I joined one of EPAM’s Students Labs first, a program where people learn by working on curated projects, and then eventually was placed on their production team.

At EPAM, I’ve always been warmly welcomed by all members of the team and empowered as a female in the industry. While technology is indeed male-dominated, I’ve always been supported by my colleagues. I take pride in the fact that women in STEM fields bring a fresh perspective and a positive outlook on challenges, which are valuable traits when building an effective team.

You relocated from Belarus to San Francisco—that’s amazing! Tell us more about your relocation journey.

I was always eager to travel and explore, so relocating to a different country was something that I was interested in from a personal and professional perspective. I expressed an interest and EPAM was able to provide me with tremendous support and detailed guidance, making it a seamless experience. The EPAM Relocation team set me up with all the necessary arrangements: I felt very privileged upon my arrival because I had a comfortable place to live and didn’t have to panic to find an apartment right away. I had just enough time to meet my new team, settle in, explore the city and get used to the idea of calling it my new home.

I’ve been in San Francisco for two years and I still believe relocation was one of the best decisions I have made, as it brought a lot of great experiences, challenging projects and introduced me to wonderful people. I feel that I grew not only professionally, but also as a person because I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and go see the world.