Nexonia’s mobile team is a well-oiled machine, consistently being challenged to develop refined versions of Nexonia’s Expenses and Timesheets apps, on top of seeking new mobile opportunities. When the Apple App Store opened its doors on July 10th, 2008, Nexonia Expenses was one of only 552 apps immediately available for download. Now, the five-star Nexonia Expenses app is among 1.5 million apps offered on the iTunes App Store, continuing to provide users with an efficient portal for expense report creation, submission and approvals. Using feedback from our regular customer surveys, the mobile team works hard to build great software that directly addresses the suggestions provided by our mobile users.
While on a recent visit the Nexonia Montreal office (which will soon be at a newly-renovated 14,000 square foot office in the downtown location of Square Victoria) I sat down for lunch with Nexonia’s Senior Mobile Development Manager, Ioana Negrean, to discuss her career in mobile development and her insights for the industry at large.
JILL: First of all, tell us about yourself!IOANA: I was born and raised in a small town in the region of Transylvania, Romania. Many people hear the word “Transylvania” and think Dracula, but it’s also well-known for its medieval towns and mountainous borders and castles, which are quite beautiful. For university studies, I moved to Cluj-Napoca, a Transylvanian city with many universities and a big focus on IT. Even during the early years of my studies, I began thinking about moving to Canada. I suppose I fell in love with this country’s culture, diversity and amazing landscapes that I was eager to explore. I moved to Canada in February 2010 and just a few months later, I started to work for Nexonia.
JILL: What did you know about the technology industry before you decided to pursue a career in it?IOANA: When I was 7 years old, most kids were dreaming of becoming doctors and police officers. Instead, my dream was to become a software developer! As far as I remember, my knowledge about the tech industry back then was that, if you are a person with good logic and math skills, you can do amazing things with a few keystrokes. When I was young, I used to go to an IT club for children, where I discovered that it takes only a few lines of code on a HC 90 to make a teddy bear and an antenna drawing appear on the screen. It was amazing for me as a kid. I still cherish that wonderful memory.
JILL: Why did you decide to study Computer Science in university? What about that program appealed to you?IOANA: After a brief introduction to Computer Science in my early education, I followed an IT program in high school. I’m passionate about problem-solving, so after learning the basics of programming, data structures and algorithms, I became even more curious and felt compelled to dig deeper into this line of work.
JILL: Why did you pursue mobile development over other aspects of Computer Science?IOANA: It was definitely not a linear decision. I began by developing desktop applications, migrated towards building security software for USB flash drives and then started work on mobile applications. Out of the three, mobile development made me feel more complete because I could combine my knowledge of software development with my passion for UI and UX, resulting in applications you literally hold in your hand. Knowing that Nexonia’s mobile products are in the hands many of our customers and that our apps are making their lives a little easier, feels amazing.
JILL: Less than 30% of people working in tech in America are women, and the numbers are similar in Canada. Why do you think there are generally less women working in tech?IOANA: Did you know that the first person to ever write an algorithm (which was intended to be implemented by a machine) was a woman, Ada Lovelace? She is commonly considered to be the world’s first computer programmer, and was a brilliant mathematician. Considering her work was published in the height of the Victorian age, she was definitely ahead of her time.
It’s hard for me to speculate why the statistics currently look that way, but these numbers should not discourage anyone pursuing a career in IT. If something seems difficult, learn as much as you can, show everyone that you can do it and that you can do it well. This is a challenge for anyone, regardless of gender!
We can encourage more women to pursue careers in tech by stimulating their interest and curiosity in this industry from an early age, and by making them aware of the great achievements, personal satisfactions and perks that come along with it.
JILL: What would you say to people who are considering a career in technology?IOANA: I’m always excited when I hear that someone is passionate about technology and decides to follow a career in this field. My advice would probably be to follow their dreams, be confident, remain true to their values and never stop learning new things.
JILL: What appealed to you about working at Nexonia? What do you enjoy most about working here?IOANA: The company’s culture and strong leaders were certainly a factors in my decision to join Nexonia. The cofounders’ passion for technology, for always doing everything the best way and producing good quality software while exceeding customers’ expectations are inspiring traits to have, and I can see these values in all of my colleagues.
Every day, I have the chance to work with fun and skilful people in what I would consider the perfect environment for developing my skills, where the leaders are open to new ideas and new perspectives. I often say Nexonia is a company with a heart, there’s a human element to everything we do here, and management truly cares about its employees.
JILL: And finally, besides Nexonia's mobile apps, what are some of your favourite apps that you use?IOANA: I love to try new apps as often as I can. Some of my favourites would be:
- RunKeeper (so that I can track my outdoor fitness)
- Wunderlist (helps keep me organized!)
- Houzz (the best app for home decor - their photos are gorgeous)
- Google Photos (Google’s apps need no introduction - they’re awesome!)