Dasha Nikitina: Journey to Achieve a Late Discovered Dream
Dasha Nikitina is a UI Engineer on the Marketing Experience team at Auth0. There she is focused on production and modification of websites and web application’s user interfaces while collaborating with design teams. She is also a member of Women Who Code, the world’s largest and most active women in tech community, and she actually connected with her current position through her participation in one of their events.
However, before all of that, she started her professional life with a very different trajectory, and only achieved her current dream job through hard work, determination, and a sizable dose of daring.
She spoke about the early years, “My original career was in marketing and advertising. I studied business management at school and although I enjoyed the challenges of marketing strategy, I was always on a lookout for a creative outlet. I managed to stumble my way into graphic design at the end of my college career and fell in love with the technicality of it. However, since I did not have enough confidence in my late graphic design discovery, I did not dare to look for a job outside of my major.“
After graduating, Dasha took a job as a senior executive assistant which led to various media planning and manager roles in media companies. And while she was successful, she wasn’t happy. She said, “I had a chance to work in both small and large organizations, learn A LOT, work with all kinds of personalities, be creative, handle many aspects of the business and obtain a 360 view, develop integrated marketing campaigns, media plan for well-known brands, push my public speaking boundaries and my comfort zone, attend a lot of events, meet inspirational business leaders....but something was missing... I did not feel challenged or fulfilled.”
It was at that moment that Dasha made a fateful decision. In her own words “I decided to take a leap. I quit my job, started consulting and signed up for a year away through a professional work-travel program. This was the pivotal moment in my career and life, as I unshackled myself from a mindset of 'I can't' into one of 'I can and I will': I can leave NYC, I can freelance, I can be afraid and not know what the next step is or if this is a right one. My mantra for that year were Paulo Coehlo's words 'Be brave. Take risks.'”
At the same time, Dasha found something that a lot of successful people have discovered. Once you make that leap of faith, everything is different. She describes it, “As soon as my mindset changed, almost anything became possible. I've been toying with the idea of learning web development, and I've done some research on the bootcamps but I was too scared to try it for the longest time. Too scared because I wasn't sure I had what it takes because I thought it would be too hard, that I'd fail. Once I started my year abroad, I enrolled in all kinds of prep courses as well as took up remote internships in tech startups to get an idea of what UX/UI design and web development really entailed.”
During her transformational time abroad, Dasha maintained her marketing consulting business while also completing the Flatiron School full stack immersive program, volunteering on a remote music startup, and attending international hackathons. She said, “ I found my path, the one that challenged me every day, forced me to learn how to learn, taught me that failure and mistakes are part of the process and should never be avoided, reminded me that I don't know it all and never will but that is OK.”
Women Who Code has also played an important part in Dasha’s journey. She first heard about the international organization that works to inspire women in tech through the women channel in the Flatiron School’s Slack. She quickly became an enthusiastic supporter of the organization and started telling everyone she knew about it. This support would end up benefiting her own career in a very powerful way. She tells the story.
“The reason I found Auth0 was because of WWCode. I attended the Women Who Code Summit in San Francisco where I met one of the recruiters. I think this is a very inspirational organization and I hope to volunteer in the Denver chapter in the future.”
As a UI Engineer at Auth0, Dasha works with people around the world, an experience that she’s found rewarding. She describes it, “My team is mostly remote and the majority are based in BA, Argentina. I am really enjoying the people and the projects. Everyone is very supportive of each other, always ready to help and the distance does not seem to be an issue, in many ways I feel more connected and productive than in a traditional office setting. I feel very lucky to have found a company that values its employees, offers incredible transparency into the business and is deeply rooted in collaboration.”