In this interview we asked Elizaveta Ragozina, a software developer at CERN, to talk about the benefits she sees for institutions and organizations with regards to Infinite Scale. CERN is not only the largest particle physics lab in the world but also a valued partner of ownCloud. The CERN IT department’s storage team has been engaging with ownCloud since the very beginnings, also being part of the Early Adopter Program and jointly working on the Infinite Scale project with ownCloud.
ownCloud: Hi Elizaveta, first of all thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to do this interview with you! We know you have been very busy in the past few weeks – if not months – especially with regards to the CS3 conference, which took place at the end of January. Would you like to tell us a little about yourself and what your role is at CERN?
Elizaveta: Hi, my name is Elizaveta Ragozina, I am originally from Russia, studied Media Computer Science with a focus on Human Computer Interaction at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany. I am passionate about usability and user experience topics and as well about science and technology, which makes CERN an ideal working environment for me. Here I work as a frontend developer in the storage group. My tasks include concepting and implementation of new features and the overall usability improvement of CERNBox.
ownCloud: CERN is a long-standing and valued partner of ownCloud and an Early Adopter of the new Infinite Scale, eventually leading the first production deployment of the jointly built software in 2021. The CERN IT department’s storage team has engaged in UI, API and backend development with us for many years. Where do you see the benefits of infinite Scale for potential future institutions or organizations?
Elizaveta: OwnCloud Infinite Scale brings more flexibility and configurability and, as the name says, the ability to scale your cloud environment on-demand to meet organizational demands in a capable way. The advanced architecture and usage of the modern technologies allows us to react quicker to user demands and achieve a better user experience. I am pretty sure, we are not the only organization with high data governance and security requirements, as well as needs of advanced collaboration features. Infinite Scale fulfills these requirements, provides a lot of useful features and makes it easy to develop our own features.
ownCloud: As we all know, Infinite Scale comes with a totally new web frontend, which you actively contribute to. Could you share your thoughts on that and how the users at CERN liked it so far, and can you give us an idea of what’s on the roadmap?
Elizaveta: Currently the new interface is in the beta phase and available for anyone wanting to try it. In December, we were holding the first Cernbox User forum and gave our user community the opportunity to exchange and share experience and use-cases. Many of the demanded features and pain points of the previous frontend version are taken into account by the new web frontend. From the testers, we get a very positive feedback, so I’m super excited about going live for everyone soon.
We have some frequently requested features on the roadmap like more app integrations, notifications and advanced search, all basically aligned with the plans of ownCloud. I’m looking forward to contributing to these features.
ownCloud: How do you feel about community and open source in the scientific space? Do you see this as being essential for the success of projects?
Elizaveta: Yes, in my opinion, open source is essential for science.
In general, it enables the better scientific collaboration by lowering the barriers into scientific exploration and makes the research more transparent and inclusive.
Specifically, the CS3 project allows the researchers from all over the world to share, synchronize and transfer data simply on a large scale which opens the door to innovative scientific applications and research.
ownCloud: Could you describe your journey “into tech” and what it is like working in a rather a male-dominated environment?
Elizaveta: My journey into tech started at school in the computer science class with learning programming through implementing a log-based game in Pascal. Fascinated by the possibility to bring my ideas into real life, I decided to study computer science and very soon found my passion about the topics of human-computer interaction. And here I am now, continuing to deepen and apply my knowledge in this area and learning from highly skilled development and management teams of CERN and ownCloud.
As pointed out, the STEM environment is male-dominated. For myself, I am choosing working environments with values of diversity and inclusion. And in my opinion, it includes more than just the gender. It’s the way of accepting, respecting and empowering all the employees independent of their cultural background, age, gender and other differences. I am happy to work at CERN and cooperate with ownCloud as both incorporate these values. As for women in STEM, the situation has been changing in the past years, but the gap is still present. I encourage women to learn more about career in STEM and look for employers who share their values but also wish the employers to learn more about the multiple benefits of diverse working environments and adapt the diversity de facto, not only on paper.
ownCloud: And last but not least, what would your piece of advice be for a young high school graduate who wants to become a developer? Any tips?
Elizaveta: My first tip is what I just mentioned before, search for employers who truly share your values. Ask in the interviews how the values are adapted in the working culture and don’t go to the employer where you feel a mismatch. Shared values make us feel more comfortable and motivated.
As a technical tip, solve coding challenges on a daily basis. There are a lot of good coding practice sites (codewars, leetcode). Look at best rated solutions there.
And of course, last but not least, contribute to or create your own open source projects. This gives a real coding practice, you learn from others and just turn your ideas into a reality. A very enjoyable way to improve your skills!
ownCloud: Contributing to open source projects and thus finding an enjoyable way to improve one’s skills definitely sounds like a great tip! Thanks a lot for your time and this interview, Elizaveta!