What drives people in IT, besides lines of code?
In our "Beyond IT..." column, we bring slightly different stories about people from the IT industry, getting to know their interests and hobbies.
Here we meet Ana, Senior Software Developer, who wanted to be a Formula 1 driver since she was a child. Although life had other plans, Ana remained faithful to the track, but instead of Formula, she became a passionate kart driver. She even drove in the world final in amateur karting (SWS) and won second place in the women's category!
Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But did you know that there is also an IT KARTING LEAGUE - an amateur sports-karting competition for IT companies and their employees? It takes place at the Autokomerc Karting Center in Belgrade, and the goal of the league is to win as many points as possible on the racing days during the season and thus officially become the fastest IT team in Serbia!
What is it about this adrenaline sport that gets into the blood, Ana reveals to us.
When did the passion or desire for karting start?
-"I can't say that I ever really "wanted to go karting" because until I tried it, I didn't even know what it was. But auto-moto sports have attracted me since my earliest childhood when I happened to catch a Formula 1 race on TV during a summer vacation in 1996. At that time, I was not going to school."
My childhood dream was to be a Formula 1 driver when I grow up :)
"I accidentally ran into a karting race organized by SOR on Ada-Huja while I was playing tennis on the courts next to it, and I wanted to try it. I did it and that's when PASSION begins. That was in 2011."
"It got into my blood and that was it".
-This is how I answered my mother about 10 years ago when she asked me a similar question. I still think that is the most accurate answer. "Racing, competing, it's in my blood. It's part of me, it's part of my life". I'm quoting Senna because no one could have said it better.
Do you recognize any connections between your IT role and your hobby? If yes, what kind?
- I never thought about it, but when you ask like that - focus and improvisation. When I'm racing there's only the next corner, whoever's behind or ahead of me, and my ideal imagined path at that moment. But very often that imagined ideal path has to be adapted to the situation and the happenings on the track. At work, I have such or even greater focus when I'm fixing a production bug, for example :D, I don't see or hear anything around me until the problem is solved. And I believe that everyone is very well aware of "it’s not a big deal for you, just fix that little thing" (which sometimes means architectural code changes), and the improvisation that is necessary to get everything done on time.
Are there similarities between your job and your hobby?
- Direct similarity no. But I noticed that I like a dynamic environment at work, just as in karting, and that I'm really good at working under pressure (when it's short-term and refers to a quick and efficient solution to a specific matter). And that my brain is trained to think quickly.
How much time per week do you dedicate to karting?
- Karting is not a sport you train several times a week, and I don't have classic training. I only drive races. But that's why I train 4 other sports actively and regularly (which is about 10 trainings a week) in order to stay strong and be mentally and physically ready for races. You'd be surprised how much fitness and conditioning can help in karting. And yes, I can balance it with all my work commitments.
What do your colleagues at work say about your interesting hobby? Is there an anecdote you'd like to share?
- What can they say, mostly that I'm not normal. I come to work one day from one of the aforementioned 10 training sessions and my colleague says - we're just waiting for you to come and say that you've started training to jump from an airplane with a parachute, to get used to the rush of adrenaline.
And the karting team building ended by counting who was NOT behind by a lap (or more) :D
Will karting remain just a hobby, or would you like to do something more than that?
- Just a hobby - on which your whole week depends. It won’t become my profession, I will stay in IT. I started racing in the SOR amateur league as soon as I sat in a kart for the first time. I drove the world final race in amateur karting (SWS) and won second place in the women's category. A professional league for adults in karting does not make much sense, because it is mostly an "entry point" for kids to professional racing in the stronger categories of auto-moto sports. But we amateurs are not bad either. So for now it remains "just a hobby" :D
Anna's results sound amazing, don't they? And the better she is on the track, the better she is at work!
Are you already thinking that you could try karting races?
The aforementioned IT KARTING LEAGUE starts this spring, with the first racing days on May 12 and 13th. No previous racing experience is required, and all participants undergo racing training. In the season, a total of 4 racing days are planned (in May, June, July, and September), while the fastest drivers from each company go to the grand final in October.
This a great opportunity for an extra dose of adrenaline and strengthening team spirit on the track! And it would be so cool to work for the fastest IT company!
Applications for this unique racing experience are open until April 30th. Check the LINK for more information about the league itself and the competition of IT companies.
And maybe you have your own "Beyond IT..." story to share with us? Let us know - we are curious and eager to hear more about the hobbies and interests of people in IT!