Che Jansen is a hard-working, hands-on Chief Technology Officer with a preference for functional programming, and TDD. She has strong experience in change management and has successfully guided large teams through complex projects and migration to modern frameworks and practice. With a background in restaurant management, Che followed her passion for technology through self-teaching herself code. She is currently the Chief of Technology for medical startup app firm MedApps.
What are the key habits that you feel make you successful?
I think the biggest driver for success is always self-belief. You need to be able to back yourself and know that whatever challenge or unknown comes up, you’ll be able to handle it. The flip side of that would be not being too hard on yourself when things don’t go to plan. If you made a decision with the best data that you had the time, and it turns out to be the wrong one, then just learn from it, and move on.
Work ethic is another big one. Sometimes you just need to put in the extra hours to get a project over the line. Of course, there will always be times when things get a little slower, so it’s important to recognise when you have an opportunity to recoup and get ready for the next big drive.
The last one I’d like to mention is empathy and trust. Very rarely do we get anywhere without a strong team to work with. Empathy means the ability to listen to your team, ensure everyone is being tasked correctly with the right work, and build an environment that encourages everyone to thrive. Trust means being able to listen to your team, and take on what they have to say without fear.
What's the most valuable piece of advice you have received in your career and how did it help you?
Interestingly, this advice came when I was working in the hospitality industry before I started in tech. I had the privilege of working with an extremely successful self-made businessman, who taught me the importance of recording your short and long term goals. It’s vital to be clear on what you want to achieve, and to be actively working toward your end goal. If your goal is large, fuzzy and five years in the future, you won’t get to it.
What's the most challenging situation you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
When I first took on the API platform owner role with Woolworths, we had a challenging project to deliver and needed to do it while pushing sweeping changes across multiple teams for best practice and maintainability. I think it’s always challenging to act as a change agent, and particularly when there is existing delivery pressure. The key to overcoming this is to learn what the pain points are in those teams and to modify your solution to address those. You do need to know when to be flexible and to clearly define what points of your plan cannot be compromised.
How do you approach making a difficult decision?
If you have a difficult decision to make, it’s always useful to revisit the underlying issue behind that decision, and the problem you need to solve in making it. Too often we concentrate on the solution, and without fully understanding the problem. Once you’ve made sure you know what the problem is, go through the pros and cons, and then make the decision based on your instincts. Being able to make decisions quickly is vital to success, and being able to back yourself once you’ve made that decision is even more important.
Why should more females be choosing technology?
Because it is a truly rewarding and fun career! I really think we need to put much more emphasis on how enjoyable it can be to define problems and build solutions, which is the core of any job in tech. It’s also an industry perfect for busy women juggling home and career- generally with flexible hours, work from home options, and an emphasis on outcomes, rather than hours.
I’d also like to add, that I think we concentrate too much on the negative story of discrimination against women, and not enough on the positive stories of women who are actually killing it in their fields, which is why this blog is a fantastic idea! It is an unfortunate fact that most women will at some point in their career be faced with someone who thinks they can’t do the job based on their gender. But that experience will be offset by a raft of opportunity and support. The best way to counter those attitudes is to simply prove them wrong.