My Spartan story: Tea Matusinovic

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Tea Matusinovic had a goal of working in technology, and she made it happen. Despite initial push back from industry employers for coming from a non-technical background, through Sparta Global’s opportunities and Tea’s hard work, she is now working as an Agile Analyst for a world-leading asset management firm. We sat down with Tea to hear about how she started her first role from-home during the pandemic, how it never stopped her taking every chance to continue her progression and learning, and how Sparta Global has helped change her life in two short years.

Hi Tea! Let’s start by helping people to get to know you a little better. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Croatia and moved around a few cities in Europe before coming to the UK seven years ago for university. I'm a very creative person, I love photography and I do a lot of content creation on the side. I’m really interested in the interplay between Psychology and Technology use, so I was naturally drawn to the field of UX design. I love anything to do with visual expression. Apart from that, I’m a very social person, so I love hanging out with my friends. I also like being active, so I do Pilates and yoga.

So you moved to London for university – what did you study?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology - specialising in organisational psychology - as well as a Master’s degree in behavioural economics. After university, I really wanted to get into tech, but I wasn’t sure how to do this with my Psychology background. Sparta offered the perfect solution, implementing the business skills I already had, and teaching me the tech skills I needed. They really allowed me to get into tech easily.

How did you end up finding and joining Sparta Global?

I thought Sparta offered a great training program and they really made me feel reassured that it’s possible to get into tech from any background. Any other company that I came across, or jobs I would apply to, always emphasised the fact that I do not come from a technical background. I thought Sparta would give me a very nice steppingstone into the world of tech.

Can you tell me a bit about your training as a Business Analyst with us. Did you enjoy it? Was it challenging?

I enjoyed it, it was really interesting! Every week we would cover a different area of Business Analysis. I really enjoyed it because it covered both the technical side and the business side, and this really helped me a lot in my assignments. I definitely found the technical side more challenging, but it was very rewarding to master it towards the end of the training.

Why did you choose the Business Analysis course in particular?

I always knew I wanted to work in business, but more specifically I was very drawn to the tech industry. I thought this course was perfect for that. It implemented both skill sets - the business skills that I already had from my Master’s and internships I had completed, as well as the tech skills which I didn’t really have at all.

 So, tell us a bit about what you’re doing on-site now - what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I’m a BA in a mobile and Web team at an asset management company. I first joined as a BA solely working in the mobile team, and when I joined my tasks were very limited compared to what I do now. I’ve grown so much in the past year and a half that it’s unreal! When I started with the mobile team, I was responsible for managing the backlog and stakeholder expectations, as well as the requirements gathering and refinement. I really progressed quickly though and have started being actively involved in the web team as well, which is a much bigger outfit.

I still do requirements gathering and backlog refinement to take care of the whole backlog. I’m involved in the planning process too, taking care of the roadmap. Essentially, I’m like the bridge between the developers and the business. The business would come to me with their requirements, and I would write them down or find them and hand them over to the team.

 

How did that progression come about?

I was working really hard and my client is really great in terms of offering learning support. I did a couple of courses, typically on SAFE, agile methodology. The opportunity came about when one of the senior BAs took quite a long time off and I had to pick up her tasks. Little by little, I was getting more and more responsibility, so they were happy to keep giving me more responsibility as the time went on so. I would definitely say it has been down to hard work and also the opportunity of sometimes picking up the work of other people and showing that you are capable of doing a good job.

How did the coronavirus pandemic play a part in your tech journey? 

COVID started literally as I finished the course here at Sparta. I remember we were on our final day and giving our final presentation when we saw on the news that a lockdown was coming and we didn’t really know what to expect. When I started working with a Sparta Global client, we worked from home for the first five months, and I found it strange speaking to people online that I’d never met in person. Once I started going to the office, I realised how much easier it is to just walk up to someone and sort out an issue - compared to something that would have taken days or weeks over email. I guess COVID impacted us in a way where we really had to adjust the way we work and the way we communicate with people, in order to perform as best as we could.

Now as a Spartan working at an asset management company, what would you say is your biggest achievement?

I’m really proud of the fact that I’m able to think outside the box in terms of the product development perspective. For example, I created a very detailed visual representation of the end-to-end client journey that directly fed into the potential development of the app, essentially flagging areas for improvement and proposing new ideas that may benefit our clients’ user experience. This directly ties in with my goal of becoming a product owner one day, so it was very interesting to step into the product ownership role for the time being. I would definitely say Sparta gave me the skills and tools needed to perform well in that role, but what I am most proud of is being able to bring value to the company and our clients.

Which of the skills that you learned at Sparta have you used in your new role?

The software development lifecycle knowledge definitely came in handy, as well as the business skills they taught us. When it comes to presenting to stakeholders, that was really useful too. We would do presentations during training, and I got really valuable feedback from the trainers that I still apply to my job now. On the business side of things, all the modules they were teaching us really allowed me to think critically and apply those methodologies in my day-to-day work.

What would you say has been the most challenging thing about your new role, so far?

Well, I would say perhaps having to take on a lot of responsibilities at once, but I have learned how to deal with that - it’s all about self-organisation and prioritisation. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I always go back to my superiors and ask for clarity on priorities. It can get very overwhelming because there’s a lot to do, and one might get lost and unsure, so it’s always important to ask for guidance on what the main priority for the day is.

And now you are a permanent employee with your client. Congrats!

I really love the company I have moved to. I love what they represent, their culture, and the exceptional quality of products and services they offer. I really saw myself working at the company long-term. When my contract was coming to an end with Sparta and they happened to have the headcount for a permanent Agile Analyst role, I was lucky to convert to a permanent member of staff. I think it’s a major achievement and I’m really happy!