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Atlassian grads on the company’s kaleidoscope culture

Three Atlassian grads share what team diversity means to them.

Workplace diversity is a bit of a buzzword RN but can also pay off for companies that get it right. Studies have shown that businesses with more racial or gender diversity are more innovative and sell more products. It’s something Aussie-founded global software company Atlassian takes very seriously, with their mission to bring ‘balance and belonging’ to all of their teams. We talked to three new recruits at Atlassian to see what they think.

1. Jodie Clothier, Product Designer

Jodie thought she was destined to be a graphic designer. She taught herself Photoshop and Illustrator through YouTube tutorials, and at the end of Year 12 received offers to enrol in visual communication degrees. But one last flick through the UAC guide uncovered something else – the Bachelor of Computer Design at the University of Sydney.

“It had slipped past me because it’s such a niche degree,” she says. The degree combined Jodie’s love of technology with her passion for creativity, and after completing her studies she found a graduate position as a product designer at Atlassian.

Jodie is part of the Native Apps team, responsible for the mobile versions of Atlassian’s flagship product, JIRA.

As a new grad, Jodie says there was “a steep learning curve, but I was allowed to learn and absorb everything without pressure to perform.”

Jodie is part of the Native Apps team, responsible for the mobile versions of Atlassian’s flagship product, JIRA. At first, she worked on small projects like lists and menus, but it wasn’t long before she moved up to bigger challenges.

“One of the great things about Atlassian is you have a lot of autonomy,” she says. “Even though you’re a new grad, no one treats you differently.”

Jodie spends a lot of time analysing customer feedback and conducting user research interviews, and she says diversity is critical to good design.

RELATED: How Atlassian employees are working together, apart

“We all have inherent biases – that’s human nature,” she says. “If you only have one type of person designing things, that bias is going to be in those objects.”

Jodie’s study and career pathway

  • Bachelor of Design Computing, University of Sydney
  • Experience Design Intern, Proto Partners
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Sydney
  • Product Designer, Atlassian

2. Tina Yu, Junior Software Developer

There are loads of ways to get into coding. For Tina, it was to troll her friends. “I’d send scripts that would do things like open a message box that keeps appearing – annoying things like that,” she laughs. “It was really fun.”

RELATED: Meet three Atlassian employees killing it in tech

Tina studied a computer science degree at the University of Melbourne, alongside a diploma in maths and statistics. “I’m a huge nerd,” she says. “I still read maths textbooks and papers. It would be nice to do a PhD in pure maths.”

Right now, though, Tina is working as a junior developer at Atlassian. Her team builds and maintains the software that other development teams use to create the company’s products. She is currently helping adapt some open source software created and shared by Netflix so that it works with Atlassian’s internal systems.

Tina studied a computer science degree at the University of Melbourne, alongside a diploma in maths and statistics.

While there are only seven people on her team, Tina says it is quite diverse. “We’ve got all types of people from different countries, different age groups and things like that.”

Tina says it’s important to get input from a range of perspectives because people from all backgrounds and walks of life make up their customer base.

“Having people from different backgrounds is great when you’re trying to approach a problem,” she says.

Tina’s study and career pathway

  • Bachelor of Computer Science/Diploma of Statistics, University of Melbourne
  • Intern Developer, Atlassian
  • Junior Developer, Atlassian

3. Cara Maritz, Junior Researcher

You don’t necessarily need a computing degree to work at a big tech company – just ask Cara. After finishing high school, she studied fine arts before completing a Graduate Diploma of Psychology. She then went to the US where she did a Masters combining psychology and philosophy.

So how did she end up at Atlassian? It turns out all those research skills are very useful to understanding customers and building them the best possible products.

Cara stresses that team diversity is really important to quality research.

As a User Experience (UX) researcher, Cara gets to look at how customers interact with the software and make recommendations on how to improve it. “I’m currently working on a project looking at accessibility across our core programs,” she says. “I’m measuring and seeing how people using assistive technologies are currently working with the products. It’s been really rewarding, and it’s allowed me to develop an understanding of how folks with different access needs use the assistive tech.”

Cara works with researchers from a wide range of professional backgrounds including former academic and industry researchers in psychology, anthropology and design. She says that team diversity is really important to quality research.

“It’s vital. It’s like the lifeblood of our department,” she says. “Our customer base is really diverse, so we should be as well. I think we all complement each other and as such I think our outcomes are a higher quality as a result.”

Cara’s study and career pathway

  • Bachelor of Arts / Fine Arts, UNSW
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Melbourne
  • Graduate Diploma of Psychology, University of Melbourne
  • Master of Arts / Philosophy, John Hopkins University (Baltimore)
  • Junior Researcher, Atlassian

This article is brought to you in partnership with Atlassian and originally appears in Careers with STEM: Tech 2020.

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