Liquid Web Software Engineer, Alis Klajda, on what drew her to tech, why she loves her colleagues, and the importance of letting passions guide you.
One of Alis Klajda’s earliest memories is of her father setting up his work computer in their Michigan basement—a Commodore 64. “It was love at first sight for both my brother and me,” she says. “At first, we played video games, but that quickly escalated. Soon, we were learning BASIC to write our own and eventually building our own desktop computers.” Now, after all these years, Klajda and her brother are both software engineers.
Klajda got her first job working at a tech company straight out of college in 2011. “That was the era of technology consulting groups before remote work became widespread,” she says. “The consulting company I worked for would spend a ton of time and money flying their consultants across the country to work in client offices, away from their families for long periods of time, living out of hotel rooms. It’s kind of hard to imagine now, with the widespread adoption of remote work. I wanted a better work-life balance, and eventually ended up at Liquid Web in 2014.” She’s been here ever since.
Now at Liquid Web, Klajda is a software engineer in the Technology and Development department. “My team builds and maintains many of the systems essential for day-to-day operations within the company. For example, our billing and invoicing systems, customer portals, shopping cart and phone systems, and even many of the products we sell were built by us, in-house.”
What Klajda loves most about working in tech is the people. “I work with many super brilliant individuals with intense and interesting hobbies. I’m always growing as a person and learning new things from my coworkers,” she says.
Klajda says that her family has been very influential in her career journey. “They have always unconditionally supported my life and career choices,” she says. “When I was young, my parents told me they didn’t care what I did for a living as long as I was happy. That kind of support really gave me the ability to take risks and make decisions based on my own long-term fulfillment rather than social expectations.”
The people on the other side of the apps keep her motivated. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the people. The applications I build are used by thousands of customers and hundreds of coworkers every day, and if I can make their lives easier, that’s really satisfying,” she says.
Outside of work, Klajda loves to travel. “A couple of years ago, I set a goal to visit every National Park in America, and so far, I have visited over a dozen,” she says. “I like to travel old-school road-trip style so that I can see all the quirky little bits of the US along the way.” She also has two cattle dogs, Jewel and Chloe. “We spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking or at the lake. I’m also a big fan of live music and go to a lot of shows.”
Regarding the future of women in tech, Klajda says that’s the million-dollar question. “More women are seeking higher education in one form or another after high school, but we really haven’t seen that uptick as much in tech,” she says. “Only 20% of computer science degree holders are women, and only 25% of tech workers are female. These are interesting, high-paying careers, so it’s hard to imagine that the work itself is responsible for that gap. I think a larger cultural shift is necessary before we see full gender parity in tech.”
Her advice for women interested in pursuing a career in tech is simple: “If you have an interest in tech — or anything, really — don’t let social expectations steer you away,” she says. “There is a huge amount of pressure from family and society when it comes to choosing a career. Most of that pressure is related to traditional notions of what a woman’s role in society should be. A lot of women are steered into ‘nurturing’ roles such as nursing or teaching; and while those are wonderful career options, at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live your life and go to that job day after day. Let your passions guide your direction in life. I think that’s the key to happiness.”