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Humans of Split Tech City: Ines Puzić

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč

20.09.2022.

Our community is full of humans – great humans at that! Each and every one of them has an interesting story to tell, and we’re happy to offer our #HumansOfSplitTechCity the space where they can share their stories.

This time we’d like to share with you a story about a return, which is interesting in and of itself in a time when many are doing the opposite. The one brave – or crazy 😀 – enough to do the exact opposite of everyone else is Ines, who…

will tell you her story herself! 😉

Immediately the thing we would like to know the most: why did you return to Croatia?

“I have always wanted to return here. And it’s nothing new that I like to go against the flow. The more I heard negative impressions, the more determined I became to take that step and see the truth for myself.

I graduated last year and I told myself – if I don’t try now, I never will. And I would regret it fiercely!

So that was the moment when I quit my job at the time, graduated, and packed my bags. It’s not that I went without a plan, but the fact is that I went without having a job offer.”

Now we’d like to get the backstory!

“I was born in Switzerland, near the city of Zurich. I lived in Zurich for 25 years. I graduated high school in economics, as most young people in Croatia graduate in economics. 😀

And after that, I enrolled in a translation school for Croatian, English, and German. Before enrolling, I decided to travel a little in America and went to San Diego for four months for an English language course. But – back to high school…

A really great thing in Switzerland is that young people who enroll in vocational high school have to find an employer to do a three-year internship alongside attending school. The system is simple, you go to school for two days and work for three.

In addition to gaining a lot of experience, it also counts as work experience for your CV!

So, after high school, I got the opportunity to stay two more years in the same company and work full-time. I did the same with the university, but worked only part-time then.”

What exactly do you do now?

“I work at littlecode. I do standard administrative tasks in the position of Office Manager, but in addition to that I also get the opportunity to do various other things from HR, recruiting, accounting, right up to ordering food for our hungry developers.” 🙂

What does your typical working day at littlecode look like?

“In the previous office, I was always nicknamed “the early bird“, so I continued that tradition in the new office environment.

I prefer to come to the office earlier. I can’t say that every day is the same, but can confirm that every day is challenging in its own way and different. Because of such variety, it’s difficult to define a typical working day.”

What have you improved the most since working for littlecode?

“To answer this question I need to emphasize that I did not know the Croatian Labor Law, the Croatian way of doing business, and ultimately IT as an employment sector and its dynamics.

I learned a lot in one year with the help of the littlecode team!

Not only in a professional sense, but also on a personal level.”

What is the most interesting thing about the work you do at littlecode?

“I like that there is a wide range of different tasks that I do. No day is the same for me – things are constantly changing. I learn something new every day and that motivates me a lot. It’s also not monotonous which I really appreciate!”

Aside from the variety, what do you like about your work at littlecode?

“I have plenty of opportunities for advancement and every day brings new challenges. I also learned a tiny bit of programming. 😀

I did not learn to program, but I definitely learned the concepts of C#, .NET, Cloud, etc. Which is definitely not a bad thing to know!”

What do you like about the littlecode team?

“I love that they support me! I have constant support and we also all like to hang out. We often organize Game Nights, Movie Nights, and various other events. You could say we’re a small littlecode family!”

Considering you moved back here, what is your general experience of living and working in Split?

“It’s been great so far!

littlecode is definitely responsible for the positive work experience I had here.

I honestly don’t know how much I would have liked it here in Split if I had come across another company.

I think that the IT sector is becoming very popular in Split, in all of Croatia in fact. Young people work in such companies, companies that have a modern way of working and thinking, and offer plenty of opportunities for advancement.

However, as in any other sector, the employer is a really important factor because you spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week in the office.”

And what about outside of the office… Any favorites?

“I still love my beloved Kaštela deeply! 😀

So I will recommend as a favorite having coffee in our famous “Stara Kuća“. I know that now all the people of Split will dislike me, but I still prefer Kaštela.”

(For the worried ones, people from Split don’t dislike people from Kaštela. We just like to tease them a lot and make them believe we dislike them hahaha…)

An odd question maybe, but if someone came to you from abroad and said – “Ines, I have two days to enjoy Split and its surroundings, take me to see all the most beautiful things!” – where would you take that person?

“A walk through the Diocletian’s Palace, visit St. Duje, coffee on Riva, another on Prokurative, lunch – by lunch I mean fish – in “Fetivi” or “Ribica” near the fish market, visit the Klis Fortress,…”

What is your favorite thing about Split and Croatia?

“It’s silly to say casual and relaxed lifestyle, but it is true! I lived my whole life with the same rhythm and I thought it was like that everywhere.

However, in Croatia, and especially in Split, you can see the difference in the way of life and work.

As everything in life, even this has all its positives and downsides, but a person definitely lives better in Croatia if I compare it to Switzerland.

And just to make it clear – I don’t like idleness, there’s nothing worse than that – but I like that there is still life after work and the rhythm of the work week here in Split doesn’t look like: from home to work, from work to home, repeat.”

Any plans for the future?

“I don’t like planning, but we all have to have a certain plan in life. I think I was really lucky with my plans so far because everything went according to plan. 😀

However, you should never stop evolving and learning, and, considering the constantly changing tech market, it’s good to stay up to date. So, in a way, my plan is to study further.

My goal is to develop more in the direction of marketing and to specialize in it.”

How important is the local tech community and networking in general to you?

“I think that communities and events are very important. Meetups and conferences are all events that allow you to meet and talk with people in the same industry. You learn something new on every occasion and always meet new people.

As soon as I sent my job application to littlecode, I researched all possible sites related to the IT industry in Croatia, and that’s how I came across Split Tech City. I personally think that communities are important for one’s development, and it is certainly not bad to have events you can attend!”

If you had a magic wand and unlimited funds, what would you improve regarding the life and work of a young person in Split and Croatia?

“A very difficult question! Again I am comparing Switzerland and Croatia. I honestly think that young people in Split, as well as in Croatia in general, do not have the opportunity to develop or get to know the business world at an early age. What I learned during high school is a lot and I believe that without it I would not be where I am now.

Young people learn a lot of theory here, but there is no practical knowledge.

Many of them get the opportunity to work only after finishing university. I would also like to change the apparent lack of work with international companies and individuals/freelancers from abroad. I would like to see more of that.”

What advice or words of support would you give to someone who is thinking about returning to Croatia?

“I think that returning here is a very beautiful thing to do! But a person must definitely be aware that not everything is beautiful and wonderful. I cannot count how many times I have heard the sentence: “You are returning to Croatia from Switzerland – are you crazy?!”

It doesn’t matter where a person comes from, everything is not perfect anywhere in the world, and even I, coming from Switzerland of my own accord, really had to adapt to some things and situations. From paperwork to thinking and behavior itself.

To sum it up, I would definitely say to anyone in this situation, and even myself: “Congratulations to you for taking that step!”

But I would also stress the importance of being open to all possible situations and aware that you have to adapt because it is you who came to another country, not the other way around.”

And what piece of advice would you give yourself before packing your bags to return here?

“Do what you think is right and don’t listen to others! 🙂

Everyone was always smarter than me about this decision, but no one knew what actually suited me personally.”

Any curiosity about yourself you’d like to share in the end?

“I never understood my mother’s need to send me to extra Croatian lessons while all the other children were outside playing. However, I cannot thank her enough for doing this!

Where would I be now if I didn’t know my mother tongue?! I can’t describe how much that knowledge made it easier for me to return and find a job.

On the topic of language – I have quite a Dalmatian accent and sometimes it’s hard for me to speak the standard Croatian language. However, even that was easy to work on thanks to my littlecode team!” 😀

We’d like to thank Ines for sharing her story with us and wish her and the littlecode team lots of success in the future!

Photos by: littlecode

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About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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