Pushing Past Limits: How This Serbian Native Started Over in the United States Despite the Pandemic

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In the summer of 2019, Vesna Tertei Rudinski and her husband decided it was time for a change. Packing up their belongings, they moved their family from a small town in Serbia to the United States. 

Excited to get involved in their new community and American culture, Vesna and her family were devastated when COVID-19 struck, forcing the country into lockdown and putting their new lives on pause.

“We had only been in the U.S. for a couple of months, but our new adventure had already come to a halt,” recalled Vesna. “We had just started to get to know the country and our neighbors. Our kids were at new schools. Then everything shut down.”

Finding a silver lining

Trying to stay positive during a difficult time, Vesna decided she would use the opportunity to further her education through remote learning.

In particular, she set her sights on project management boot camps. While working as a software developer in Serbia, Vesna had gained some self-taught project management skills; however, she’d never studied the subject in an official setting. When she stumbled upon Berkeley Technology Project Management Boot Camp, Vesna knew it was the path she wanted to pursue and enrolled immediately. She was well on her way to finding a fulfilling new career in the United States. 

Class is in session

Fast-forward to the first day of classes, and Vesna was juggling her software development job, family life and the boot camp. Given these many commitments, Vesna knew she was going to have to make some changes in her life.

“The first thing the program mentioned was that you have to commit 20 hours weekly to completing the course work,” shared Vesna. “I sat down with my family and said, ‘Okay, I’m not able to cook anymore. You’ll have to help me with the laundry, dishes and everything around the house.’ They said, ‘We’ll support you. Don’t worry. Just go and be the best student there.’”

As a non-native English speaker and beginner to the project management world, Vesna worried she might struggle to understand the course materials. But, with the support of her family, she knew she could overcome any challenges that came her way. 

Building her confidence as the weeks went by, Vesna began to understand the course’s key terminologies and concepts. Working with her classmates, she was able to complete numerous projects and assignments, applying what she had learned to many different scenarios.

“I loved having the opportunity to work in teams,” Vesna said. “We would switch roles during projects and look at assignments from other perspectives, which gave us a better understanding of the material. Best of all, we worked on projects and assignments that we might encounter in the real world, not just in a textbook.”

“Everything is achievable”

Having successfully completed the program, Vesna is now able to look at the world with an entirely new perspective. 

Today, she works as the Chief Project Manager of OneTraffic, a computer software company based in Palo Alto, while also managing GG HIVE LLC, a software development company that she created with a fellow boot camp alum. She knows that with her drive for excellence and her family supporting her, she can accomplish anything. 

Reflecting on her educational experience, Vesna had these words of wisdom for prospective boot camp students: “ Don’t be afraid, and never give up. Everything is achievable if you give it time and effort. And if you’re ever struggling, reach out to the TA or instructor for help.” 

Have you been looking to pivot to a new career in tech? Check out Berkeley Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity and more to get started in your new career.

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