Text: Maris Hellrand

Many professionals end up joining tech companies that service international markets and offer opportunities for career growth. And it has been a match made in heaven – the companies claim that their hires have turned out to be very hard-working and dedicated, as well as good communicators and team workers. Albeit the tech field is stereotypically associated with mainly male talent, several Brazilian female specialists that have moved to Estonia prove that there is more than enough space for anyone that is prepared and dedicated. The following four stories of brave Brazilian women, who changed their (and their whole families’) lives in order to continue their careers in Estonia, illustrate just that.

Former teacher has it all in Estonia

Quite like Gabriela, Diana Cavalcanti, who has a PhD in software engineering, found herself in Estonia by coincidence. She was a teacher in the field of technology, dreaming of international experience as a software developer. Then, in 2018, she saw a video on YouTube about Brazilians who had travelled to Estonia.

“I knew nothing about Estonia or its employment market at the time, but got interested and started to research it,” explains Diana. Soon after, she started applying for jobs with Estonian companies, when finally, in November 2019, she accepted an offer from the company GameSys.

Gabriela Strautmann studied tourism in Brazil and has worked in the field of customer support for thirteen years now. In 2017, after having returned to Brazil from a four-year-stay in Ireland, Gabriela began to look for new employment opportunities abroad.

She quickly stumbled upon the company TransferWise and her mind was made – Gabriela, her husband, and 11-month-old baby were going to move to Estonia. “As a matter of fact, I did not choose Estonia but the company I wanted to work for. I targeted companies which I thought might offer more opportunities to grow,” she explains.

At TransferWise, Gabriela took on the job of Portuguese-language Customer Support Agent. It did not take long for her to be promoted to specialist, first, and then even further to Team Lead sometime after that.

Gabriela’s husband Pedro, who is a construction engineer, found a job shortly after moving to Estonia as well. “Pedro said he would send out his resume to a few places. The following week he already received three invitations for job interviews and was basically immediately employed as a construction engineer by an Estonian company,” Strautmann is happy to report.

What is it like for a woman to work in Estonia? Gabriela says that it is quite similar to Scandinavia. “There is gender equality,” she says. “You see men pushing prams on the streets, doing household work and fathers who stay at home with their children so that their wives can return to their careers.”

“At first, it was all new and unfamiliar. Estonia is not a place people usually go to. But I was not only looking for a job, I wanted new experience and to explore a new culture,” she explains.

Today Cavalcanti works as a software engineer and, overall, her experience has been positive: “I have everything here – a safe environment and a job I like and feel challenged by.”

Diana admits that there are mostly men working in her company today, but more ‘talented girls’ are set to join the company as testers and developers soon. “Women take on challenges and follow through. They do not want to fail, and they always try their best,” she claims.

What Diana likes most about living in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). , is the fact that the services here are of high quality but it is still a small and cosy town by world standards. In her spare time, she likes to enjoy Estonian nature and culture. Diana was surprised by the high level of public e-services, the fresh air and clean nature. In addition, life in Estonia is affordable, the architecture diverse, and the package terminals of the post service ‘very cool’.

What Diana misses the most, however, is getting more integrated in Estonian society. Currently, she worries about not easily meeting people and making friends.

Nevertheless, Diana has a clear and simple message for Brazilians come and work in Estonia, you will not regret it. Fortunately, more and more of her fellow citizens are discovering it.

Raquel Pontes: More time for personal life

Milena Nogueira Apolinário Armando, a supply chain professional from the state of São Paulo, took similar advice to Diana’s from a friend that visited her and her husband Fabiano in 2017. Her friend happened to live in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). at the time. This visit changed Milena and Fabiano’s lives.

“We wanted international experience, but we were not brave enough to leave our jobs,” admits Milena who already had 15 years of work experience at the time. Her friend’s detailed account of Estonia, however, made the couple very curious. “We thought, now is as good as ever!” she recalls.

Milena then applied for jobs in Estonia via Glassdoor and was hired as customer support by TransferWise. She arrived in Estonia two months later and became team leader within seven months. Milena’s husband Fabiano also quickly found work in the IT field in Estonia. Today, Milena has returned to her original area of expertise – supply chain – working for Jeld-Wen, a multinational industry in the building products sector.

“Here in Estonia, I can plan my own work and have more time for my personal life,” Milena says. She is currently the company’s Northern-European demand planner. Her main task is to lead the demand planning process. Together with colleagues, she analyses data from the past, market trends, competition activity, the status of economies, etc. to determine the company’s sales forecast.

“I really like living in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). . It is a beautiful town. We feel safe here. There is a great selection of bars, restaurants, pubs, cafes and, in addition, you are surrounded by nature. It is a privilege to live in the city and at the same time so close to the natural environment,” she says. Milena also likes the changing of the four seasons that she can experience in their full beauty in Estonia.

The only thing that bothers Milena, since she really misses her family, is the fact that there are no direct flights from Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). to Brazil. She has thought about moving closer to her homeland but changed her mind every time.

Milena says she recommends Estonia to Brazilians, but that the latter need to have an open mind since it is a fact that we are very different. “That being said, it is in Estonia where I feel more comfortable to work and where my intellectual freedom is respected.”

“I find it great that we are different, even opposites,” she says. “Estonians usually have a full plan ready to go, whereas Brazilians are always ready for surprises with a plan B up their sleeve. So, when we work together, we can move mountains,” she adds. In addition, laughter and humour are guaranteed.

Pipedrive employs more than 20 Brazilians

For the Estonian company Pipedrive, Brazil has been among the three largest markets over the years. It is therefore no wonder that they also employ many Brazilians who work in the Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). office. Among them, there are developers, customer support staff and Brazilian Portuguese language content producers.

Mariliis Beger, Communication Manager of the company says that the Brazilians in Estonia have a very unified and supportive community. As their hearts beat in the rhythm of football and they cannot live without good quality meat, they organise various joint football evenings and grill parties.

“The biggest cultural difference between Estonians and Brazilians is perhaps the fact that, at meetings, Estonians greet each other and proceed to the topics on the table, whereas Brazilians first talk about their families, weather and weekend activities. Only then does business become relevant. But, on the whole, they are very hardworking people and always put their hearts into everything they do,” says Beger.

Raquel Pontes, who has worked nearly two and a half years at Pipedrive as Content Manager of Portuguese language markets, found the job by chance in a Facebook group for translators.

“At first, Estonians and Brazilians are totally different people and it is complicated to see any similarities. Whereas it is common in Brazil to be friends after five minutes, sharing details of private lives; this does not easily happen with Estonians and this in itself is not bad at all. Estonians need time ‘to melt’ and, when you get to know people better, you’ll realise that they are in fact very warm and friendly people,” she says.

Bringing more women into IT

In Amanda Souza’s case it was her husband Victor Nogueira, a software engineer and game developer, who found work in Estonia first.

However, Amanda, who had worked for years as a software developer in Brazil, received an offer to become DevOps engineer at Veriff Veriff is a global identity verification service company founded and headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia. a mere two weeks later. To date, Amanda has moved on to the Microsoft Development Centre Estonia where she works as Site Reliability Engineer.

Increased interest on both sides

“I come from a very poor family where my mom had to work very hard in order to earn a tiny salary. I took the responsibility of taking care of my brothers,” Amanda says. Nevertheless, education was always a priority. “My mother always said that studying hard would give me the best chance to achieve success one day,” she recalls.

And so it has. Now, in addition to her full-time job, Amanda actively participates in projects linked to bringing more women like herself into the IT world.

“At one point, during my studies, I changed my IT-course to nursing, because I believed the IT industry was only for men,” uncovers Amanda the reasons behind her mission. “But after a semester in nursing school, I decided to come back to IT and change this mindset,” she adds.

“Some mindsets need change to break down the unconscious gender bias and promote further equality of women in IT,” she says.

“I also joined Microsoft through a project which helps women to enter the field of IT,” adds Amanda. More women feeling empowered and entering the tech sector is definitely a welcome and globally growing trend in her opinion.

According to Work in Estonia’s Client Relations Manager Grete Soares de Camargo, a growing number of Estonian companies welcome skilled specialists, both women and men, to their teams. Brazilian IT specialists are a great example of those that have done really well here. “The cultural fit is quite good, Brazilians are hardworking but also great communicators,” explains Grete. “According to Estonian employers, the recruited specialists have proved to be skilled, flexible and ambitious professionals, while also approachable and easy to work with as people.”

“What is more, we have noticed that there is growing interest among Brazilian talent to find out more about Estonia, what it is like to live and work here. Good news travels fast, the positive experiences that professionals like Gabriela, Milena, Amanda, Diana and many others have had here definitely serve as examples and further inspiration to other capable talent from around the world looking for a new professional challenge, good quality of life and overall opportunities for themselves and their families.”

The Work in Estonia initiative is the connector that helps the talent and Estonian companies find each other more easily.

The article was published first in Life in Estonia.

Edited for web by eesti.life.