Working at CERN is a unique and fantastic adventure.

Working at CERN is a unique and fantastic adventure.

As a computer scientist, it's one of the best places to be.

Meet Mary, software engineer on the CERN graduate "fellowship" programme. Inspired? Take part. Fine out more here.

Hi Mary, Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to CERN?

Hello, I'm Mary, and I work as a fellow software engineer for the Authorization and Authentication Team. I come from Athens, Greece, and I have a Bachelor's and Master's degree from the Department of Informatics of Athens University of Economics and Business. 

While I was in the last year of my studies, I searched for internships abroad. A couple of colleagues who had already been at CERN told me about their experience, so I decided to apply, and I was fortunate to be chosen for a technical internship! 

What do you do at CERN today? 

Currently, I am part of a fantastic team of six engineers working on developing the new Authorization and Authentication infrastructure of CERN. 

What is working at CERN like for you? 

Working at CERN is a unique and fantastic adventure. As a computer scientist, it's one of the best places to be; the infrastructure is massive with thousands of users, and you get to be the first to see and test new technologies. Additionally, I get to collaborate and learn from people who are at the top of their field. It's a place where you get to deal with unique technical challenges that help you gain valuable experience as a professional. At the same time, you also grow as a person while being in an international environment, learning to communicate effectively with people of different fields and cultural backgrounds. 

What have been the main hurdles or challenges you encountered along the way? 

When I arrived at CERN, I was not speaking French. So the main challenge for me was dealing with everyday life tasks due to the language barrier like doing the groceries or going to the dentist. But thankfully, my French speaking colleagues were more than happy to help with the language where possible, and additionally, CERN offered me French courses. So after a year, I was good to go! 

What advice would you give potential applicants? 

Thinking of applying to CERN might be intimidating and ambitious. I personally still cannot believe I am here. But in the end, the key to everything is being passionate about what you are doing and persistent. 
CERN offers opportunities for different fields, so even if you are not a physicist, do not hesitate to apply! In the end, what's the worst that can happen? :)