Michaela Featured

Ozobot Engineer Spotlight: Michaela Maršálková

Michaela Maršálková is a Javascript developer who focuses on maintaining and developing the Ozobot Blockly web editor. Among other projects, Michaela has been a key contributor to Ozobot Classroom.

She holds a MSc. in Mathematical Statistics from Charles University in Prague, and formerly worked as an analyst in a government statistical office before she left to pursue her lifelong interest in programming. Michaela is also a mother to a one year old girl named Emílie. Read on to hear more about how she got started as an engineer and the fun things she does to stay creative outside of the workplace!

On what sparked her interest in programming…

My father was always into gadgets, so we have had a computer since I was little. The first one was a Didaktik Gama (Czech clone of Sinclair ZX Spectrum) – instead of a monitor it had to be connected to a TV, and programs were loaded from a cassette recorder. 

One of the tapes contained Karel – an educational programming language where the user controls a robot on the screen. I was interested in Karel, played with him and read some instructional books about the language. 

I didn’t continue with programming at that time, but it gave me such a good basic understanding that I never considered programming a problem when it came up later – it obviously was something I could do. The concepts were still the same.

How she’s being creative outside of work… 

I’m writing a text game (in Inform 7, which is a language for creating interactive fiction). It’s about observing animals in a backyard and it’s specifically designed to make my husband smile. He’s my dedicated beta-tester and he loves small critters. 

At the moment I’m also knitting a winter hat for my daughter, hopefully she’ll consider actually wearing it…

I also help organize a night puzzle hunt. It’s scheduled for next summer, so we’re ramping up and creating and solving each other’s puzzles. It’s great fun!

On her biggest challenge of her career…

I hadn’t worked as a developer before Ozobot. I don’t have a formal education in CS either – my background is in Math – Statistics to be precise. I did have experience with coding, both in school and in previous work, but it still was daunting. I’ve never worked on a big coding project and that was actually something I wanted to try, since there are obviously some aspects that you can’t really experience from small hobby projects. I had to learn a lot of things quickly and it was great fun.

Why she loves working at Ozobot… 

I love that we’re developing an actual physical product, and such a cute little guy to boot! The environment in the company is also very friendly, and we have various people working together on various things. Folks don’t have to keep to their little sandboxes but get to branch out and sometimes even move completely sideways. There’s always something new.

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