After working as a quality assurance analyst for a major publishing company for a few years, Bayan Zhumanova was ready for a change. Her goal? To find a position at a small yet growing company, ideally within the finance industry. “I had never had a chance to work in that field, but I’ve always been interested in it,” she says.
Throughout her job search, Yieldstreet—an online platform that offers alternative investment options—came up multiple times, and Zhumanova liked what she read about the opportunities and upward mobility that it provided as a fast-growing startup. In February 2022, she joined the company as a senior quality assurance analyst.
“My core responsibilities are to make sure that web and mobile applications function as expected and users’ experience is smooth and friendly,” she says.
Here, Zhumanova shares how Yieldstreet encourages all employees to bring their ideas to the table, how being a mom helps her in her role, and why having strong communication skills can lead to success.
How did you prepare for your interview with Yieldstreet?
The process was easy, quick, and straightforward. I went to Yieldstreet.com to get more information about the company and installed the mobile app to get a deeper knowledge of the product. The interview questions focused on technical and personal social skills. It was an amazing experience.
Why is Yieldstreet an exciting place to work, especially within the fields of tech and engineering?
Yieldstreet is a great place to work for people who enjoy the growth journey. Everyone is encouraged to bring their ideas to the table. There aren’t strict rules, and individuals and teams always have the opportunity to offer something new. We can try and fail, then start again tomorrow, fail the day after tomorrow, learn from our mistakes and improve. Throughout the process, you can gain new skills and expose new talents—and then finally succeed and share your joy and knowledge with others. I believe that when you enjoy the journey you are guaranteed to get to the destination.
What skills or lessons from motherhood can also be applied to career?
Being a mom of two gives me a daily reminder to never stop being curious about things around me. Kids' brains are amazing and generate a thousand questions per minute: why, where, how, when, who, what for, for how long, etc. All these questions drive your mind to get answers, and after you get answers, you gain knowledge—and new knowledge equals development.
How have you been able to set boundaries between your work and home life?
I know that it's tough to be a mom and full-time worker. I use an approach where work time is when I don’t have to focus on my household and family routine. When I’m with my family, I try to forget about issues that I encountered during work hours. I set up my phone so work notifications are off after 6PM and any social or family-related notifications are off during working hours.
What makes Yieldstreet an especially great place for parents?
Yieldstreet has unlimited PTO, which is really great, and parents know why. When you have kids and one of them gets sick, there’s a 110% chance that another will get sick, too. Doctors appointments take a lot of time, so being able to take time off when necessary is a huge perk! Other great benefits are 12 weeks of paid maternity leave at your full salary and “summer Fridays,” when the work day ends at 2PM.
What’s one positive change you’ve made to your workday routine since the pandemic?
During the pandemic, I started to think about how I could improve aspects of both my work and family life. One change I made was I started to work on those small, not-so-important things that had been piling up on my to-do list forever. I would dedicate about 30 to 60 minutes a week to them. It doesn’t seem like much time, but it really helped me figure out all the small issues. Small things are also important, and we shouldn't underestimate them.
What advice do you have for women looking to follow a similar career path as yours?
I would talk with several people who work in this field and ask them to explain what they do, their daily routine, their responsibilities, and what they like the most—and least—about their role. I would do that before you start investing your time and money into something you’re not sure you want to pursue. I think this advice works for every career path.
My second piece of advice would be don't hesitate to ask questions. You might think a question is silly or someone will think you’re stupid for asking it. There is only one silly question: the one you had but didn’t ask!
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
My first manager once stressed the importance of social skills, and how they can help you land any position you want. He said that no matter how strong your technical skills are, what’s more important is being able to communicate with others. So much of work is talking, chatting, and asking questions, and you want this communication to be pleasant and friendly.
I remember my manager saying, “I can teach you all the technical details and share my knowledge, and you will pick it up eventually. But one skill that no one can teach you is how to communicate. It's something that you are born with or you develop it in yourself.”