Women in Tech Global Conference Voices 2022 Speaker Svava Bjarnadóttir

As a backend developer and Tech Lead at Picnic, Svava Bjarnadóttir is responsible for the Runner App and its related tools, which Picnic’s delivery drivers use to help provide Picnic’s world-class last-mile service.

Svava is passionate about all the ways that tech intersects with the human elements, whether that is in providing excellent service to users, working on the most efficient processes within her team, or striving to improve diversity and inclusion within tech.

Especially for the WomenTech Network, Svava agreed to give an interview and share her story.


🎤 In her #WTGC2022 session "Getting More Women Into Tech Leadership Roles at Picnic (And Beyond)", Svava Bjarnadóttir will share the actions Picnic has taken to increase the share of women in leadership whilst building a fair and standardized selections process, and some personal stories of her own path to becoming a Tech Lead at Picnic.


Are you excited to be among the speakers at the Women in Tech Global Conference 2022 and what motivated you to join our community of 100 000 women in tech, minorities, and allies?

I am very excited to be speaking at the Women in Tech Global Conference! It will be my first time speaking at a conference so I am also a bit nervous, but thankfully I have had plenty of opportunities at my company to practice my public speaking skills. 


Share with us about your background, your journey in tech, and what inspired you to develop your career in this direction?

Growing up, I was always very interested in mathematics and science. My mom is an engineer and my dad is a mathematician working in software, and they both encouraged me and my sisters to go into STEM fields, although it turns out I was the only one of the three of us who ended up there (my sisters are both very accomplished in the artistic field).

In high school, I then decided to try a programming course, which introduced some Java basics. I absolutely loved that course, it was the most fun thing I'd ever done in school. At that moment my future was decided, and after a gap year, I enrolled in Computer Science at university. After my bachelor's, I worked for a year for a Microsoft-focused consultancy in Iceland, after which I moved to the Netherlands to obtain a master's degree in CS. I wrote my master thesis as an intern at Picnic Technologies and after graduation, I joined Picnic as a full-time backend developer!

One and a half years later I moved to the position of tech lead of the Runner App team, which builds the technology our delivery drivers use to perform their work (at Picnic we like to build as much in-house as we can!). During my time at Picnic, I've been involved in many projects and initiatives, both inside my team and outside. One of the things I'm most proud of is organizing sessions and workshops for the women in the tech team where we have chances to practice our presentation skills, learn new skills, get to know one another, and build a caring community. My goal in my career is to always give myself time to work on initiatives like that, so I'm super happy to be speaking at this conference about diversity and inclusion topics!


Who would you advise to attend the Women in Tech Global Conference and why?

I would advise anyone within tech to join who wants to learn about the challenges women face in tech, how we can overcome or eliminate these challenges and build an inclusive environment for everyone. The tech industry has amazing potential for improving the lives of people, everyone should get a fair chance at helping to contribute to that!