Spotlight: Ella Meta

From blog coding to Dubai

At the age of 12, Ella Meta had already decided that coding was something she could learn. Today, she works as a Pims developer on a major project in Dubai.

Ella Meta has always set herself big goals, and now she's enjoying a project in Dubai for Omega 365.

The city of Dubai has made an impression on Ella, who enjoys the international challenges as a system developer. 

The contrast between Stavanger and Dubai is huge, and Ella Meta believes that the city itself has changed her.

“I love being here, the dream is that more projects will emerge down here. And who knows: maybe Omega 365 could open a branch in Dubai? That would be something,” she says smiling.

In Dubai, Ella works with development and consulting in Pims systems. In the project she is deployed on, Pims is used for everything from reporting, planning to project management. When there is a need for new modules, or bugs arise, they come to Ella and her colleagues from Omega 365. 

“My job is to assess what they need and provide it for them. It is a fast-paced environment here, much faster than back home, but I enjoy the pressure that arises when tasks need to be completed. Fortunately, there are many Norwegians here too, so we can support each other through the challenges we encounter.”

Ella is focused on aiming high, and no goals are too big or too far away. 

“I've always looked up to my father, whose motto is that as long as he can survive, he'll do what he wants to do. You know, shoot for the moon, land on the stars.”

Coded her own blog

Ella Meta has been fascinated by the city of Dubai, a place she would like to stay for many years.

It all started when Ella was 12 years old and living with her parents in Stavanger. She had started a blog, and the goal of becoming an influencer was the big dream.

“Everyone wanted a blog that stood out a bit, and so did I. I knew there were some girls who got their parents to buy development services from a company. But I knew it cost a lot of money,” she recalls, thinking back to when she positioned her parents on the couch and had the pitch ready to persuade them to “invest in her career,” as she calls it. 

“Of course, they said no, they are not stupid. They probably had more sensible things to spend money on.”

Therefore, Ella was left without money but with an equally big goal of making her blog unique. It did not take her long to realize that she had to take matters into her own hands, quite literally.  

“I guess I thought that if someone else could do this, then I could too. How hard could it be?”

She gained access to the code, which at first glance appeared to be a jumble of numbers and letters. Ella sat down and read, trying to find patterns she recognized. She replaced the word “pink” with the word “red,” and sure enough: the page changed color. H1 turned out to give large text, and when she replaced “left” with “right,” something happened on the page as well. In a small notebook, she wrote down all the lines she began to understand, and what happened when she made changes in the code.

Changed course of study

Ella mastered the code, and eventually, the blog took on a new form. 

“But I never dared to tell my friends that I had done it myself; I said that my mom and dad had paid for it. It sounded better.”

As time went on, coding became a hobby, but never something she thought she could make a living from later on. Back home in Stavanger, she chose to study economics, mainly because it sounded sensible. 

“I quickly realized that it was not the right fit for me. The idea of coding resurfaced when a friend complained about her mother suggesting she study IT, citing the many exciting job opportunities in the industry. It then occurred to me that coding could actually be useful for something.”

Ella dropped out of university and set a new goal for herself. She had planned to study IT, but the pandemic halted those plans. Reflecting on her situation, Ella thought, “Many people work in this field without formal qualifications; I can do it too.” She decided to work full-time at an eyewear store, aiming to develop her skills as a system developer in her spare time and eventually present herself to potential employers.

Landed her dream job

After a year working in the store and taking courses from Harvard, Ella felt ready to fully commit to system development. A few months after making this decision, she stumbled upon a job advertisement from Omega 365 on Finn.no, a popular Norwegian marketplace used for a variety of purposes, including job postings. This particular advertisement caught her eye and sparked her curiosity as she was focused on expanding her portfolio. She thought, “Why not apply and see what happens?”

“I chuckled to myself when I applied and sent in my CV, but I thought to myself that if I do not apply, I definitely won’t have any chances. After that, I put it out of my mind and forgot about the whole thing, until one day, while doing the dishes, my phone rang.”

“It was Omega 365, asking if we could have a chat. They wanted to know if I was truly interested in coding, and it is evident from my whole being that this is what I want to work with. They chose to give me a chance, and it was absolutely fantastic,” she says.

She started at the Stavanger office and spent the first few weeks feeling like she had landed her dream job. She highlights Department Manager Arild Røksund and colleague Rune Skogen as two of those who contributed to the smooth transition. 

“I did not fully grasp that someone would actually pay me to work with this. The idea of attending meetings, having my own PC, and my own workspace was a bit surreal.”

Colleague and Pims coordinator Rune Skogen is impressed by what Ella has achieved in a short time. 

“She is the only one working with Pims support in Dubai and is the first-line support when something happens. She handles this superbly, she is always positive, and she never says no to anything. I think she is going to go far; it is a lot about being in the right place at the right time and taking the opportunities that come your way,” says Rune, who, after about 15 years of travel jobs, still enjoys being out on assignments.

“We have a great team here in Dubai, and once you have got a taste for traveling on projects, it is hard to stop,” he believes.

In love with Dubai

The professional challenges in Dubai are in line for Ella Meta, which she enjoys very much.

After the initial start, Ella’s career advancements have followed one after the other. She was given the opportunity to work on a project when the team leader took paternity leave, marking yet another transition.

“It was completely different to be out on a project in the customer’s offices than to be inside the safe environment of Omega 365. But once again, I thought: if others can do this, then so can I. And it quickly became very enjoyable to work so closely with customers and see that what we were doing was helpful for them.”

She found her place in her hometown, bought an apartment and a car, and thought she would stay there for a while. However, it did not last long.

“Suddenly, I was asked to travel to Dubai. It all happened so quickly; I had to rent out the apartment before I even had a chance to move in. I'm incredibly grateful for this opportunity; traveling for work is a dream come true for me. And Omega 365 has been exceptional at looking after us during these trips, whether it's providing emotional support, practical assistance, or financial aid. Help is always available.”

“I have completely fallen in love with Dubai, and it is amazing to gain insights into new cultures, ways of life, and mindsets. Friends who come to visit me here say I have changed; there is less of the “law of Jante” here, and I am probably not as shy anymore. It is surrealistically beautiful here, with lovely people and a warm culture; it suits me well.”

Here are some glimpses of everyday life in Dubai.