ITSkills4U: From dentistry to IT

by Ryan Murray | on
headshot of Anna Malanchuk

Anna Malanchuk

Anna Malanchuk spent seven years in her native Lviv, Ukraine training as a dentist. As the child of two doctors, a career in healthcare seemed a natural choice. She had almost completed her training when the war broke out in Ukraine in February 2022.

Together with her mother, 15-year-old brother, and Norwegian husband, Anna fled first to Norway, and then to Portugal, where her husband was able to find a job. Her time away from home forced Anna to reflect on her future. “Being unable to work as a dentist outside of Ukraine made me face a truth I’d been avoiding – which is that dentistry wasn’t the right profession for me.”

Determined to make a new start, Anna decided to explore a career in IT.

“I’d always heard how hard it was. I never thought I could do programming. But I thought – why not just try it?” She first came across a program called “SheCodes,” which was offering lessons for women interested in learning coding. Later, she saw a LinkedIn post from an acquaintance about the Amazon Web Services ITSkills4U program, which was offering Amazon Web Services Cloud training for free to Ukrainian refugees. Anna decided to go for it and signed up for the training course to prepare for the Amazon Web Services Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.

The course work seemed a little intimidating at first because Anna was only starting in IT, but she persevered. “Actually, once you start studying it and concentrate, it all starts making sense. It wasn’t scary anymore,” said Anna. After the week-long training, by studying consistently for an hour or two each day, she was able to prepare for the Amazon Web Services Certified Cloud Practitioner exam and pass it. She decided to keep expanding her cloud skills and is now focused on obtaining her Amazon Web Services Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification with ITSkills4U.

In parallel with her studies with ITSkills4U, Anna found remote work at Web3 Berlin, an event organizing company, where she works as a Partnership Manager. She’s also begun working for a volunteer organization that’s allowed her to directly apply her new Amazon Web Services Cloud skills.

Project Immortal honors fallen Ukrainian heroes by putting QR codes on their graves. This allows visitors to scan the code and learn more about the soldier and the sacrifice they made.” Anna is helping the organization in many ways, but was especially excited to use her new cloud knowledge to help improve how they handle data storage.

Living outside of Ukraine and away from her family has been tough for Anna, and there are moments when she’s felt powerless and unsure of what to do with her life. “I think Lviv is the best city in the world. It has a special soul. It’s so difficult to be away. There are moments when I wonder if I’ll ever have my old life back.”

Taking full advantage of the opportunities she’s been given is an important way she copes with the challenges of life as a refugee, and allows her to focus both on her own personal growth and on helping her country during an incredibly difficult time.

“For my fellow Ukrainians, I suggest taking advantage of opportunities like ITSkills4U. If you want to do it but you’re hesitating, it means you should do it. It helped me find my job and to better help my country. I’m so grateful and want to thank everyone who is working on this and offering these opportunities.”

Developed by Amazon Web Services, ITSkills4U is a free, cloud computing workforce development program for Ukrainians. The comprehensive program offers self-paced learning, Amazon Web Services instructor-led training, exam preparation, language classes, and career support services. With a diverse enrollment of IT professionals, individuals with some experience, and those with no IT background, the program has garnered support from the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine and the Polish Government. More than 40 Amazon Web Services customers and Amazon Web Services Partners serve as ITSkills4U employment partners, and ITSkills4U works alongside education institutions, Amazon Web Services Training Partners, and Amazon Web Services re/Start collaborating organizations to deliver the curriculum. The program is funded by Amazon Web Services with contributions from donors, and led in partnership with Polish NGO ZPP. Learn more .