Inspirational Woman: Victoria Trofimova | CEO and Co-Founder of Nordcurrent

Victoria Trofimova is the CEO and co-founder of Nordcurrent, the first gaming studio in Lithuania.

Victoria’s career in games began at university when she, alongside her now husband, Michail and his brother developed their first game Santa Claus Saves the Earth, which Telegames published on Playstation and Game Boy Advance.

Two decades later, Victoria has led her team of over 150 employees to develop and publish games with hundreds of millions of downloads across multiple platforms.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role?

My name is Victoria, and I’m the CEO of Nordcurrent, a video game company based in Vilnius, Lithuania. I’m also one of the co-founders of the company, together with my husband and his brother. We found Nordcurrent around 20 years ago. It was our childhood dream, and we’ve been making games ever since. Initially, I was responsible for all sales, marketing, and administration when it was a smaller company. Now the company consists of over 250 people, with four studios in three countries. My role is to oversee everything in general, the strategic direction of the company, and key communications.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes and no. I studied economics in university because I wanted a general education that would give me a good background. I never expected to work as an economist. And overall, only a small percentage of economics graduates chose to work in this field. So it’s a good, general, well-grounded degree to study. However, I was always interested in games, and as a child, I used to go with my dad to the university where he was working; at the time, there were computers where we could go and play what now would look like very old games *chuckles*. So I joined my passion for games with business, and my first challenge and task was to find a publisher for our first game. It was a crucial step as we were still in university at the time, and if we could secure the publishing deal for our first game, with that money, we could open our own company and continue to pursue making games.

On the contrary, if that didn’t work out, we would have to go and find jobs. As children, we only knew we wanted to make games; we didn’t expect our dream to grow into this big company. We faced many challenges along the way, but we always had a passion for video games and always enjoyed making them, and that’s where our interests lie. Everything else just came from that. Even to this day, when asked, “What do we want to do? “we say, “We want to make games that are played by people worldwide.”

Have you faced any career challenges along the way, and how did you overcome these?

We were console developers for a very long time and made games for other publishers. That’s how we spent quite a few years in the beginning. We decided to make our own games and not just games for other companies. That was one of the bigger challenges. There came a time when the smartphone market appeared, and we saw it as an opportunity, and we were very successful in entering that market in the beginning. We had a hit game on console, “101-in-1 “, that we brought into smartphones. That was a huge success. Even though, at first, we weren’t sure if it was the right decision. So after that, we developed Cooking Fever. Now it’s over eight years old and still popular. Today we have many other successful games, such as Murder in the Alps, Pocket Styler, Airplane Chefs, Sniper Arena, Happy Clinic, and so on. I am very pleased that they are all so different from one another too.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

The biggest achievement is that we’ve come a long way from only three people to a company of over 250 with four offices in three countries. We have several very successful games in different genres in our portfolio. We build a very creative and friendly workplace, which is my biggest achievement.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your achieving success?

Hard work and passion. Being fearless in following our dreams and taking the opportunity as it presents itself.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

There are many good general qualities, but the most important is to work hard for what you want to achieve, always be open to new things, and learn. Because everything in life changes fast, and you must always stay on top of trends and changes.

What barriers for women working in tech, are still to be overcome?

The biggest barrier lies in education and game design, an attractive career path. Even in schools, it should be promoted more that this is a valid career choice and a rapidly growing and exciting industry. Even though now gaming industry is bigger than the film industry, only a few people are aware of that. So there is still that stereotype that it’s not a serious field to start a career in. It leads to women not seeing the potential in this industry at a young age and lacking the knowledge to consider this a valid option for a future career. I feel like that’s where the problem lies. Universities still attract more men than women to technological fields. However, because nowadays gaming is such a popular hobby and more and more women spend a portion of their time playing, it becomes naturally more known that there is such a career path as an option.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

The best way to support women in technology would be to show good examples of women who excel in their chosen sectors, not necessarily in leading positions but in something they are passionate about. To share their success stories, positive experiences, and excitement. Gender doesn’t impact the decision when hiring. What matters is the applicant’s personality, if they are a kind and good person, and their skills.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

In an ideal world, I think, since tech is very education driven, it’s very important that schools would be more innovative. For example, programming should be available as a subject everywhere, and opportunities to learn more about what it’s like to work in the technology sector should be available for everyone. And let’s not forget that it should be accessible to all genders. This would generate more future applicants and employees.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Sometimes we have role models in our immediate environment. We find them in our friends, family or other relatives. Then, some well-known people inspire us with their success stories. I get inspired by other women. And there are a few women in tech that are still inspiring me to this day. But it doesn’t mean that only famous women inspire. It’s always interesting to read other women’s success stories in different fields and to learn how they achieved their goals. So there is no one answer. It strongly depends on your role model and which platforms they use to share their experiences and knowledge.