The University alumni often give interviews telling about the role that VSU has played in their life and career, and about the skills required from specialists in a certain area. This time we interviewed Sergey Chistyakov, graduate of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics, Director of OOO "Just So Soft".
– Why did you choose to study at Voronezh State University?
– “I decided that I wanted to be a programmer when I was in the sixth form at school, and there was only one place you could study programming – at the Faculty of Applied Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics, so I practically had no choice. There were some doubts later, of course. I was thinking of becoming a builder or an economist, but, fortunately, I didn't change my mind. By the way, I now apply my interest in building and construction at my summer cottage. VSU is, no doubt, the best university in Voronezh and in the whole Black Soil Region, so, unless you want to move to Moscow or St. Petersburg, the choice is a simple one.”
– You got a Vladimir Potanin Scholarship when you were a student. Could you tell us more about this?
– Yes, I acquired the Scholarship. To tell the truth I only managed to do this at the second attempt. And I am still not sure what my opinion is. I took part in the competition when I was a third year student. It was then something really important for me, like a dream. But I failed. When I was a fourth year student, I started working at DataArt - then a small branch in Voronezh with just over 20 employees. It was an interesting job, but you have to grow up fast when you start working. Soon I got married. I changed a lot after that, so when I took part in the Scholarship competition for the second time, I knew what behaviour pattern to choose, and that is how I finally got the scholarship.”
– What was the beginning of your career?
– “As I've said, I started working at DataArt when I was a fourth year student. This is a great company and it is eager to finance various training courses for its employees. I am really grateful, because the company helped me to develop as a professional. When I came there, I worked as an assistant, and when I left after six years, I was a Senior Developer/Team Lead. The company also changed a lot over these six years. It had to extend to remain competitive, and the atmosphere changed a lot – it is no longer a nice little Voronezh branch, but a huge organisation with the number of employees increasing all the time. So the company matured, became more experienced in managing so many people and issues. The mechanism of such growth is simple – you get more official rules and regulations. Work in large service companies depends a lot on the kind of project. And there are two types of projects – so called fixed price and dedicated team. The first type includes projects with fixed deadline and price. Working on such projects can be stressful with crunches and loads of work, but it is exiting. The second type means that the client gets a team for an undetermined period and sets tasks himself. Such projects are quite normal, there are rarely any surprises. I took part in five or six projects of both types before I got to a long-term dedicated team. After the crisis, such projects were quite popular; they gave stability, stable income. But I quickly got bored.”
– What was the next step in your career?
– “I worked for some time in another Voronezh company as a Java trainer. The whole team had always worked with a competing platform .NET, but they won a tender for a Java project. So I told them how to do the same things on Java. I hope I managed to help. I know that some of them keep working on Java. Then I became a mentor of the trainee programme. It was interesting to teach others what I had learned myself. Then my group mate and I launched our own project and worked on it in our free time. It was an Internet-service that quickly became popular and brought in good money. But it required more and more time and effort. So I took a two-month holiday from work, and then I quit. But we are still friends with DataArt. I love this company and often visit the office. So, there was one project, then another, and yet another. We tried various spheres – Internet-service and mobile games. Sometimes, when we were short of money, we worked on the side, took some orders, but then we learned to manage without it. Unfortunately, this business model is based on contextual advertising. As the advertising market has decreased recently, we have to go back to the service model.”
– You are now also a lecturer at VSU. What made you come back to your alma mater?
– “I've been teaching Android programming for three years now. I missed the university a lot, so when my friends invited me to teach a new course at the Faculty, I decided to try. So here I am. This year we introduce a new course on the problems of mobile platforms security.”
– What would you advise those who are now just starting their career as programmers?
– You should remember that 90% of the programmer's work is just routine, dull and boring. But even then you can show you talent and creativity. This is how you become not just a coder, translating to the programming language, but a Programmer, with a large P, a person always eager for improvement. And as soon as you've learned something new and useful, tell your colleagues and friends about this! There should be people whom you've helped and who can back you up. The IT-world is a small one, and these people will help you move on. There is no leader without a team.”