19 years in one language. The story of how the Olympiad from Belarus became C ++ Chief Software Architect

    It seems that Crossover has become a tradition of announcing its career tournaments , talking about people who are already working in the specialization that will be selected. But today's case is special: although the “fitting” for the role of Chief Software Architect takes place in Moscow on April 7, our “Chief Software Architect of the day” does not even live in Russia, but in the republic neighboring for default habranation. Apparently, that’s why Crossover suggested I interview him - maybe they hoped for some special Belarusian perspective in the conversation between two Belarusians, two Minskers and two freelancers?

    However, this is now Sergey rsergeStag lives and works in Minsk. The future Chief Software Architect of the company was born in the ten-thousandth town of the Deep Vitebsk province, in the underbelly of the Braslav Lakes - and this series of toponyms as if carries itself further, somewhere towards the Fangorn forest lying in the spurs of the Misty Mountains ...

    Raise your hands, who wants to Braslav Lakes more than Chicago?

    ... only Sergei, after the ninth grade, entered the lyceum at BSU - one of the most prestigious schools in Belarus at the country's main university. Studying there in 2001-2003 was not boring for anyone: the BSU abbreviation rumbled as the name of one of the funniest KVN teams in history, and Sergei got into the four senior students representing Belarus at the International Programming Contest for two years in a row.

    "In principle, I do not think that a strong programmer must be a strong mathematician."

    “In 2002, we flew to Korea, in 2003 to the USA. A group of four - but we were not a team. Teams act at the university. At school olympiads, usually everyone is for himself. ”

    Both times the program of the Olympiad was classical: the chosen programming language had to solve the set algorithmic problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    “Many participants then used pascal, but I preferred C ++, whom I met back in 1999 and on which, by the way, I still write,” says Sergey Rogach, C ++ Chief Software Architect at Versata, “I chose a C / C pair for myself ++ back in school years, and consciously. Pascal, then widespread, was much slower and less common in the work environment. ”

    From both trips, he brought bronze medals, but not for third place:

    “They were distributed to everyone who entered the points in the first 50% of the participants. In my case, it was the hundredth place in Korea and one hundred and twenty-eighth in the USA, ” Sergei doesn’t even think to lie, showing his“ bronze ”.

    However, this is the case when the Olympic principle “the main thing is participation” is not just words. Sergey notes what “habits of the Olympiad”, developed at that time in school, he still appreciates: firstly, the ability to quickly solve problems has been instilled. Secondly, the skill has been gained to write clean and accurate code, without which there is nothing to “catch” at olympiads above the region.

    “Olympics - as a type of educational activity, develop useful skills very well. I’m not talking about specific knowledge of programming languages ​​or some “tricks”, but about general discipline: all the olympiad tasks require you to squeeze the “maximum” out of the code and from your own brains. On the one hand, even if your program is correct, but runs slower, you will lose. On the other hand, there are no resources for long deliberation. You need to know how you will implement your own here and now solution. This is an excellent experience, albeit fifteen years ago, hardening, which does not have an expiration date. "

    The choice between career and science

    It would seem, what kind of choice is there: after the lyceum of BSU, a programmer-olympiad could only wait for the faculty of applied mathematics and computer science of BSU.

    Now, in 2018, there are strong departments in BSUIR (the former Minsk State Technical Institute, I think this abbreviation will be more understandable to non-Belarusians), but in 2003-2004 the FPMI “vacuumed” all potential programmers and strong mathematicians. However, he still “vacuums” mathematicians so far - only not everyone withstands their studies at this faculty.

    “But I was never a strong mathematician - many guys against my background were monsters of science. In principle, I do not think that a strong programmer must be a strong mathematician. The science? It is quite possible that I had options and exits, like in the “Olympiad”. But the difficulty in being a scientist is that they do not create conditions for themselves, but work in the created ones. And they must be worthy, which is not possible at the stake of a scientific worker in Belarus. So in my second year at BSU, I started working, and at the end of the fourth year I completely abandoned him. ”

    For those few years, Sergey managed to work hard and gain experience at once in two large international outsourcing companies - Itransition and EPAM - which opened offices in Minsk at the beginning of the zero. However, these names may be familiar to many: EPAM has a large office in Novosibirsk, and Itra has not the most modest geography.

    Great Embassy in Holland

    From outsourcing to freelancing, this is one step Sergey took in 2008 when he entered the University of Amsterdam and went to live in the Netherlands to complete his education. Not without nostalgia, of course:

    “At home, at BSU, there were some teachers who really had“ burning eyes ”and who were incredibly strong both in their subject and in scientific terms. And there were others who openly didn't care: they read lectures to themselves from a piece of paper, practicing “hours”. In Amsterdam, everything was "flat." I did not meet any teacher-stars, after whom the students ran in herds, but I did not see those who "served", but did not work. But, it seems to me, the Belarusian school can grow scientists-stars. And the Dutch is to ensure a stable level of mass education. Both systems have their pros and cons. ”

    When you went to Holland to gain intelligence and study and graduate,

    graduating from university in 2010 with a master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence, Sergei again had to make a decision. The need to learn a new, not the most widespread and therefore not the most universal language, the unusual arrangement of state-bureaucratic realities and the high cost of life (and Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in Europe!) - all this fell into minuses.

    Trying to get down

    “Honestly, upon returning home, I thought about changing my freelance to“ normal ”office work. But each time I closed another major project and proceeded to search for a permanent place, an order was turned up, which was “tastier” than a badge, tea-coffee and communication with colleagues. In general, that’s how I stayed on freelance, having gained “experience” for about seven years: new clients, orders, IP management, bookkeeping, etc. In general, now life in this regard has become much easier, in any case, in Belarus; Earlier it was necessary to go to the tax office every quarter and file a paper return. The last few years have introduced an electronic declaration system, which significantly simplified life. However, even a simplified bureaucracy still annoys me with its very fact. But what can you do - you need to file declarations.

    The hardest thing was in a one-room apartment with a small child. Daughters need to sleep, and I have to work. But, as a result, it is thanks to my work that we no longer have to make such a choice. ”

    And Sergey’s transition to work in the ESW Capital group of companies turned out to be probably the smoothest among the other stories on this blog: already on freelance, already with his accounting department and living in Belarus, where he did not conduct any face-to-face Crossover tournaments, Sergey ended up on “ Showcase »Crossover in the next period of client search as a potential C ++ Chief Software Architect literally without getting up from his chair. Here, all the guns on the wall were fired: the algorithmic tasks that he had been trained in at school and many years of experience working remotely came in handy. As a result, Sergey began to work for Versata.

    “Among other things, I was working on an application that optimizes the network, then a database balancer, now I am optimizing Cypher queries and the Neo4j database to search for anti-patterns. Working on these projects has given me a deeper knowledge of Linux. ”

    Science seems to have lost it. And not only Belarusian:

    “My wife and I were thinking about immigration, but so far no really worthwhile proposals have been received. And even “there”, in the West, in order to feel comfortable and not puzzle over the monthly budget, you must have a degree not lower than PhD, which still needs to be obtained. It's not about the money itself. And the ability to arrange your life according to the most basic criteria is comfortable enough not to think about comfort anymore. I respect the choice of those who are ready to fight and do science "for the idea." But I made my choice in favor of commercial development a long time ago.

    Now, after more than fifteen years of work, I work in the position of C ++ Chief Software Architect. If you get tired, I can always return to classical freelance - my experience will allow me to find a large project for half a year or a year. ”

    And this, by the way, is logical: often emigration ceases to be a fetish when you are able to adequately feed yourself at home. In the 21st century, “where you were born is where it came in handy”, not hopeless fatalism, but the free choice of happy people.

    And if you are in Moscow this weekend, you can try to make your choice at the “Personnel Tournament” to select professionals who can apply for the Chief Software Architect or Software Engineering Manager contract . You can evaluate your strength and level already this Saturday.

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