"The courses were not only for the sake of knowledge, many had career ambitions and professional development tasks"

Habr, hello! Meet Artem Moskalets, CEO of the company Brightlab, with whom we talked in our series of interviews with graduates. As part of the interview, our graduates tell about their history of transition to the area of ​​work with big data. The stories are all different and will be interesting to those who are thinking about changing their career path or how new knowledge can help solve new problems.
Artyom - Candidate of Psychology, former deputy. Director of the GUU. By the will of fate, being in Rostov-on-Don, having become acquainted with local talented developers, Artyom discovered the world of new technologies for himself, began to actively explore this field, assembled a team of professionals and is now successfully developing his company.


- Artyom, introduce yourself, please, and tell about your background.

- Artyom Moskalets, CEO at Brightlab LLC. Our company is not the largest development in the world, but a friendly team of 24 young guys allows us to solve, I am not afraid of this word, tasks of any level in the world.

My professional development can be described by analogy with the dialectical law of unity and struggle of opposites. For example, showing the ability to exact sciences, algebra and physics, in particular, decided to get higher education in the direction of sociology and psychology of management. My tutor in physics, knowing that his homework was being solved in the literal sense of the word on his knee on the way to him, said: “The physicist is dying in you”. The path of least resistance, peculiar to the young guys of 16 years, and developed communication skills predetermined my professional development path. Although initiative in me was not asleep even then. For example, I nevertheless entered the faculty of applied mathematics and computer science at MISiS, but did not take the original certificate there. Maybe because of fear. Perhaps this is one of the moments, looking at that,

The university had several interesting subjects that occupied me: “Methods of research in social behavioral sciences” and “Methods and models of data analysis”. It is also worth highlighting the optional Petrova V.M. - “Quantitative methods in art history”, which prompted me to think, as they say, to “touch” the role of positivism in research activities. The intertwining in the above disciplines of the methodological principles of research, gnoseological problems and mathematics in its applied aspect became the basis for my hobby at that time - analysts. As I said at the very beginning, inconsistency was present here: at the time of studying at university, my work was connected with the legal sphere and had nothing to do with my education or my hobby, but I needed money, in fact ,

Practical application of my hobby is still found. After the exchange program in graduate school (she was then in Cambridge), I decided that the planned scientific work in the framework of the thesis would be related to the study of socio-psychological characteristics in behavior due to urban space. It was in 2008. A year later, I became acquainted with the activities of the Strelka Institute, and this gave me confidence that my research was moving in the right direction.

In 2011 he defended on the chosen topic, became a candidate of psychological sciences. The decision to defend a thesis was due, among other things, to professional activities at the university: in three years at the SUM I grew to deputy. university director. After I became disillusioned with Russian science, its current state, and decided to give up this occupation.

I digress a little from the main narrative to the remark: I came to IT sphere and analytics again through denial. I could never imagine that I would live in Rostov-on-Don. All my plans, thoughts were connected with the capital. But a few years ago there was a move for personal reasons to the southern city. In the beginning I reassured myself that it was temporary, now I can’t imagine how it would be if I didn’t stay here.

In the first year of the move, my hobby - analysis and research - became the main source of income. I started freelancing and now I knew firsthand the pros and cons of working at home: a tricolor sofa cat and infrequent coffee house visitors became my faithful companions. I began to realize that I was becoming somewhat marginal. Alien social environment in the new living space, the work of a freelancer and my developed communication skills were in serious contradiction with each other.

It was necessary to change something, and I decided to rent a small office in the co-working “Place”, where there were similar in values ​​and people close in spirit to me. I gradually began to join the team. The guys were mostly programmers and architects. Being in this environment, it became interesting - how to transfer the processing of raw data from the SPSS package to the sociologist, to fine-tune the analysis methods. I began to study my first programming language - R, a distributed version control system and other “everyday” useful things from IT. In fact, the proximity of the office to the house and the desire to be part of the society determined my further professional development.

- Why big data? Why did you go to the Big Data Specialist program ?

- My acquaintance with the big data theme was to some extent also accidental: in Rostov-on-Don, the IT-61 community held a meeting on the topic of big data analysis, looking for speakers. My close friend, Viktor Petrenko, is one of the ideological inspirers of this community. He asked me to speak at this event with a report. It was inconvenient to refuse, and telling programmers about the code and the approaches of my competence was not enough. I chose the topic “Isomorphism as a subject field of data science”, which was close to my scientific interests and humanitarian approach. It seems to be “gone” the audience. It became interesting to understand more deeply from the technical side. To gain knowledge in Rostov in innovative areas, in most cases, is possible only remotely. But there was an understanding: in order to quickly figure out something, you need a community, make hands and be able to clarify the problem face-to-face. The search for courses began, at that time there were not many of them. New Professions Lab bribed faculty. There was a strong desire to learn from people who developed products in Yandex and Mail.ru. I read the reviews on Habré, except for the high cost of the courses I did not meet anything negative in the comments. I understood for myself: the value and desire to acquire knowledge is directly proportional to the personal funds spent.

- Was it hard to learn? How to cope with difficulties?

- The decision to start training under the program was made and implemented quite rapidly. I did not have the opportunity to prepare well in advance, I signed up for the program a week before the start. The first difficulty I had to face was the lack of knowledge and programming experience in Python, so I had to fill this gap as I went along. It was hard, but I gave it the maximum amount of time, trying to do at least 6 hours a day. When the courses were completed, I had no fear of writing code.

Substantive subject side of learning was interesting and informative. Working with big data is quite extensive in all its manifestations, so that in such a short time it would be possible to completely cover them with three-hour optional classes three days a week. I tried to additionally read the literature. At first it seemed that you can thoroughly understand, deeply digging material. But the chosen strategy during the training was still losing: it was necessary to keep pace with the pace of classes. Most of the key topics were well disclosed, there were a lot of them, and it took time to form basic knowledge. At the end of the course it was already easier and clearer to return to some topics, delving into the details.

Another important point is communication within the group of students. Of course, it was always possible to approach teachers who competently tried to give a detailed answer on the problem that had arisen. However, stuffing bumps together is always more interesting. It’s more pleasant to get a decision over which you fight all night together with the guys from your team.

Looking back, I do not have the slightest regret about the time and finances spent on training. Courses gave a tangible impetus for immersion in the subject in all aspects of professional activity.

- How did you plan to use the knowledge gained, and what happened in fact?

- When I went to these courses, there was a clear desire to start working with clients from the United States, respectively, there was a desire to gain experience in this direction. I was looking for freelancing or a permanent job remotely with thoughts of moving. Monitor the labor market. Specialists of this profile are at a great price and with certain efforts there is a good chance to get an opportunity to move on a work visa. During the training I approached the teachers, asked me to take an internship, so that the knowledge gained would be immediately put into practice. Alexander Petrov, a lecturer on topics related to Hadoop, responded to my search. I am very grateful to him for this. I tried, but it was remotely - the main team was in St. Petersburg. I realized that this is a little different, I wanted a live presence in the workplace. The search began again, which ended for me extremely unexpectedly at that time. The guys from the community in Rostov-on-Don offered to organize the working process, to help get together in a cohesive team. Earlier, I had the opportunity to form a legal support team, and I thought it was a good idea, I decided that even if the idea was a fiasco, I would gain useful experience and advance in programming skills. It's like a foreign language, they need to learn every day. My fears were not justified: during the year the growth of the company exceeded all our expectations, and the number of obligations growing like a snowball and responsibility for the “kids” team led to the rejection of the idea of ​​immigration. Earlier, I had the opportunity to form a legal support team, and I thought it was a good idea, I decided that even if the idea was a fiasco, I would gain useful experience and advance in programming skills. It's like a foreign language, they need to learn every day. My fears were not justified: during the year the growth of the company exceeded all our expectations, and the number of obligations growing like a snowball and the responsibility for the “kids” team led to the rejection of the idea of ​​immigration. Earlier, I had the opportunity to form a legal support team, and I thought it was a good idea, I decided that even if the idea was a fiasco, I would gain useful experience and advance in programming skills. It's like a foreign language, they need to learn every day. My fears were not justified: during the year the growth of the company exceeded all our expectations, and the number of obligations growing like a snowball and the responsibility for the “kids” team led to the rejection of the idea of ​​immigration.

- Despite the fact that you left home after the program, is it possible to keep in touch with classmates?

- I can’t say that I left in the full sense. We have clients from Moscow, business life is concentrated here, so I still remain a very frequent guest in the capital.

Yes, I keep in touch with the guys. After the courses, we often met at various conferences and meetings. We meet some of them in an informal setting, at least, we try as much as possible. I am interested in following their progress, because the courses were not only for the sake of knowledge. Many had career ambitions and professional development objectives. Some went to study to change the field of activity, sometimes cardinal - not adjacent. I communicate well with Vladimir Lavrenchenko, he got a job at Yandex at the end of the program. I know that he passed the certification and is a full-fledged member of the team, I am very happy for him.

In fact, I regularly monitor the success of fellow students: Yana Charuyskaya, Anya Kryuchkova, Alexander Ulyanov, Alexey Astafyev, Roman Smirnov - not to list them all. Everyone has their own achievements. It is a pleasure to watch people who wanted to use the knowledge gained in the applied aspect and were able to achieve their goals.

I am very sensitive to the existing relations with the teaching staff: Petya Ermakov, Kirill Danilyuk, Grisha Sapunov. I see some of them at conferences, whenever possible I try to meet Petya, his subjects are close to me, it is always interesting to talk, he was visiting him at work. In general, after the courses there is no sense of limb, rather smooth assimilation into a get-together, so to speak.

- Do you continue to develop in the field of big data / data science? Do you take courses, read something, attend conferences?

- There is not much time, but I try to keep myself in shape. I read Khan Academy , a very useful and, as it sometimes seems to me, unlimited resource; A lot of courses at the open project of Harvard , compilation on Coursera. I think most have seen these resources.

Now I look at the youtube course Dr. Richard W. Hamming “The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn,” I like. I look at bioinformatics, but so far there is no time for this immersion at all.

- Tell me what your company does?

- We are engaged in progressive web applications. Our goal is to give the business customer the opportunity to transfer the company's IT infrastructure to cloud solutions without losing productivity and quality. The main requirements for the implementation are the tasks of fault tolerance and access to the developed solutions 24/7. In principle, everything related to the modern web is about us and our activities.

In the Russian market, we use modern approaches and tools of foreign IT-companies that we have mastered over the years of cooperation in the freelancing market. The story about the company is a story about the people who work there, their experience, the history of formation and professionalism. We stuffed “bumps” on projects that require extensive knowledge often not only in development. We were constantly in conditions of continuous self-education and limited resources. All this has now become our competitive advantage.


- What kind of your projects can you tell? What are you doing specifically for big data?

- Our projects mainly take from 6 months to a year of development. We have, of course, projects with big data, and the specificity of our activity is their proper organization for instant access. Every business user wants to work with operational data and get the delta as quickly as possible.

For example, we developed the Mixfit platform based on blockchain architecture using personal big data, the main task of which was to store and use information from wearable electronics to obtain current health indicators. After processing the data, a specially developed device prepared a cocktail every morning with the necessary amount of vitamins and macro / micro nutrients. To motivate users, we developed an e-currency based on the Ethereum blockchain network, which guaranteed integrity and trouble-free access to user data. We also worry about the security of our products, so we used end-to-end encryption for each user, ensuring the security of personal data in a public space.

Speaking in general about tools, we use languages ​​such as Erlang and Elixir, the main value of which for us is multi-threading, scalability and speed of data processing. For data storage, we use the following databases: PostgreSQL (high-quality partitioning of data), Cassandra (scalability and data integrity) and Clickhouse (speed of writing and receiving huge amounts of data). This technology stack is not common, most of the community uses Java and Python. In our case, they are important at the stage of analysis and preparation of the proof of concept, but in the final implementation we prefer stability, so we use Elixir. It happens that the necessary libraries are not enough, then we start the internal development and write the necessary tools for the project ourselves.

- What is your team? Who are these guys?

- Our team is young. The average age of children is 23 years old, hence the expression about “babies”. Most of them in the field of IT from 17-18 years old and began their professional career on their own, without having a specialized education. Their desire for knowledge impresses me very much. The desire to understand the details and understand the essence helps them to become highly qualified specialists. For my part, I try to keep it up all the time: it’s common for us that someone always studies somewhere, constantly recruiting new students for scholarship programs.

- Besides professional knowledge, what else do you need in future colleagues?

- The atmosphere in the team is very important. I still remember about my work at the university - you come to the department, and colleagues are discussing issues of a particular scientific theory; there are no ordinary everyday problems. In our team, the guys also constantly discuss some technical details, the communication is quite lively, and the team as a whole has a feeling of elbow. This is exactly the chemistry for me - the most important thing in future colleagues. Self-education and the craving for it, of course, is also not canceled.

- Tell us about the development vector of the company, to which goal are you going?

- On the development of the company I will say only in two words. Now we have stabilized. Have gained loyal customers. From 2019, we plan to become not only a service provider, but also a grocery one. I will not disclose now this thesis fully - a commercial secret. Also, not so long ago, we created a full-fledged design department, we put it on the “rails”.

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