Employee Success Story: When Work Is Your Motivation
Our Ucraft CTO Avik joined Ucraft around seven years ago when the project was still in the works, bringing his experience and passion to his role at Ucraft. Avik shares his thoughts on his path at Ucraft, what personal and professional qualities helped him to become CTO, what one needs to do to become an in-demand developer, and, last but not least, what employers check for during the hiring process.
Check out the interview below for our CTO’s take on these crucial topics.
- What are some of the qualities (professional and personal) that have helped you in your role in Ucraft?
My all-time go-to quote is - “Nothing is impossible.” This has mainly been reflected in my job, and I’ll tell you how. Whenever I’ve thought about potential new releases and features, even seemingly unrealistic ones, I’ve always looked for the best possible workaround. In contrast, others in my place may have disregarded these ideas as infeasible from the get-go. Likewise, the second most important quality that has helped me a lot is finding simple solutions to complex problems. One must follow this pattern: simplicity, quality, stability, performance, and of course, security. If your solutions comply with these steps, then you’ve succeeded - no need to think of complex workarounds when the key lies in simplicity.
Let’s consider another example. When we discuss the function of a monitor, most people view it as a monitor that carries out an X amount of functions without diving deeper into how they are carried out in the first place. However, I look at it from a structural point of view: how the monitor has been constructed and which components work together to allow the functions to be carried out. I tend to break problems down in the same way, which allows me to come up with solutions from the ground up. I suppose looking at things from a structural point of view comes with the territory.
- Tell us a bit about your journey at Ucraft - did you start off as a CTO?
I did not start as a CTO. I joined Ucraft at a time when the product realization was just a plan on paper. In fact, I was just a Backend PHP developer of the product. Back then, we had a specific target - raise the product to the alpha stage. Nonetheless, we realized that we still had much to do from the DevOps perspective. Since we did not have a DevOps Engineer, I took up that responsibility and started digging more into this specialty and the various aspects. I was studying and implementing various solutions 24/7 until it began to work for us, and we launched the first online version of our builder. However, that was only the beginning, and there were more challenges to come, such as reducing new website creation time and serving a large number of users.
The team naturally grew with new developers, new DevOps, and I began implementing Ucraft to the Google App Engine system and then to Kubernetes as well. In short, together with Ucraft, my skills grew until one day I realized that I had now been promoted to CTO - which meant less coding and more meetings.
- What place is Ucraft for you? How would you describe it best?
Although this may sound peculiar, let me say that Ucraft is my 3rd baby after my own kids. To be entirely honest with you, Ucraft is the most demanding “child” I have and often takes up a lot of my time - something my wife can confirm. Ucraft is not just software for me; it is an entire life form. Ucraft has age, character, appearance, and emotions for me.
Recently, I took a long-awaited vacation, and I had this strange feeling like I was leaving my child alone. Now that I’m back from vacation, I’m trying to make it up to Ucraft for my absence.
- Why do they call you Avik the Great at the office? Tell us a bit about it!
This nickname was given to me by the Ucraft support team, and probably because I spent a lot of time there and my work is closely related to their team. As mentioned earlier, I’ve been at Ucraft since the very beginning, and I try to be as involved as possible regardless of whether it has anything to do with my position or not. And because of this diversity of responsibility I took upon myself, I guess my colleagues ended up naming me Avik the Great.
- What criteria help you when hiring a new team member? What would you advise beginner professionals?
I prioritize several vital qualities when hiring a new specialist, such as personal qualities, sense of responsibility, honesty, curiosity, orientation, experience, and, lastly, field knowledge.
I’d advise junior developers to make sure this profession is what they genuinely want. Then, when dealing with a task, try to give solutions with the mindset of a high-level Architect, QA, Product Owner, and not simply as a developer. At that moment, they will become irreplaceable specialists who will be sought after.
- Tell us something about you that not many at Ucraft know.
Ok, so this is a bit of a long story dating back to my past. In 1998 there was a browser-based multiplayer game. It was a mainstream one, for teenagers and youth, popular in post-Soviet countries. I was so taken by that game myself that I decided to create a clone version of it. It was then that the first seeds of my interest in coding were planted. I started studying PHP. I wrote 88% of the game code but was not able to finalize it because of the limitations of PHP4 (the version for the time) and the absence of object-oriented language. After that, I also created a Forum and a Search Portal. Now that I’ve told you this, I have a strange feeling of nostalgia.