Roman, let’s start from the beginning. Tell us about your education.
After school, I went to a private college in Baranovichi (a city in Belarus) with a degree in Commercial Activity. I began to study English just in college because before that, and I had been studying French at school for nine years.
Then, I pursued higher education and enrolled in the Belarusian State Agrarian and Technical University. At that time, I considered programming and automation, believing that my future would be related to computers. I knew that engineering was a reliable and well-paid profession.
What about your first job?
I got my first job before going to university as a computer salesman in Brest. I worked there for a month and a half and then realized that I did not want to be a seller.
Then what was the next direction on your career path? Did you pick up any hobbies?
After university, I got a job at a large and profitable enterprise in a position that was a mix of electrical and mechanical engineering. Even at a reasonably young age, I had an opportunity to try myself as a leader because there were ten people on my team.
During my after-work hours, I created business websites for my friends and acquaintances.
What was the main reason you decided to change your profession and start a career in IT? What were your first steps?
At some point, the company began to bring less money and I began to work on plan B. I went to pull up English and dig into programming languages. I’ve already learned HTML, PHP, JS, and generally switched to Java and C#. There was a time when I applied to a QA course but wasn’t accepted due to an insufficient level of English.
As a result, I quit my job and entered the most difficult three months of my life. So, my plan was to find a job in IT in six months or return to work as an engineer.
At that time, I constantly monitored job sites sent my resume to almost every company I could find. No one answered even with the trite “You are not a good fit”. Thanks to this experience, I can better understand the junior members of my team.
However, three months later, I got a call from some company and was offered to perform a test task on Salesforce development. It was totally unknown to me. I was doing this test for about a week, and, frankly, I spent about 8-12 hours on it. My efforts were not in vain because I was invited to an interview. I had no idea what I was doing, but I completed the test (it was awkward to refuse because the guys called me themselves). Now I am very grateful to the recruiter who found me.
What was the hardest part of the interview? Maybe some questions surprised you?
I didn’t know what to say when they asked about my experience at the interview. Fortunately, at the end of the interview, I mentioned that I worked at the enterprise and led a team of ten people. Looking back, I can understand that I was some kind of Team Lead, but at that moment, I completely disregarded this experience.
This info hooked the head of the company. He must’ve felt that I had potential and wanted me to join. They offered pretty good money for that time, $350 a month. I was elated.
What were your first impressions after a month of working in IT?
The first month passed ordinarily: I got to know everyone, learned the processes, and ultimately joined the team. My teammates told me everything I needed to know about the specifics of the work. I participated in several projects, primarily doing tasks that more experienced team members delegated to me. Then I joined a new project. After three months, I became a “tech lead.”