Viktor Sobolivsky, Senior Full-Stack Software Engineer: “I realized a simple truth — I’m getting happier”

#Interview
October 29, 2021 4 min read

— Who did you dream of being as a child?

As a child, I dreamed of being a game developer. One of the reasons was my passion for games from a young age. The second was an introduction to Pascal’s listing at school. It was interesting what these ciphers were and how I could decipher them. From this time on, my absolute love of programming began.

— How important is family support in becoming an individual and a professional? Were you supported in choosing a career path?

It seems to me that support is essential in any endeavor, if not from family, then at least from friends. My family liked to watch my progress and encouraged my hobbies.

— Why did you start doing what you do now?

In general, Research and Development is fascinating to me. You can’t get stuck in just one area, but on the contrary — you develop in several areas at the same time; you work in them alternately.

— What qualities do you think are most important in your profession?

I think attentiveness, the ability to separate the grain from the chaff — I mean, to understand the true importance of any information at a certain point in time and filter it. In addition, you need to be able to communicate — you just cannot do without it. Any software development process is a well-established, open dialogue with colleagues, clients and the only way to have a clear picture of further action. I watched as my colleague’s shyness did not allow asking questions once again and clarifying something, which led to misunderstanding. When people communicate freely, it is unlikely that anything can become a barrier to a quality result.

— What does your workday look like?

I always try to walk to work. The journey takes me about 30-40 minutes. In the morning, I like to stroll, get some air, get inspired. The beginning of the working day is preceded by small talk with colleagues over a cup of coffee. After the daily meeting, the work process itself begins. To freshen up and unload my mind, I can go to our gym or have lunch with my teammates. I am really looking forward to the launch of meditation sessions; I will be happy to practice.

— What is the most challenging part of your job?

I can’t say that there is something impossible. All the tasks I look at have different degrees of complexity; they will take different amounts of time to complete. No stumbling block can paralyze the work. If there is time pressure, you just need to plan more time beforehand to hit the deadline.

— What is most interesting in your work?

My work is interesting per se; it is difficult to single out one thing in this case. However, when I think about it, I like communication the most — both on work and personal issues. There is always an opportunity to get feedback, experience emotions, and hone your soft skills.

— How do you assess the cohesion of your team? How does this affect the result and quality of the task performed?

There are now four people on our Kyiv team. I can safely say that we have a small and very close-knit team. We communicate with each other every day: in addition to daily meetings, we call on various pressing issues and also have a random chat about everything. It’s also cool that we can get together during non-working hours, relax, or come up with an interesting, fun activity for everyone. I’m used to my team: I have no complexes or shyness. As an introvert, it is always tricky for me to start new relationships with people. But over time, I begin to feel freer and expend less energy.

— What are the most relevant trends in your field now?

Among the main trends, I would like to mention the low-code and no-code platforms, where anyone can create applications without programming. Also, it is nice to see how new academies appear on the Ukrainian market, such as BroBots, where children are taught programming and robotics.

— How should one start learning your profession? What resources/courses/books can you recommend?

It is necessary to begin with an inner self-check, whether there is a genuine interest in the field. According to my observations, if there is no interest and a person chooses an occupation for another reason, there will be no passion. In this case, one should expect a sequence of burnouts, and the chance to succeed is nil. I think you need to start learning as early as possible. Today, students can study programming as part of the curriculum, followed by specialized institutions where they can get more applied knowledge.

Self-education plays an important role — you look for information, resources and practice on your own. I would recommend starting with sites like codewars.io, which offers tasks of varying difficulty. Such resources help to deepen the understanding of programming. In general, I would not recommend chasing the trends and taking up React or Angular right away. Just start with the basics. For instance, google top-10 languages on GitHub, choose something you like, and start writing some algorithms and learning data structures. Such a base is a necessary foundation to grow within the field, whatever the programming language is.

Additionally, it is crucial to find a mentor. There are people who will eagerly find some time during the week to guide and consult for free.

— What tools help you be effective?

I often use the Pomodoro Timer, which breaks down the time into 25-minute slots, with short five-minute breaks in between. At first, it isn’t easy to adapt to the system because it requires self-discipline. Eventually, you get used to it and see the result — you work more efficiently and focus better. Again, there is no daily necessity in timer — it depends on the situation. During the meetings, I make notes so I do not forget anything and make a list of tasks for a day.

— In your opinion, how will technology change your profession in the foreseeable future?

There are suspicions that the front end will decline. Much will depend on the popularity of the above-mentioned low-code and no-code platforms. Maybe designers will just sketch the style and appearance without programming, and everything else will need back-end pros.

— Do you have new hobbies or activities after joining Innovecs?

It feels good to recall once and again how we rode our bikes in the summer. I really wanted to get on a kayak rafting, but it didn’t work out. In general, with the launch of new activities and communities, I usually try myself everywhere. You can’t just work and do nothing — you need to raise your head and reboot. It is good when you are offered diversity.

— Is there a work/life balance and clear boundaries between work and life outside it?

You can adjust this balance for yourself, or you can do without it — the results will be different. One way or another, everything rests on self-discipline. Building balance, in my opinion, begins with the regulation of sleep patterns. When a person learns to get regular sleep, he will have enough time for work and personal life. There are days off, vacations, and you have to use them for rest and recovery. I have a certain point when the work ends, and I’m glad I learned doing so. I minimized the possibility of fatigue or panic attacks. When the management in the company is built correctly, there is an understanding of human resources and the need for their constant replenishment.

— Where are you looking for inspiration?

The world around us is full of inspiration. I draw it from everywhere: it’s trees and the rustle of leaves. I am inspired by meditation, travel, a girl’s smile. It is believed that only poets or artists require inspiration. In fact, everyone needs it. And there are many sources in life; you just need to open your mind and enjoy your existence. Instead of fooling around during the workday, one should better slow down and grab the ‘here and now’ moment.

— What do you study today, and what would you like to study in the future?

Today I study system programming and investing. In the future, I would like to learn to play drums. I also want to do vocals and take proper voice training. In addition to creating music itself, coming to the studio and screaming at the top of the lungs is very good for mental health because it helps blow off the steam.

— What do you like most about Innovecs?

First and foremost — people. For me, it is vital to find an atmosphere where I am comfortable, so I always pay attention to the team, personalities, and energy in the company. I like intelligent people who think out-of-the-box. They are always full of non-standard ideas.

— What makes you a happy person?

Having practiced with a psychotherapist for over a month, I managed to realize a simple truth — I am becoming happier. A lot falls into place, and I begin to perceive everything that happens through a different prism. Relationships with people and their emotions make me truly happy.

— What do you dream about today?

I want to buy a house with a plot of land. I will have a cat and a goose (as a child, I grazed geese, they are pretty cool). I also want to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather and father and own an apiary.

Also, I recently read the book called “Rework”; it made me understand a lot and came up with another dream — creating a small company to develop games and implement innovative ideas. I would love to have zero dependence on investors and the ability to do what I really like. It would be great to create something out of the ordinary and bring freshness to the industry.

 

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