Oleksandr Oleinikov and Best Practices in Software Engineering
Describe your current position at Transcenda. What impacted your decision to pursue a career in engineering?
I am a tech lead and my primary focus is to create an efficient environment within Transcenda’s back-end engineering team.
Looking back I like to say that software engineering chose me. From the very beginning, the decision to pursue this career seemed obvious. I was always excited about problem-solving and finding various ways to achieve the desired results.
At school, I started learning simple programming in Pascal. Back then, I was impressed with what a few lines of code could do. As time passed, I learned more about programming and began automating a lot of tasks, which later shaped my career choice.
Name several things you wished you knew before starting your career or offer some advice to a beginner.
Embrace your failures. This first piece of advice is simple and applies to everything. It is very important in an innovative environment, as innovations involve trial and error. I’d like to point out – it’s not the failure to be celebrated, but the experience you gain. Acknowledge your mistakes, take your time to analyze, and learn from them.
Learn from the people around you. The most successful people do not miss out on learning from others. Do not hesitate to ask questions – your teammates might have more experience, and chances are they are willing to share it. Exploring different perspectives can offer great advice which will help you along your journey.
Focus on one thing at a time, especially at the start of your career. Don’t spend your time and energy on too many things at once, but learn steadily.
Get hands-on experience in everything you learn. It is not enough to know how to deal with something in theory, but make sure to apply it in practice.
What do you think differentiates a great engineer from an average engineer?
I’d say the difference is that an average engineer can solve a task in front of them. A great engineer can solve the task and understand its specifics in the context of overall product design and customer business needs. This knowledge drives a great engineer towards better choices in the development process, which inevitably improves the final product.
Which professional skills are you prioritizing right now and how do you continuously improve them?
Over the last year, my priorities changed as my responsibilities shifted toward team leading. Before, I put all my efforts into development. Now I’m focused on soft skills and software architecture design. I read books on architecture and practice new approaches in my work. In my free time I also study Machine Learning.
Learning the theory of something doesn’t make you a master. I believe that you can only grow at things you experience firsthand, so I always apply the skills I learn. I also pay close attention to my engineering decisions and mistakes as they happen.
Every engineer has their own unique experience and I do not miss an opportunity to learn from it. Hard and soft skills are equally important to me. None of the extremes work well on their own, so I strive to balance and improve both.
Which books have had the most significant impact on your personal development?
There was a period when I read many books on the topic of personal development. At that time Dale Carnegie’s Trilogy impressed me the most. The book is a bit dated, but it’s takeaways are still relevant.
Another book I’d like to mention is the military classic The Art of War, which I have read a few times now. Written thousands of years ago, this book is replete with wisdom that remains useful across various fields, including business.
Which Transcenda value resonates most with you and why?
Always find a better way – this value reflects my approach to work. If you put it into perspective, the world is driven by people who seek efficiency and convenience – again and again. Now I am happy to innovate in a team of like-minded professionals.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I have a lot of interests, but they are not necessarily my hobbies. Most often I play guitar or practice archery. Guitar keeps me creative. Archery helps me focus, put my mind at rest, and relax. A few years ago, I bought a set of bow and arrows, went outside, and started practicing. So far, I can say that it is a challenging, but rewarding, activity.