It all started when I entered the Zaporizhzhia Electrical Engineering College in 2008. I`ve picked up software engineering faculty, however, I wasn’t sure if I ever would like to work in this area in future. For me, it was just a faculty with stronger focus towards mathematics. I was quite good at it in school, consequently, my choice fell on this specialty ;)
There were different guys in the group I joined: of course, those who already knew that they would be programmers, the first part. And the second part — those who were just nice to hang out with. Right up to the 4th year (the final year) I was exactly the one of the second part :)
At the beginning of the 4th year, we were told that we had been going to write our diploma projects. Of course, I knew it before, but I didn’t think so hard about it. We were hinted that the topic we would choose may become a basis for our future projects at university or even after graduation from it. And here I brooded over! Seriously! This work could be the clue to my future profession and my whole future after graduation. I may say that, actually, this thought shocked me owing to the fact I was goofing off for the last 3 years. And then I needed to think about and make up something that may impact my further life. I can remember how scared I was when I realized this.
It was autumn 2011, September. I began to look into the world of technologies and programming searching for something suitable for my diploma project and at the same time serious enough to devote my life to. After a few weeks of research, I understood that web development was the easiest option to start with. I plunged immediately into learning absolutely everything I could find about web development and programming in general. I remember coming back from college every day, and instead of going out with my friends I was reading documentation and technical literature, watching tutorials, analyzing and trying to practically apply this new knowledge. I even kept a record of all new information I got trying to bring some order into it.
I had spent 4 months intensively absorbing new information before I decided to find a job in January 2012 to reinforce my theoretical knowledge with practical experience. I can clearly remember two places, which I chose to apply to. In the first company, I was given a test task in layout design for two days, which unfortunately (or maybe even vice versa) I didn’t succeed to complete. To be honest, I wasn't enjoying that so much. The other company — Light IT — invited me for the interview right away. Real office, job, programming, a true team of developers, it took my breath away.
The interview was carried out by the team lead, Ihor Pavlenko, incredibly awesome programmer and just a great man. At that moment I thought that there was nothing that this guy didn't know. The majority of folks in the office would come up to him if something didn't work out and he always answered all their questions no matter what technology they were referring to. Wait, what I was talking about? Oh, yes, the interview ;) Of course, I couldn't answer everything he was asking, however, to my, and perhaps, his surprise I gave the right answers to the better part of the theoretical questions. Hours I’ve spent reading all this stuff were paid back. Anyway, after all, I was hired! My happiness was limitless; I couldn't believe I was hired. For me, it was not just a job but one in IT Company and moreover - as a developer, AAAA!!!
Everything went well, I finished my diploma project, graduated from college, continued working as a programmer in that company until the time has come to get into a university. I had to make a choice whether to pick an intramural form of study (I successfully passed the exams there) or to go with an extramural one and keep working in the office. Despite I loved what I was doing, I was also realizing the university was an important stage of my life I couldn't miss. And it wasn't about knowledge which I would get there ;)
The group which I got into consisted mainly of my mates from college. One of them was Kostia Patrakhalko — a very gifted programmer (the one who belonged to the first part. You remember, right? :) I tried to spend more time talking to him, discussing various programming aspects and exchanging cool ideas.
One day, closer to the end of 2012, we saw a promotional poster on the information stand at the university. It was about a developers championship called Golden Byte (organized by IT academy “Step”). We decided to try our hands. There were several nominations. I was quite good at web development, and Kostia wanted to create a game. Unfortunately, there was nothing for web developers. They had web design contest but it was quite far from what we were looking for. So we picked Game Dev.
Soon it became clear that both of us couldn't handle this idea implementation and we needed a third person (very typical). We just had a right course mate — Zhenia Zadorozhnyi, who liked sports programming a lot and took part in almost all Programming Olympiads at the university. He got curious about this contest and when Kostia and I found it out we asked if he`d like to join us. Anyway, it was an offer he couldn't refuse… I’m just kidding:)
What happened next is probably the main reason I`m telling you this story. We started to work as a team. None of us had proper experience in game development, however at the same time each of us had certain knowledge and it was filling the gaps very good. Probably only then I understood how is it to work in a really talented team. Something worked out, something didn't. Typically it didn't :) We experimented a lot. Most of our coding was like a daily attempt to reinvent the wheel. A whole bunch of funny situations happened to us, there were so many that they would be right enough for another storybook. In a word, it was wonderful, we were high on what we were doing!
In winter 2013 after passing the qualification stage in Zaporizhzhia we were delegated to all-Ukrainian final in Kyiv. I remember finishing the visual effect of a working spacecraft nozzle sitting in a bus minutes before a presentation. Nothing special ;)
There were teams with different skills level in the final tournament, but we’ve met far more really strong competitors than we had expected. Of course, we didn’t even get into the top three. At that moment we weren't even thinking about it, it did not matter. Back home each of us returned to our regular life. Zhenia was invited to yet another Olympiad, I continued to study web development and even brought Kostia around to make money on that. But one way or another we slowly parted our paths.
The time was passing. I had already developed a few big projects so far and, in general, had gained some valuable experience in programming, but I was still feeling a lack of something. All in all, I realized what the problem was. First, unconsciously, I started to look for people who wanted to create something genuine and from whom I could learn something new. After a while I began to gather them around myself. By the way, one of them was Sergei Osetsky. He has supported me in those times, we`ve developed dozens of projects together and moreover - we are business partners now and still work together.
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