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Ukraine: Ivano Frankivsk colleagues (#4).

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Being in a globally distributed software company, I’m proud to say that we have a globally represented team. Many of my colleagues are from Ukraine, which is my primary reason for visiting the country. This post is dedicated to our team in Ivano-Frankisvk, who are some of the most talented people I know.

Our youngest developer is 24 years old, and the eldest is in his early 30s. Almost all of them are from the Ivano-Frankivsk region (southwest Ukraine), and thus safe from the immediate conflict in the east/southeast region.

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Several of them are married with children, and I’ve met two of their kids – gorgeous kids. Although too small a sample to generalize amongst the region or country, I noted that they had kids at an earlier age of 24-27ish. I wonder what the average child-bearing age is?

I got to know many of them on a very personal level during my two-week visit in November 2014, and more recently in my two-week visit in January 2015.

We share many similarities. Rostyslav also loves mixed martial arts, and we talked about the recent UFC bouts. Through him, I learned that Fedor Emelianenko was born in Ukraine. Good, Slava Ukrayini (Glory to Ukraine)! Note: zero political biases intended.

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I grappled with some local talent, many of them having competed or won some tournaments. I got my ass kicked and tapped out several times in just a few minutes. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is something I definitely want to learn more of, as it’s incredibly fun and the risk of injury is much lower than kickboxing.

Vitaliy loves skiing, and described the nearby Bukavel ski resort, in which Volodymyr took us to over the weekend! More on Bukavel next time, but here’s a sneak peek.

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Volodymyr gets teased by the rest of the guys as being a huge flirt. He’s also pretty dorky, despite being the biggest of the bunch, like a gentle bear. I can also see just how much he loves his daughter, hope to be the same when I have kids. Rostyslav two is the same, focusing on his family, and is more introverted.

There’s also Oleh and Yulian, both incredibly funny in their mostly-joking arguments when delivering code. The two are the only smokers out of the team, and before large deploys, they walk outside for that cigarette break. That’s when you know things are getting real.

Finally, there’s Roman. He is perhaps the most calm and composed, yet incredibly articulate and possibly possesses the strongest verbal English of the group. He enjoys reading contemporary philosophy, Dilbert comics, and keeping up with economics and finance. I brought him two Calvin & Hobbes books, hoping to share some of my childhood with him. Roman is my main “partner in crime” where we’ve developed the most features together – me on the product specifications; him on the software engineering; me on the user acceptance testing; and him on the revisions and bug fixes.

Most of them went to the local Ivano Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas, which I had the pleasure of driving by one day. The campus looked completely different than any other school I’ve seen. I saw oil refineries uprooted in the center, with several brick buildings that I assume were classrooms. Most of them studied some field of engineering and either picked up programming during or shortly after school.

These guys are incredibly hard working, honest, decent people. They all value their families highly. They exude much passion in various topics, be it the above hobbies, or the greater crisis in Ukraine, or improving their English communication, and expanding their curiosities. They’re kind and empathetic, doing their best to order foods they think I’ll like, as most menus are in Ukrainian Cyrillic script.

If there’s an ideal engineering team, this is the squadron; the team; the group of friends.

[√] Solid and closed!

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1 Comment so far

  1. Pingback: Four lessons learned from negotiating for a $10,000 bonus. | Andy Cheng

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