Meet the team: Kostia
This month we’re shining the spotlight on our Lead Developer—and in-house photographer extraordinaire—Kostia. Kostia moved to Berlin from Ukraine in 2018 to begin a new chapter in his life with us at 360 Digital Starters. We recently caught up with him to hear about his experiences and the steps that led him into a career in code.
It’s been over 4 years now since you settled in Berlin. What first inspired you to make the move?
I wouldn’t say that I was "inspired" exactly to move to Berlin. I’d never actually considered living in Germany before I made the move. Back then, as a Ukrainian developer who worked in an out-staffing company, I had more ‘mainstream’ aspirations—like owning an apartment, buying a car, and possibly, at some stage, moving to the UK, US, or Canada. But life tends to have its own plans for you, right?
I actually had a good opportunity to move to the Netherlands and I was going to use this opportunity to see whether living abroad was a viable option for myself and my wife, Kseniia. It fell through at the last moment and luckily, as if fate would have it, a role at 360 DS presented itself. It’s been over four years now and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. We love this city—it’s vibrant, modern, comfortable, conveniently placed for travel, and has a rich history to explore.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a developer?
Similar to my move to Berlin—I never planned for it. I knew I was good with tech, had a good command of the English language, and realized (albeit much later into my career) that I'm good at identifying patterns, but before development I worked in other IT-based fields, such as tech support, system, and network administration. In 2013 I was worked as a network tech/1st line support for a big Swedish consulting company, and I quickly became bored of the repetitive tasks. Having had some experience with PHP before, I decided to explore it more, and in 6 months it led me to get a web developer position.
If I had to identify a single thing, that attracted me to a career in development, I'd pick the ability to create tools that help real people solve real-world problems. It is a fascinating feeling—to know, that something as immaterial as your thoughts and knowledge can be turned into code that helps people solve very real and very important problems.
Any advice for aspiring developers interested in getting into the tech scene?
A couple, actually.
Code is always the last thing you should write. First, analyze the knowledge you have, your requirements, dependencies, and constraints. Second, solve the problem "on paper" to make sure you understand all the "moving parts" and their interactions and impact. Third, document everything. You will lose knowledge sooner than you expect. And only then should you code.
Always look past your tools. Modern software is built by humans, with their own opinions and assumptions, that tend to quickly become out of date or superseded by a better solution. If you rely too much on some technology or framework, you're putting yourself into a box that's gonna be very hard to climb out of. Strive to learn the concepts behind the solution and train to replicate that knowledge with different tools.
Don't create perfect things, create the things that work. Coding something to perfection will take time, and you should use this time to make code work and improve it based on real-world feedback. Your solution should add value immediately.
What is your favorite thing about being a Lead Developer at 360 DS?
Well, it's two things.
First, I love the ability to tap into an unsolved problem, pick it apart and offer a solution. Work must be challenging to remain interesting, and I've got plenty of that.
The second part is helping others—to coach and mentor my teammates to become better developers; to automate or simplify some tasks for another team; to improve some business processes and make someone's life easier.
What are the main challenges you and your team are facing?
Sometimes tasks become repetitive and mundane. Finding a good balance between exciting new tasks and slightly boring (yet equally important) ones is hard. This is challenge that every team faces, and one that I hope to limit in mine. We are constantly looking for new technologies and approaches that can be incorporated into our work to simplify processes and bring more value to the company. I’m incredibly confident that the team is well equipped to overcome it.
Share a memory from the company that you cherish.
My best memories of the company are the ones we get to make together at team events. When we work, we might tend to keep to ourselves, but when we get together to relax, that's when we really shine.
And finally, if there was another job that you could have, what would it be?
Literally anything not related to computers. I’m open to try my hand at lots of things—carpentry, forestry, zookeeping, become an influencer perhaps, anything.
Solving complicated issues takes a lot of mental power, which can be exhausting, and sadly you can’t rely on muscle memory to approach new tasks. So, if one day you'll see me with an ax, wearing a flannel shirt—don't be surprised.
Thanks Kostia! We're excited to see how your coding expertise further transforms and strengthens our company and team!