Our first experience at SapientPro (Part 1)

25 Feb 2020
Kate, copywriter
Soon, it’s our birthday - on the 15th of March (and we love chocolate cake but if you bring pizza - that’ll do as well!). So, we recall how it all began for us!
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Three years of effort. 1095 days of intensive coding.  26280 hours of building SapientPro.

Soon, it’s our birthday – on the 15th of March (and we love chocolate cake but if you bring pizza – that’ll do as well!). So, we recall how it all began for us: all screw-ups and victories, all great and difficult moments. That’s the history of SapientPro, and it makes us unique. SapientPro is not about work only. It’s about the people who do this work. This sentence is recurrent in everything we do. We asked our devs about their first days at SapientPro. Here’s what we’ve found out. 

Vlad

A fan of React. He keeps a special bottle of champagne to celebrate the moment ReactJS officially becomes a framework.

“The first days were nervous, of course. I haven’t worked for the company of such a scale before. I didn’t feel as much stress as I thought I would. There were many people I knew before, like Vitia, who brought me here. I worked for my first project… Can you guess how much? (1 month or 2?) Nope, 1 day! Still, the guys found me a new project right away so it was okay. For 2.5 years of working, I turned myself from Junior to Middle and learned ReactJS. The most vivid memory is our first corporate party. This year we celebrated in a restaurant, with a personal photographer, and stuff! But our very first party was on the apartment’s balcony. We drank beer, made barbecue, and talked. Ihor, Serj, and Max told us about how the company developed, and the story that lays behind it. We finished with battling about Android and iOS. Yes, three years ago it was still topical. I supported Android then (looks at his apple icon)”

Tips for newcomers from Vlad:

1) Prove yourself during the first days;

2) Learn a lot, even if you think you won’t need it later. Trust me, you will;

3) Sometimes overwork and do more than required from you. It seems unfair to some, but it pays back in the future. 

Below is the photo from the rented apartment – the first SapientPro office.

Ion

If you don’t know something – google it. If Google didn’t help – ask Ion.

“I started working for SapientPro in August 2018. Before that, I had 1.5 years of, let’s say, free-of-coding vacation. So I had to recall much information and renew my skills. When I came, we were still in that large open space office – a huge room with one table for all of us. Everything was okay with this office except for… the old man who was constantly turning off the central heating. We called him by his father’s name – Zaharych. Imagine winter, your nose is red from the cold, you drink 10000 liters of hot tea, and Zaharych says: “Guys it’s not that cold, lay down the cardboard on the floor!” The best solution!

So, my first day, right? My PM gave me the task to launch the project on WordPress. So I arranged a server on Windows, and spent 4 hours working until there was an “Error 500”. It’s the worst error of all. Turned out MAMP on my computer didn’t have the right version of PHP. When I installed Ubuntu instead of Windows, things went smoothly. For all the time spent at SapientPro, I acquired patience and calmness during my working process. I worry less about unexpected failures. I notice that the more emotions are involved, the more bugs there will be”. 

Tips from Ion:

1) Show everyone that you are easy-going. My practice shows that as soon as the newbie says an F-word, everyone just breathes out and starts feeling more comfortable;

2) Learn how to use the coffee machine. You will 100% deal with it, not one and not even two times a day;

3) Sit near your team;

4) Don’t ever show that you know a lot because people will always ALWAYS come and ask you tons of questions. How do you do it? How do you call that? Can you help me with ____ (insert anything).

Yurii H.

The example when lightning does strike twice in the same place! He always posts funny self-made memes in the stories. 

“I entered the company two times. First, I reached it in its first stages of development. They worked in a rented apartment, and I thought like “whaaaat?” After spending a week there, I noticed that they had big plans and perspectives. However, I have been proposed with another offer and considering the fact I still wasn’t attached to the company, I left. 

In 1 and a half years, I came back to work part-time. The guys gave me the project (SteelTrace), and as soon as they saw my progress, Ihor and Serj offered me full-time. That’s when they became we. What amused me in the working process the most is the feeling of unity I had when Serj was turning on the music. It was so cool and motivating. We were freaking coding hard! We have this great new office now but in an open space it was also good. We joked, coded, ate, laughed, and discussed everything all together. Also, it was at SapientPro I first dealt with working chats. You know, not only work and projects but also all those memes and funny videos. I learned many things since the first day: Elasticsearch, Continuous integration, Mongodb, MobX, Blockchain, Docker”

Yurii’s tips:

1) Fit in the team;

2) Be friendly with your Team Lead;

3) Decide how you want to develop;

4) Just code and be a cool guy.

Sasha P.

He knows JS (React, Vue, jQuery), HTML, and PHP (WordPress). Sometimes we wonder if Sasha is like Neo from Matrix because he learns so fast!

“My first days began with a slight miscommunication with my PM. A long story short – I didn’t come to work on the fixed day because I didn’t get a message from him. However, it didn’t affect our relationships, so no worries! First, I understood that this job is the kick in the ass because I understood how much I still had to learn. So I did. Improved my Vue, learned to code in React and a little bit in Angular. In 4 months, I got my first real project. Oh, I recall why I wanted a job at SapientPro in the first place! They had a pretty cool website. I thought that yeah, I want to work with them”.

Tips for newcomers from Sasha:

1) Do not be afraid to talk and seem stupid to other people. Sometimes the things you consider stupid to ask are important to ask;

2) When you don’t understand something, admit it. Someone will surely explain it to you. 

Oleg

He came back from China a year ago and started coding. Favorite phrase – “Good evening”. Even at 9 AM. 

“SapientPro is my first commercial job. I came just after the week the guys moved to a new office. Just in time for the welcome party! Ihor conducted a little office tour (“here’s the kitchen, there’s the bathroom”). I expected that the first day would be more introductory. I thought I would sign up some papers and get to know everyone. All this happened in several hours, and then Serj told me that I could start coding! It was pretty cool, only the project was challenging.  After weeks of work, there was something that especially surprised me. There is no strict hierarchy. There are no bosses. Here, they don’t even call themselves bosses and don’t act in that way. I call them simply “The Founders”. What have I learned that I am proud of? Definitely, React. Also, I boosted my ability to communicate with clients”.

Tips from Oleg:

1) If you enter a new job, don’t act out. It is noticeable;

2) Learn a lot, and then be sure to show what you can do. This way, an array of new possibilities and projects will emerge. 

Viktor

The master of technology and the one who brought most people to the company. 

“I remember I was working on my project. The guys kept inviting me to work at SapientPro. When my project did not go well, I agreed. 2-3 days I had small tasks. Honestly, I expected that would be it. I would do these minor tasks and then they’ll say “Okay, bye”. I don’t know why I thought so. However, Ihor and Serj came to me and said: “Vitia, we would like you to work with us!”. My first project was MasTrack. I remember they sent us the technical requirement, and it was really hard to understand. I spent weeks trying to figure out what all those schemes meant. Turned out, they forgot to send the other part of the task (laughs). During my work, I boosted my communicational skills and learned Symfony, Elasticsearch, Docker, React and React native”.

Viktor’s tips to SapientPro newcomers:

1) You need to have a beer with S.Zh. (PM) at least once! Trust me! (Vlad screaming “Yeah, and then have a serious talk with his wife”);

2) Do not focus on your screw-ups too much. Everyone has them, it’s normal. 

Kate P.

A scarce wonder in the company because she is one of the few women at SapientPro. 

“How would I describe my first days? First – a lot of information. Second – a total mental shift by working in the male environment for the first time. Third – constant jokes. I think devs like three things most: coding, drinking coffee, and joking! So I was surrounded by the programmers, and I didn’t understand what they were talking about from time to time! Turned out, they had their own terminology. However, guys always explained everything to me in “human language”.  On top of it, I was afraid to use our coffee machine. There are all those buttons. I thought I would definitely break it!

The first thing I noticed about the company was that they did everything to make it convenient to work in an office. During my first day, Ihor gathered everyone together and introduced me. Serj motivated me a lot and told how I could develop in my profession. Jenia helped me to overcome the barrier I had when searching for candidates. The first person I found for the company was Kostia – our designer”.

The tips Kate would give to the recruiters who are on their first day at work:

1) Try to remember everyone’s names.  I did it by drawing schemes. I created a map of our office and signed every place with an according to name. Also, the characteristics were helpful: this guy drinks a lot of coffee, that one talks a lot, this one is constantly wearing headphones. Can you imagine how stupid I felt when they started switching places? My scheme went off the rail;

2) The vacancy won’t disappear. During the first days get to know with the company, staff and learn intensively;

3) You have to be patient when working as a recruiter. People will often text you back in days if not weeks. 

Roma D.

A master of dark and absurd humor. Wake him up, and the first thing you hear will be a joke. 

“I work for SapientPro for almost three years. The first days were scary, confusing, and funny. Scarry – because it was my first experience. Confusing – because I didn’t know a lot of things. Funny – because the crew was amazing, and they all laugh at my jokes! When I came, 5 people were working in an office. Everything I did was for the first time. I used to read about frameworks and technologies during my classes. Here I saw how it worked in practice. When I did something as it was written, it didn’t go well. It taught me to analyze the situation and care less about what the guys write in instructions. They are also people. They also screw up, just like me, you and everybody. So I didn’t mind”. 

Roma’s tips:

1) Be proactive and code hard;

2) Don’t fix it for the sake of fixing. Fix to find out your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. 

Serhii Zhytariuk

A.k.a. S. Zh. The “big boss” in the game of SapientPro. If you win S. Zh. with the number of hours he has – you won God, you found out the meaning of life and reached Nirvana!

“When I came, there were only Max, Serj and Ihor. My first task was to make an extension to the browser that would detect the fake articles by analyzing the words and phrases there. My first dev was Roma – this little parasite (laughs and looks at Roma who is grimacing). We began by working on one WordPress project. It was called Cipher. I always called it Chipster, and it made me laugh all the time. When you code the whole day, anything can make you laugh, really. How was it in the beginning? HARDROCK! We were intensively looking for clients, fixing the estimates, arranging the documentation…”

Serj’s advice to Project Managers:

“If you are a PM and welcome somebody new in the team, there is one vital rule. Help them! You know, new devs are like kids. You need to help them make coffee, show where the bathroom is, talk slowly and coherently. Anytime you don’t pay attention to them, they just defocus, turn on their smartphones and text. If this happened, you’ve lost them. Kids, I tell you!”

What’s next?

In the next part of the article, you will find out about “The Founders” of SapientPro – Serj, Ihor, and Max. Their first days in the company are the first days of the company. So how it all began? We’ll post the article in two weeks, just after the company’s birthday. For now, here are the excerpts from their interview:

  • “How have we all change? Serj got older, I got younger” (laughs)
  • “Our first office was a rented apartment. I remember we came and it was all empty, except for the table in the middle”
  • (Why is your office all in the style of Star Wars?) “Yeah, that’s actually quite funny. The thing is that…”
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