Interview with Oleg Fridlyand and Alexey Volosevich
Software engineering is one of the most dynamic fields out there. Within just decades it has leaped from room sized “super computers” to desktop personal computers, to portable laptops, to phone-sized mobile devices. And now the Internet of Things connects devices of all types via cloud-based commands and controls. The constant change keeps all of us at Coherent Solutions on our toes! We can’t sit back on what we learned yesterday to prepare us for the work we’ll do tomorrow.
So it only makes sense that we would have a dynamic and growing training center for our employees. Playing the role of a mini-university, the training center offers our employees over 20 courses currently. Today’s blog, while under Oleg Fridyland’s name, is actually an interview with him as the head of Coherent’s Minsk training center, together with Alexey Volosevich, .NET Training Manager at the center.
Question: Coherent’s training center will celebrate its five year anniversary this November. Can you tell us how the training center idea was conceived?
Oleg: The training center idea came from our business needs. Coherent was growing fast and we needed more experienced professionals than we could even find and hire. We realized there were good students graduating from university, as well as people within our own company who wanted to learn new skills, but they all needed training. The training center was created to fill that need – helping new graduates to get up speed quickly, and teaching our current work force new technologies.
Alexey: I believe that any fast-growing IT company that wants to stay on the leading edge of technology eventually realizes that training is necessary. It is a natural evolutionary phase for a serious IT company.
Question: How have your classes and methods of teaching changed over the years?
Oleg: In the beginning we offered only applied training. After an engineer successfully passed an interview for a new job position, he was assigned to study in the training center for one or two months. Within this period of time we prepared him for a junior developer position.
Then we started noticing there was interest among our current employees in learning new technologies, or gaining deeper understanding in certain areas. When Alexey joined our team in the beginning of 2015, we started doing university-style lectures on the .NET framework. These were very popular! In August this year Oleg Yaroshenko and Dmitry Kavtur joined our Java training team. We are now conducting in-depth lectures on Java. At the same time, we have been developing other new areas like front-end development, databases and DevOps.
Question: How do you choose training topics and technologies?
Oleg: Our developers often have to learn on the go, as they move from one project to another within our organization. Our clients count on us to use the newest and best technologies and methodologies. By teaching our employees systemic concepts, they can be useful wherever they go. It also gives them opportunities to build their skills and careers. So much of what we offer is dictated to us by the market, as it grows and changes.
Alexey: Also, in 2015 the structure of our company changed slightly. We separated front-end, mobile, .NET and DevOps into departments to strengthen our technical skill in each. These managers evaluate where the technologies are going and make suggestions. We also get ideas from informal “meet ups” where employees exchange ideas. For instance, our AngularJS training was launched after a very successful meet up on that technology.
Question: Which technologies are the most popular?
Oleg: I would say .NET, Java, front-end and databases.
Alexey: The popularity of certain courses correlates to the number of employees working in that field. For instance, since we have a big QA department, all of our QA classes are extremely popular.
Oleg: Yes, this year we have put a great emphasis on educating our QA engineers. The field is getting more sophisticated and our clients expect us to set a high bar. We’re finding that our testers need a deeper understanding of the software they are testing, so we’ve introduced more classes to bring them up to speed on the concepts behind the code. We are finding that it is significantly improving overall productivity.
Question: What are some of the newest technologies that you see?
Oleg: Definitely cloud technologies and front-end development. Also, there is growing interest in functional programming languages like Scala and F#.
Alexey: I would add big data and the internet of things. And of course, most of the trending technologies overlap.
Question: Does the training center offer any types of certification?
Oleg: As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we offer Microsoft certification. We will offer others if our clients need it.
Question: What new courses are you planning?
Oleg: In October we launched a new DevOps program for junior developers. And this November Alexey will start lecturing on ASP.NET 5. Also, Oleg Yaroshenko is preparing an applied training class on Java. We are also working on classes in Scala and F# for 2016. Recently our Director of Career Development, Andrei Yurevich, suggested we consider training in specific fields like healthcare, finance, insurance and manufacturing. That knowledge promotes better understanding of client requirements and improves the quality of our final product for them. It will make us that much stronger as a partner and contributor to their business goals.
Oleg has worked in the information technology industry for more than 20 years, with experience in all phases of software development (from planning to release).He began his career as a software developer for road and transportation organizations in 1991. After five years of work in this field, his next employer became BelAgroPromBank, where he served as the Head of IT department in 1996-2000. For the next four years, in 2000-2004, he was the Head of Methodology and Tools of Procedures Management Department in the Interbank Processing Center. During the years 2004-2008 Oleg worked at INTELPART, where he actively participated in the development of more than ten business and research software systems, including decision making support software, applications for the semantic analysis of documents, card-index of management decisions on conflict resolution between coworkers, etc. He became part of Coherent Solutions/ISsoft team in 2008. Since 2010 he is the Head of ISsoft Training Center.