‘Admissions Process Was Smooth and the Programmes Are Well-organized’
Alexander Smirnov, a 2017 graduate of the Business Informatics programme, spoke about his admission to HSE-Perm, about his career after graduation from the bachelor's degree and the skills that every IT specialist needs to develop.
About admission to the programme ‘Business Informatics’
I always planned to go into IT. I was attracted by successful foreign IT projects but I was not interested in programming at school so I wasn’t sure about choose. I submitted documents to three universities in Perm, including HSE. I did not seriously think about going to HSE until I talked with the head of the programme in Business Informatics, Alexander Deryabin. He also happens to be Academic Supervisor of the Master's programme ‘Information Analytics in Enterprise Management’.
First of all, I was amazed by the atmosphere of the Perm campus. The admissions process was extremely smooth and I consider that the study programmes are very well-organized. I knew that HSE would offer me exactly what I was looking for.
About the educational process
I haven’t really noticed how 4 years have gone by. In 1st and 2nd year, we studied mostly basic subjects: economics, law, philosophy, mathematical analysis, statistics, etc. I would also list the disciplines such as programming, modeling of processes and systems, and work with databases. Besides, there was a focus on the development of professional IT-competencies.
Before my Bachelor's degree, I used to think that there were many subjects that would never be useful in life, for example, ancient Greek philosophy. However, I now understand the importance of each new area of knowledge.
It's not enough to be a good IT specialist - you need to constantly develop effective communication, team management, and conversation skills. These enable graduates to be competitive on the labor market.
About student life
I did not participate much in extracurricular activities at HSE but I know that many of our students were able to develop their talents. I can tell you more about the dormitory and sports on campus.
I was lucky enough to live for 4 years in the best dormitory in the city. And I am not exaggerating. The atmosphere is really ‘family-like’ – we all got on well and helped each other, and had fun in the evenings. I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the staff for our excellent living conditions. Regarding sports, there are many opportunities to continue sports you already play, or to try a new one. My choice was volleyball and I enjoyed it a lot.
About my current job
After my third year, I finally decided on the direction I wanted to head in, and was seriously interested in mobile development. I started with self-study and graduating in mobile development, and embarked on my first internship. I then began my career as an iOS-developer. For 2 years, I managed to work on several projects that differed significantly one from another - from large state orders to applications for keeping track of small children. For the latter, I was the leading developer and was involved in organizing international team work. This is where I really needed the skills I mentioned earlier.
I have taken a break in organizational activities, as I decided that I want to continue to develop programming skills. Currently, I am working in the mobile development studio, Surf, which is one of the top 7 mobile developers in Russia and is the first Google Certified Agency in the country. This work allows me to contribute to my full potential as a developer and I don’t have to deal with managerial tasks.
For me, it was a great surprise when I was invited to teach at HSE. After finishing my first year as a teacher, I now have a better idea of what it means to teach students.
Believe me, it’s challenging to teach cutting-edge topics that change at the drop of a hat, and I am grateful to our teachers for the time and energy that they have invested in our studies.
About future plans
I recently came to the conclusion that, after honing my skills as a technical specialist, I will return to being team leader and, perhaps, I will launch my own project if I have a worthwhile idea. I don’t plan to move, as I have always believed that there are no ‘bad’ cities, only lazy people. Nevertheless, I receive proposals for work abroad, so I am not ruling it out.
Advice for students
To be honest, I do not like to give advice. Everyone has their own opinion and people can perceive the same thing in different ways. I can only say not to be afraid of mistakes. The best lessons always begin with defeat. Do not be afraid of the choice that stands in front of you now.
Always be open, active and take on difficulties as exciting challenges. I thank HSE again, and all the teachers and staff for the knowledge they have imparted on me.