Saken Sydykov

Specialization: Information Systems. Training: Make School, USA.

Saken is from Kyzylorda, he is 24, and in the winter of 2017 he won the competition nFactorial Challenge, that Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation carried out jointly with Arman Suleimenov’s Zero II One Labs. 8-weeks training at one of the best schools for developers in the World — Make School in San Francisco — became the award for Saken. But before that, there were study at Republican school of physics and mathematics and study and work at the Kazakh-British Technical University, where he developed his first application.

How did you win the contest?
The competition was held in two stages in three cities — Astana, Almaty and Karaganda. We had to present the project (problem-solution-market-monetization) and tell a few words about ourselves in just 2 minutes. I presented “Four” — the game I developed. As a result, the jury chose me as the winner in Almaty.

How and what were you taught in the US?
The school had three areas: games, apps and VR (virtual reality). I chose the mobile games section. The training was online based and if there were questions we could always press the instructor’s call button. Every day we have cloned such popular games as Flappy Bird, Angry Birds, Timberman, etc. Training was pretty easy, the tasks were constructed with increasing levels of complexity.  In the beginning, we created the simplest games, and in the end we made games using artificial intelligence. Another interesting element of the training was the daily “Stand up’s”.  Every morning we were in a circle, and the instructor asked us three simple questions: what did we do yesterday, what do we plan for today, and the third question was random, it changed every time. In addition to studying on the online platform, we had open lectures and events.  The lectures were not boring at all, all had their practical sense. For example, they could distribute stationery and ask us to come up with a game using them. I want to note the attitude of our mentors towards us – students: they always listened carefully to the question and clearly answered. We developed mobile applications, games and applications based on virtual reality. My choice fell on the development of games.

What did you learn there?
We were taught not only to code, but also to work in a team. I remember one day we were all asked to close our laptops, and we were divided into groups. The task for each was to copy what was in the next room. Only one member of a team could enter this room, and based on his/her description, we had to recreate what was seen there. I was surprised at how much learning can be fun and funny. I didn’t become a super coder after school, but I realized that it was not only about cool ability to code, but about loving what you do. Love what you do, do what you love. One more simple skill that I learned there, I find particularly valuable. We were taught how to properly formulate search requests on the Internet. Before you contact the instructor, you need to correctly ask the network, and if there is no answer, contact him. Also I consolidated my independence and learned to ask the right questions.

What are your achievements at the end of training?
At the end, I finalized and launched my mobile game “Round the World” for iOS with more than 2000 downloads from China. I understood how you can develop games locally for the foreign market, you need only a computer and the Internet. On arrival, I gathered the team “Fade in”, where we are already working with the game Animja.  I learned how to make games for iPhone and run them in the App Store.

17.04.18, Success stories

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