Olzhas Aitbekov

Specialization: computer engineering. Internship: ‘Arka’ startup, USA.

Immediately after he graduated from the International IT University (Almaty), Olzhas managed to work in the Austrian company Axess AG and Kazakhstan’s Chocolife.me. Having heard about the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation competition for internships in American startups he applied, and became one of the 43 applicants competing for the right to work in the Silicon Valley. Where is the 23-year-old Kazakh now after winning the competition and spending six months in California?

When and how did you decide to become a developer? What are you passionate about besides IT?
I have always had good mathematical skills, but I came to programming relatively late, and only actively started to study it in the 11th grade of school. Before that, I even thought about seriously going into cooking! But I decided to do that as a hobby, something I don’t regret at all. In programming I liked non-standard ways of solving a variety of problems and the use of elements of mathematics and logic. I love to create new things and learning about technology, so I decided I wanted my life to be connected with these areas.

Tell us about the startup where you trained?
works on the customization of parcels and boxes for small and medium-sized businesses. Our clients are engaged in e-Commerce and sell goods online. To properly brand and decorate the boxes in which their goods will be delivered, they come to us. With the help of a 3D designer on our platform, they can change the size, material, quantity, and design and add the desired inscription in a couple of minutes.  The startup is small, only 7 people, and the office is a large apartment in the center of San Francisco. There is a very friendly team, and the most important thing is that it has the spirit of a developing startup.

Olzhas, what exactly did You do at Arka?
Literally everything. Development of the site and the user platform, optimization of algorithms for sorting and delivery of packaging to customers, working on servers, and working closely with designers on the models and the main site, and the development of the admin panel was also my responsibility. Sometimes we went to meetings and conferences, showing our product and attracting investors. Often I had to act as a manager and, of course, communicate with people who can positively affect the development of a startup.

What did you gain from doing the internship?
I grew as a professional. I strengthened my knowledge in project development, learned how to work with AWS (Amazon Web Services), Unity, GraphQL, Docker, and raised the level of algorithms and data structures. Now I understand startups as businesses much better, and got experience in  analytics and management.  I communicated well with the cool professionals. Almost every week I went to meetups and major conferences that are organized for developers like Google, Lyft, Uber, Amazon. Of course, I improved my English and traveled a lot in Sunny California :). As a result, my desire to grow and develop professionally has only increased. Now I’ve added to that the desire to share what I’ve learned with my colleagues in Kazakhstan. I maintain good relations with the developers of Arka to this day, and sometimes I still help them.

What are your plans?
To learn more and develop my skills. At the moment I work in a large company – PayPal, where many processes are very different from those that take place in a small startup. To me it’s a completely new experience and new knowledge. In the future, I would like to be in management or in the role of CEO of my own company. I want to share my experience and knowledge with developers from Kazakhstan. The potential of our guys is huge, and they are in no way inferior to the best developers in America and the world, I was convinced of that during the internship.

21.06.19, Stories

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