How Archil Varshanidze Found His Path at EPAM Georgia and What It Taught Him
If you need to describe what Archil Varshanidze is doing at EPAM Georgia, one job title is insufficient. You need at least three: a Senior Software Engineering Manager, a Delivery Manager and the .NET Practice Head in Georgia. In this interview, Archil shares what he likes about all these roles, suggests essential skills you need working in tech, and describes how his passion for music helped his career. Read on to learn from his experience.
How did your career at EPAM begin?
Before EPAM, I was one of the founders of a local software engineering company, one of the top ones in Georgia. And when EPAM approached us to acquire our company, we decided it was the right opportunity.
What do you mean by cultural fit?
The size difference between EPAM and our Georgian company was significant. It was easy for us to imagine that such a large company would involve excessive bureaucracy, and nobody would pay attention to a simple engineer. However, we saw the opposite. EPAM is a people-oriented company with open and transparent communication where employees feel valued and part of the team. As a result, everyone has an opportunity to grow, contribute and change things around. What’s more, EPAM provides multiple online and offline activities uniting people around their professional interests and hobbies.
It was evident that Georgia would significantly grow as a location for software engineering with EPAM. It would be not a small step, but a jump! Therefore, our company decided to unite efforts.
What do you like in your role at EPAM?
One of the things that I appreciate about EPAM is that whatever title you have, your role on the project is almost always up to you. For example, my primary responsibility is growing the .NET team in Georgia, but during my career at EPAM, I contributed as Delivery Manager for one project and project coordinator for another. I can also choose to focus on improving my technical skills and contribute as Solution Architect or even Software Engineer if the technical stack matches mine – all whilst having the same title.
Additionally, you have plenty of different activities and opportunities to contribute. Even me talking to you now is one of these opportunities, right? One person can enjoy more communication, mentoring and sharing knowledge, and another person prefers to train to improve technical skills – EPAM provides opportunities for all.
What do you see as the essential skills in your role as a Software Engineering Manager?
This position requires technical, people management, communication, and project management skills.
I know that music is a hobby of yours. Have you found these musical skills useful for your professional development too?
I am a self-proclaimed musician. I play the guitar and sing. Two years ago, I decided to try drumming. It has not disappointed me.
Without a doubt, music is an enriching experience and has actually helped me reflect on my career in many ways. For instance, I like to compare drumming and programming to explain how practice differs in these areas. The thing I often hear beginner engineers complaining about the lack of practice. They are right to some degree, but they need theoretical knowledge more than so-called practice. In music, training is physical – you need to train your limbs. For example, the ability to control movements of hands and feet is necessary for playing drums. Even if you theoretically know what to do, you will discover that often your limbs will not follow. But what is software engineering practice from our body perspective, if not just pressing the keys? In this case, training your mind is essential, and the best way to do it is to gain vast theoretical knowledge. If you read books and documentation, watch videos and other educational materials, you will be able to solve many practical tasks even at the first encounter.
Thanks for sharing! Could you please tell us one more personal story: how do you see your future career at EPAM?
As I said, EPAM provides endless growth opportunities to EPAMers, and I am no exception. From the title perspective, I would like to become a director of software engineering. Another goal is to grow a bigger team in .NET. Also, in a couple of years, I would be interested in delivering on higher scope projects at EPAM and helping grow Georgia as a delivery location.
What would you recommend to specialists looking for a managerial position?
If you want to become a manager, you should learn to maintain a positive attitude towards challenges and see them as opportunities. That is an essential part of the job.
Management, either delivery management or people management, means that there is always room for constant improvement. When managers have a positive mindset, they can see all the beauty of working towards optimizing processes and creating a more productive working environment.
Thank you for the interview! In the end, could you share the most valuable professional lesson you have learned with EPAM?
After my first couple of months at EPAM, I assumed I knew everything about the Company. "I like it, but this is all there is," I thought. But as time passed, EPAM proved me wrong. I have discovered more opportunities, gained more insight, and met interesting people. That is why I am so excited to work at EPAM. It has been 1.5 years and I still experience exciting new things every day. That is probably, my biggest lesson so far.