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Joining EPAM from a Newcomer’s Perspective

How does EPAM Latvia look from a newcomer’s perspective? A story from a lead software engineer. 

Though Artjoms Kalita has been with EPAM Latvia for only five months, he already has a lot to share. Let’s find out the reasons why he joined EPAM and what the company looks like from a newcomer’s perspective. 

Why did you choose EPAM?  

Prior to joining EPAM, I was looking for opportunities to progress in my career and influence stakeholders. 

I accepted an invitation for a technical interview at EPAM and it went incredibly well, as the job interview turned into an intelligent conversation about tech. The following meeting with potential managers left a good impression, too. I asked questions and received honest answers. 

The option to work remotely with great opportunities for self-education and growth was the most appealing to me. I was also told that I could choose to work with various projects and pick the most relevant ones. I really liked the feeling of respect at all meetings. The hiring process was quick: it took around three weeks from the first interview to the final offer, which I accepted. 

Did the reality match your expectations?   

Yes, without a doubt. I have been at EPAM for only five months and am impressed with the opportunities for additional experience and knowledge. I have never seen such a developed system to support employees’ learning journeys - offering many suggestions for what to study and a variety of internal training. I signed up for some courses and used free library access. The only thing I lack is the free time to learn all I want!  It would be interesting to try mentoring, but I have not had the opportunity yet. 

What is your current role in your project, and what do you like most about it? 

I am a tech lead for one of the core platforms teams, responsible for creating utilities and APIs. It is a challenging role in software development because we work with various security issues. 

I value interaction with the client, and it is satisfying to see the emphasis on broadening technical expertise and keeping our knowledge up to date. For instance, we work with Java 11, but the roadmap includes plans for Java 17 prototypes. I may say this is a rare attitude. 

Do you have a career development plan? What is your growth target? 

I am more interested in deepening my knowledge than changing my role. I believe a job role may not always define what you actually do. For example, a good programmer should be familiar with the architecture part of work and so on. I plan to get an AWS certificate for solution architects and obtain more experience in cloud-based platforms. 

How quickly did you find a project? Please share your thoughts on how to do it better. 

For me, it took less than two weeks. When choosing, I would suggest reading the project description carefully and paying attention to the project technology first. Are they up-to-date and interesting to you? Will you have an opportunity for self-development? In the process of reading, compile a list of questions. Try to talk with the delivery manager and clarify everything you need to know. It’s useful to learn more about the requirements and responsibilities. This is your chance to glimpse the project atmosphere and the processes inside the team. In my case, I consider the team size. If it is more than 10 people, for me, it is challenging to communicate. 

What would you recommend for those looking for a similar position at EPAM? 

I would suggest reading The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Fred Brooks. He wrote the book in the 70s, but many ideas are still up to date.  Become familiar with Clean Code by Robert C. Martin as well. It describes different sides of programming. I would encourage prospects to read about the team lead job, for instance, here. Even if you don’t plan to become one, it may help you view a broader perspective. 

Among podcasts, I find the following useful: Complete Developer Podcast (it covers all aspects of a developer life) and A Bootiful Podcast (it is dedicated to the Spring and Java ecosystems). is my favorite source of Java news. 

Do not forget about communication skills. Those times when a programmer could write something genius alone are gone. You interact with your team members to achieve the best result. For instance, I came across the thought that due to remote work, even code review required soft skills. People may take your words differently depending on if you’re speaking or writing. I suppose many miss this point. 

What is your idea of work-life balance? What do you do in your free time? 

I like attending professional conferences because they give you both motivation and knowledge. Also, I try to be physically active, run, or play volleyball from time to time. Exercise is a must with sedentary work. One more idea for a proper work-life balance is to travel. Even a short trip helps clear your mind. 

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