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EPAM’s Anniversary: Celebrating 25 Years of Memories

Interview

Our story began in 1993, when EPAM was founded by Arkadiy Dobkin in Princeton, NJ and Leo Lozner in Minsk, Belarus. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of change – not only within the technology landscape, but at EPAM as well. As part of our anniversary celebration, we chatted with some of our longest tenured employees about the changes they’ve experienced first-hand.

When did you start working at EPAM?

Alex Kazlouski: I started in September 1999.

Ferenc Tarkanyi: I started working at Fathom Technologies in May 2002 as a Technical Team Lead/Software Architect. EPAM and Fathom merged in 2004, so I have formally worked at EPAM since 2004.

Nadzeya Mishurava: As a student, I started in October 1995 and as an employee, I’ve been at EPAM since May 1996.

How many employees did we have then? How many clients?

Alex Kazlouski: I still remember the name of my first workstation – it was epmw120. As far as I know, the numbers here were incrementing as more people were joining, so there were likely around 120-130 employees by that time. As for clients – perhaps a handful, I bet less than 10.

Ferenc Tarkanyi: I don’t have records, but I think we had about 300-400 people in 2004. When I joined Fathom, we had about 10 clients and approximately 100 engineers. One of my first projects was to implement an eCommerce backend for a German retail customer called Otto.

Nadzeya Mishurava: My first work computer had the number 16 on it.

How has EPAM changed in the years since you started here?

Alex Kazlouski: Well, at first I had the impression that I was joining a “big company.” Before EPAM, I had a few other jobs, but none of them had 100+ software engineers. Since then, there has been tremendous growth at EPAM – from number of people working here to number of projects and clients and from brand recognition to the company’s maturity and capability to tackle even more complex engagements with our clients.

Ferenc Tarkanyi: I think if you compare the About EPAM Systems sections between our press releases from 2002 and 2018, it will give anyone a pretty good picture what has changed for EPAM during these years:

In 2002 In 2018

A leading provider of e-business, enterprise relationship management, content management solutions and custom development services in software engineering, Eastern Europe’s EPAM delivers low-cost, high-quality software solutions globally using an onshore/offshore development model. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, EPAM has its major development centers in Moscow, Russia and Minsk, Belarus.

EPAM's customer base includes such companies as Colgate-Palmolive, Halliburton, Verizon Communications, Samsung America, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Bally of Switzerland and others. In the technology world, EPAM provides services to such firms as SAP, Brio Software, ServiceWare, PTC and others.

Since 1993, EPAM Systems, Inc. (NYSE: EPAM) has leveraged its core engineering expertise to become a leading global product development and digital platform engineering services company. Through its ‘Engineering DNA’ and innovative strategy, consulting, and design capabilities, EPAM works in collaboration with its customers to deliver innovative solutions that turn complex business challenges into real business opportunities. EPAM’s global teams serve customers in over 25 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. EPAM is a recognized market leader among independent research agencies and was ranked #12 in FORBES 25 Fastest Growing Public Tech Companies, as a top information technology services company on FORTUNE’S 100 Fastest-Growing Companies, and as a top UK Digital Design & Build Agency.

Notice the existence of the stock symbol and lack of the word “low-cost” in our most recent iteration.

Nadzeya Mishurava: It started as a small team of friends, but now it’s a big corporation that brings together people from all over the world.

How has technology changed since then? Please provide specific examples.

Alex Kazlouski: Dramatically, to put it mildly. Some of today’s “mature” platforms and even programming languages such as .NET with C#, Scala and others didn’t exist, the web browser war was between MS Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, and cell phones only had voice and text functionality and were owned by few people. The way we do software engineering now – Agile methodologies to organize work, Cloud to organize infrastructure, Big Data to organize data, social networks to organize people and interactions – were all yet to come.

Ferenc Tarkanyi: In my opinion, the biggest technology change since I have joined is that I can now carry a powerful minicomputer in one hand that has UHD+ screen resolution with 16 million colors, 6GB RAM and 128GB SD card, which is my mobile phone. In 2002, a cool PC had 256MB RAM and a single core 400Mhz Intel Celeron CPU, a 17 inch CRT monitor with 1024 x 768 pixels, and it definitely wasn’t very portable.

Now I can talk to my phone and ask for driving assistance from it and it can turn me into a funky emoji character in real-time that can make video chatting with my kids even more exciting. A few days ago, I walked on virtual moon sand. This was my first VR experience and it was shocking to see how much technology changed in the last 16 years.

Nadzeya Mishurava: The computer I used in 1991 was huge! It took up around 100 square meters, it had 4 MB of RAM and the 29MB hard drive weighed 7 kilograms.

What was the biggest technology-change-related challenge you had to face?

Alex Kazlouski: To me, the most remarkable changes were the ones I previously mentioned. I think that the biggest one is still coming and has become a hot topic over the last few years. Every technology grouped under the Artificial Intelligence umbrella where algorithms are combined with data – including machine learning and deep learning, NLP, chatbots and conversational intelligence – will drive our lives, whether we want it or not.

Ferenc Tarkanyi: Personally, I adapt to technology changes quite well. In fact, I usually change my technology ecosystem every five years at least to force myself to learn new things. In my opinion, the biggest challenge is not sticking with the technology that you know very well for long time. It is difficult to face the fear and time required to learn something new when you are confident with technologies you already know and have used for years. However, technologies come and go and you can become a dinosaur in the change of climate …

Nadzeya Mishurava: The biggest challenge for me has been to teach my mother (~80 years) to use modern computers. I think I have achieved this goal – she “lives” in Skype with her older sisters.

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