I dreamed of breaking out of Uzbekistan and becoming a cool developer. I don’t want anymore – but the development does not let go
I’m not one of those engineers who, as a child, repaired an old grandmother’s TV with a soldering iron. Dad didn’t buy me a computer, because I didn’t have a dad. I grew up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, lived quite average, studied at a bad school, was a nerd in elementary grades, and did not hang out with anyone. Mom worked, tried to make money. Therefore, I basically lived with my grandmother.
They never pressed me with my studies. They said, unlearn and go to work, no matter who, the main thing is not to sit idle. I didn’t sit – I chopped into games, it’s really wild, I even had to do eye surgery. He began to hang out in smoky clubs, and he raised his approval of the guys by playing well in varsch. Then he began to degrade in the area. There has never been a single developer among friends – but I rather like it in them. No one club of interest, even a rapper, no one wanted to become – just ordinary guys.
Nobody even thought of going abroad, everyone just wanted to go to Sharaga or Lyceum after the 9th. Grades 10 and 11 were canceled at that time. Yes, even if you study well, nothing will change. In my environment as a whole there was such an atmosphere.
The concept of “tanish-bilish” is still alive in Uzbekistan – this is when your neighbor’s uncle puts you in a university or a fatter job. I didn’t have that. After school, I generally let go of the situation and went to a regular college, where I did not have to take exams or pay someone for admission. So I thought, I’ll finish and go as a manager or operator to a bank or a sales agent, like everyone else.
But I liked the math, and I wanted to go to Moscow State University – its branch remained in Tashkent. There they demanded more computer science, I decided to pull it myself without tutors. I found Kernigan and Ritchie’s book on C, and I wildly liked it – as if some kind of magic. Then he further strengthened it with all sorts of stories of cool developers and got completely hooked. For weeks I sat poking around in the terminal.
In general, they took me to Moscow State University.
The horseradish is clear, this is not a good fairy tale – they took me only for a contract, so I needed money. I couldn’t get a job as a developer, I didn’t think about a remote site without experience, and I worked as a waiter for a whole year.
At the university, during the couples we were not allowed to use the phones. For a big change, I was hungry for food, but if you order food at the beginning, they will not have time to bring it, and you don’t normally eat. Everyone ordered quietly under the desks or under the pretext of going to the toilet. It looked pretty funny.
The sites then worked simply disgusting because of the mobile Internet and the crippled layout designers. Some institutions could order food in a chat room with a living person. I thought it was strange and inconvenient, plus couriers communicated through telegrams in the Uzbek language – the state language, and I always had a Russian-speaking environment, so I don’t really know the language. I can, of course, buy non (bread) or understand that I was sent to hell.
Once I read about bots on “Zuckerberg will call”, there were all sorts of cases about taxis, and I just needed a pet project for the portfolio. I made a prototype of a bot for ordering food, I suggested to the familiar dryers. They agreed.
And after their orders went snowballing, and then almost every major food service outlet began to order bots for me. Here something began to creak in my head. This whole topic helped me pay for my studies and realize that it’s true that you can earn money on programming, and it will be fun — and with your own, albeit lousy, product.
But the money from the development seems to be different than from working as a waiter or a sales agent. They feel as if you cheated on someone and no one understood.
The institution was not much different from the institution, and it took ten minutes to launch a new bot. I was even called a speaker at a marketing conference. It was generally funny – dudes from Yandex, Mail spoke there. And I. I just went out and got into it, because in essence there was nothing to tell. In general, I stopped thinking about grades at the university; I forgot to try for the sake of an honors scholarship. Why, if only two bots brought me the same amount.
It was a very strange feeling – your shitty code is a product, real people use it, you even helped them in something – it made it better, more convenient than it was. They do not care who you are, and what’s under your hood – FP, not FP, types are not types. They want to eat.
I abandoned my studies and did not really learn how to develop how to be a good businessman either. I always had a fad that I didn’t really go out in any way, that nobody would love and appreciate me just like that. But at the same time, I always want more, I am always dissatisfied with myself. You will conditionally achieve something and right at that moment you think – well this is nonsense, here are other guys, here they really have a good feeling. Here they can, and you are an imposter.
I was always afraid that the idea of Next Big thing would come to me, but I simply did not have enough brains and hands to implement it. And what could be worse. I would gobble up myself. Using the example of bots, I realized that to launch a profit center, a lot is not necessary, and products can be crap. But the fad is still here. And it burned me out.
Then I decided to sell everything to hell and return to school. I sold it, and it’s good, I graduated from the university, but I still have the complex that I am a trader, not an engineer. They didn’t take me to work in normal positions, where I really wanted to. At the same time, they called to Beeline and other large offices as a manager. And this bombed me, I wanted to prove to myself that I am a developer.
Every year from Uzbekistan only two or three people get to Yandex. For us, this is almost the same as Google. Everything is as if in slow mo. There is little money, few vacancies, the party is two or three people from the swamp, who have products at the VP or Tilda, the SFTP deployment and the approach “will do.” I decided that if I get there – this will be a confirmation. I started to prepare, passed four interviews, and they took me. There I worked on video and audio calls in the Yandex messenger. I had a very cool lead – he essentially made a man out of me.
There is a lot of work in Moscow, there is a party, a movement, and it seems that everything is easy. The scale of the city, the pace, is not comparable with Tashkent. Here I could continue to work in Yandex, I had already scheduled interviews in Avito and Lamoda. Could grow fast. And I would like to stay, but for personal reasons I had to return to my homeland in Tashkent.
The missed opportunities hurt. But I sent an application to PaulCamper – it’s something like Airbnb for motor homes, a large German startup. Yandex helped me pass the checks, because before that I could not even go through a screening resume. It was cool there – both the team and the culture, even paid business trips to Berlin twice a year. We have an average salary of $ 200-300, and with the money from there I could live like a king.
But I don’t understand why I can’t. Programming at the beginning gives you the feeling that you can do everything. After Moscow and Yandex, I seem to have gained confidence that even a mediocre software engineer from Uzbekistan will always easily find a new job with a decent salary. You look at people who are sitting in a bank or state office, all the important ones, in ties and day after day, are doing the same thing, paper by paper. And from the side – complete hopelessness, the first candidates to replace the neural network. And at this moment you think – well, I snickered. I have a great profession, and they pay more than the market.
But the alarm does not go away. Because you understand – you are not very different from them.
Sprint after sprint, rally after rally, duty on duty. This is an endless work of Sisyphus, there is never a feeling that the work has ended or may even end.
No matter how much I work, nor in Yandex, anywhere else, I can’t get the feeling that I’m doing an important thing. Yes, they pay me well, but comfortable and all that. But everything is crushed to dust on sprint boards and strange boring crap like the endless specifics of German car insurance.
Difficult, very difficult to find meanings here.
Then there was a cove, there were contractions, bam-boom, the second wave, and it washed me away.
Left without development, I felt like a drug addict. And it kills her to do, and it’s impossible to get off. It creeps into you so deep that it suppresses other interests. You speak only for development, you read only about development, you stuff everything and you fill yourself a price tag. And when you’re not talking about development, you feel guilty.
I don’t know, I like the stand-up, I even performed in Moscow. I like the video production. But development leaves nothing to chance. It’s like that – well, you’re enough to be ridiculous, then you get paid for features, go read about microservices, in general.
And I kind of promise myself to quit and start something else. And then I go, read, study, again respond to the vacancy, go through the social security, accept the offer and climb back into the wheel.