Employee Spotlight: Meet Alex Golubinskyi


On the May edition of our Employee Spotlight series, we’d like you to meet
Alex Golubinskyi, the Senior Software Developer on the Platform Development team here at FISPAN. Alex joined FISPAN in April 2019 and is an integral part of our organization, leading the design, development, and execution of software specifications for our clients. Based in Odessa, Ukraine, Alex has held previous roles as a Tech Lead and Technical Architect, and is also the current Co-Founder and CTO of Cubismore.com, a stress-free project management tool for start-ups. Alex graduated from Odessa National Polytechnic University with a masters degree in Information Technologies.

Let’s get to know a bit more about Alex, his passions inside and outside of FinTech, and what his experience has been like in embracing a fully remote working environment.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is the fact that I am able to work on complex projects which, when implemented, are actually making people's lives a little bit easier. At FISPAN, I can see first-hand how my contributions are making an impact on some of our most important clients and business partners, and that’s been an incredible payoff.

I also like to learn a lot, so for me, there’s really no better way to learn new things than to dive in and get my hands dirty  and that’s what I get to do at FISPAN on a daily basis.

What has surprised you about working at FISPAN and what continues to excite you today?

What has both surprised me about FISPAN and continues to excite me is the culture of openness. I enjoy the fact that each week we hold an all-hands meeting with a high-level digest of the most important updates from across the entire organization; we get an inside look at what each department is doing and how it all comes together to translate into our company’s goals. This broad range of transparent communication translates to the team level as well — there is also a well-established practice of show and tell meetings where all employees are given the opportunity to present any new, creative, and innovative projects they’ve been working on lately.

Have you enjoyed the shift to remote work amidst the pandemic?

Yes! When I joined FISPAN there were very few people working remotely full-time. Those were pre-COVID times, and while we had the option to work remotely from time to time, full-time remote work wasn't all that common. I wasn’t used to the idea of “working from home” either since all my previous companies were not very remote-friendly. So, it was a leap of faith for both myself and FISPAN, but I’d say it worked out fantastic. I’ve got more family time, I spend no time commuting, and the work is much more asynchronous. It means less context switching and greater productivity for me at the end of the day.

The one thing I do miss though is travel, which is currently quite limited, so the following amusing story is a thing of the past for now. I was once in a Zoom meeting with our CTO, Val Novikov, and other team leads. Val noticed the change of scenery in my background, and so he asked:

— Alex, are you in a bar or something?
— No, not in a bar, just in Paris.


paris

An avid traveller: Alex's landscape shot of Paris from a pre-COVID trip.

 

What has been your favourite project at FISPAN so far?

As a part of the Platform Development team, I have the luxury of working with the majority of the system components. So far, my favourite projects are massive refactorings of internal systems that enable future growth and a couple of other internal services that serve a similar purpose. Our team also owns Development Experience (DX) — an umbrella for improvements that make the daily lives of our other engineers simpler, so I’m more than happy to be able to contribute there as well.

If you were to give any piece of advice to anyone applying to FISPAN, what would it be?

It’s important to understand that we are a start-up so you’ll be making many decisions that, in bigger product companies or outsourcing shops, are often made by someone else. This gives you a great opportunity to learn and grow because although it’s always exciting to make your own decisions, people sometimes forget to take ownership for the consequences that come with their actions. With great power comes great responsibility, and FISPAN gives you this power to do what you think is the right thing to do, but also puts you in a position to be held accountable.

I’d like to add that FISPAN is a very welcoming environment in general, and there’s always someone willing to help you out or provide relevant information and any resources you need.

What is the best compliment you have ever received?

That my Slack statuses are great.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I don’t usually have much time to spare, but when I do get an hour or two, I try to dedicate them to another passion of mine: music-making. It all started in high school and was a near-constant source of joy ever since. I started composing using computers back then, but since around 2015 I’ve started accumulating some hardware synths too.

Another turning point for me was when I discovered Eurorack modular synthesizers a few years ago. Modular is, essentially, like LEGO for adults — there are modules that perform specific functions, and you combine them to build the synth, which does exactly what you want. It turns out that knowing what you want is quite hard, but I'm still working on this. I would sit in front of my modular, think about what I want to do, connect the modules with patch cables and try to perform the resulting patch just like a normal musician would perform a piece using a traditional instrument. My current areas of interest are algorithmic compositions and improvisational systems, both of which are made possible by modular hardware and computer systems like Max/MSP.


modular1modular2

Outside of work, Alex dedicates his time composing music using the modular pictured above.


What are your future career aspirations?

I have always thought of myself as a problem solver. Whenever I come across a problem, I can't help but immediately think about the many possible solutions. Quite naturally, when I first started my career as a Junior Software Engineer some 10 years ago, I was given simple problems to solve: this field validation is broken, there is a typo in the web form, the result of the calculation is incorrect; you name it. As I continued to gain more and more experience, I began taking on increasingly more difficult problems. Several years and a handful of roles later, this process still continues to this day and I see no reason for it to stop anytime soon.

At the beginning of my career, I was implementing solutions to known problems within existing products. Now, I feel much more confident in being able to identify a problem and develop a solution to it within the existing business. The next big step for me is to be able to identify and solve problems that no one has successfully addressed before. Ultimately, my goal is to help as many people as possible, in a sustainable way.

What is a professional skill you are currently working on?

I spend a lot of time reading great books on the topics of innovation and business (I’ve listed some of them below, check them out!). I obviously try to stay on top of the trends in technology as well, but I’ve realized that I also want to learn so much more beyond that. I think this will help me solve a much broader range of problems.

  • The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, by Clayton M. Christensen
  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries
  • The User Method: How Entrepreneurs Create Successful Innovations, by Jeff Schwarting
  • Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
  • Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It, by April Dunford
  • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal
  • Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards, by Yu-kai Chou

What is your favourite quote?

Since quotes have to be contextual just like banking, here’s one by Clayton M. Christensen: “Disruptive technology should be framed as a marketing challenge, not a technological one.”

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We invite you to get to know Alex further by checking out his LinkedIn, and by exploring the many career opportunities we have here at FISPAN for everyone, remotely or in-person.

 

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