From Long-Distance Shipping Vessels to Silicon Valley Startup: An Interview With Olga Stogovaby@lastcallofsummer
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From Long-Distance Shipping Vessels to Silicon Valley Startup: An Interview With Olga Stogova

by Olga StogovaJuly 17th, 2023
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Olga Stogova is a Senior Product Developer at [OnDeck]( She is grateful to HackerNoon for the platform to voice out matters close to her heart. Olga's favorite thing about the internet is the accessibility of information.
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Hello everyone! My name is Olga Stogova, and I'm a Senior Product Developer at OnDeck.

I'd like to express my gratitude to HackerNoon for the platform to voice out matters close to my heart and for the opportunity to assist people in streamlining and accelerating their product development process.

1. What do you currently do, and what’s your favorite part about it?

Right now, like I've been doing for nearly the past 15 years, I help startups grow. I've always had a deep fascination with the startup world. When I get involved in a new project, it's hard for me to put down my laptop and stop coding, setting up the development environment, or planning tasks for the next quarter. It's an exciting process that I can't get enough of.

But, out of all the tasks a senior developer might handle, my absolute favorite is working with designers. I believe that good design can make or break a project. As a front-end web developer, I feel like I'm the one who brings the designer's vision to life, which is a role I relish.

However, the real highlight of my job is when we launch a new project. There's nothing quite like the thrill of releasing a product and seeing it being used by people. Whether it's customers or even just someone in our company, it's incredible to see how our work makes their lives a bit easier. It's those moments that make all the hard work worth it. And that's why I love what I do.

2. How did you get started with your Tech Career?

My tech career started in a pretty standard way. I spent a full five years studying software engineering at the Department of Applied Mathematics at university. We primarily studied C++ and Java, as well as a lot of advanced mathematics.

Honestly, until my fourth year, I thought I would dedicate my life to coding for long-distance shipping vessels (which was actually the topic of my coursework) or self-service checkouts. It sounds funny now, but that's what I thought.

However, in the fourth year, we started with web development and user interfaces. That was a turning point for me. Something clicked inside me, and I realized that this was what I wanted to do in the coming years.

3. If Utopia were a color what color do you think it’d be and why?

In my opinion, Utopia would be the color white. The finest paintings and the greatest books all started with a blank, white page.

A white canvas is the beginning of everything - it represents potential for growth but also poses the biggest fear for any creator. Only by overcoming this fear can we bring something truly good into this world.

4. If everything about HackerNoon changed drastically, what is one detail you’d like to keep exactly the same?  OR What’s your favorite thing to do with HackerNoon and why?

Please, don't ever remove the animated kitties from your newsletter - they truly warm my heart.

In all seriousness, these kitties symbolize what HackerNoon stands for - a free community where people can express their thoughts in a user-friendly editing environment and have a chance to engage with others' perspectives. It's truly invaluable.

5. Tell us more about the things you write/make/manage/build!

Right now, I'm building a community for company founders. It's an incredible place that helps people start or grow their businesses. This amazing journey I've been on for nearly 2 years has been such a joy, especially when I see yet another successful project that we've helped bring to fruition.

I'm also working on creating a web interface for an open-source project that assesses the performance of Java applications. We've spent a lot of time designing and fleshing out the idea, as well as developing concepts and design, and I'm now starting the actual development.

This project builds upon an already very useful repository, but after we release the new version, it will be much easier to use.

I also write technical articles on topics such as "how to create this XXX component." To achieve this, I set up repositories with code and npm packages. This allows readers to see firsthand how the code operates and incorporate it into their own projects if needed.

6. What’s your favorite thing about the internet?

My favorite thing about the internet is the accessibility of information! It's just amazing that no matter where you are or who you are, you can access the same tutorial on creating web applications or drawing on YouTube as everyone else.

You can learn something new, or simply spend an enjoyable evening watching cat videos (it's relaxing, I tell you!). Plus, you can always stay updated in this fast-changing world.

I am also fascinated by the openness of people on the Internet and how easily you can communicate with a person on the other side of the world.

7. It’s an apocalypse of ‘walking dead’ proportions and you can only own a singular piece of technology, what would it be?

In a 'walking dead' apocalypse scenario, my choice of technology would be a water purification and desalination system. Clean water is the primary essential resource. Having the technology to purify and desalinate water could serve as the foundation upon which humanity could be revived.

8. What is your least favorite thing about the internet?

My least favorite thing about the internet is how easy it is to get distracted. You plan to learn something in the evening, but end up watching Japanese street food videos instead! And, here it is, midnight, and you're lying in bed unable to sleep because you're craving sushi.

Furthermore, as a StackOverflow user, it's sometimes disheartening to think about how difficult it can be to find truly valuable information - for example, the correct answer to your question. There's a vast amount of information available, but only a fraction of it is truly a gem.

9. If you were given $10 million to invest in something today what would you invest in and why?

In my life, I've done a lot of mentoring for novice developers, and I know how 1. it's tough for them to find their first job and 2. the quality of that first job is crucial.

The first position or internship can impact the entire subsequent experience – such as whether a person will stay motivated, how they will relate to work, and what kind of code they will write. Also, junior developers stress a lot, and almost every one of them has imposter syndrome.

I would like to create a system where junior developers can gain their first experience by working on socially useful projects, while simultaneously learning and gaining experience.

10. What’s something you’re currently learning or excited to learn?

As someone who's devoted a significant portion of her life to engineering, I'm currently focused on improving my soft skills. In this regard, I'd recommend two books, "Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers" and "Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need". Both are exceptional and complement each other wonderfully.

These books have helped me understand how to truly lead a product team and how to support the members of my team. I'm deeply grateful to the authors for this knowledge.

11. Would you rather travel 10 years into the past or 10 years into the future? Give reasons for your answer.

Despite the question not being fully specified, like whether I could change anything in the past or shape the future with knowledge about it, I'll still answer.

Traveling 10 years into the future would be a massive spoiler, and a book should be read chapter by chapter, sometimes rereading the best ones. Ten years ago, there was a wonderful chapter in my life that I wouldn't mind revisiting it.