In this episode, Mike Gardon chats with Ross Dzikovsky. Ross is a native of Kyiv, Ukraine and is the co-founder of Bilberrry, a software development firm with its development team based in the Ukraine. Mike and Ross briefly worked together back in 2013-14, and have kept in touch ever since. Mike wanted to catch up with Ross to chat about the software development path, how he evaluates talent, the team’s approach to remote work and of course, his perspective on how things are going in Ukraine. Ross has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry with a strong background in Software Engineering, Product Management and Business Analytics. As a co-founder of Bilberrry Ross oversees the team of 40 engineers and has led several large scale development engagements for brands such as Deloitte, Impinj and David's Bridal.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:
- Ross’s journey of becoming a self-taught software engineer
- Why he didn’t finish college
- The process behind building a company with clients from the United States with an international team
- How Ross and his team of 40 juggled the transition to becoming a remote company and their dream to travel the world together
- How the team’s plans to return to the Ukraine were disrupted by war
- Bilberrry’s effort to help the people of Ukraine
- Ross’s thoughts on what’s going on in Ukraine
- How Ross and Mike think about dealing with uncertainty
- The top skills everyone needs to know to work well with software engineers
- How you can start learning software engineering skills
HELP US OUT!
Help us reach new listeners by leaving us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts! It takes less than 30 seconds and really helps our show grow, which allows us to bring on even better guests for you all! Thank you – we really appreciate it.
BOOKS AND RESOURCES:
- Link to support the people of Ukraine
- Bilberrry website
- Chess and Minecraft - can help kiddos get started with software development thinking
- Connect with Ross on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and his website.
Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.
Mike Gardon (00:00):
Hi everyone. And welcome back to another episode of CareerCloud radio. I am your host Michael Gardon. I'm on a mission to help people build thriving work lives. And the truth is there's never been a better time to control your destiny. The key is to understand your options and get intentional to help you along the way. I try to have interesting conversations with people that approach the idea of work a bit differently. Hopefully these conversations open your eyes to the infinite options. There are to earning a living, finding purpose, happiness and balance. Today's guest is my friend. Ross Dzikovsky is a self-taught software developer and is a native of the Ukraine. He is founder and CEO of Bilberrry, a US-based software development company with its main develop and team based in Ukraine. At least that was until recently in this episode, we talk about how Ross found his passion for software and why he dropped out of university to actually learn more by working. We talk about his experience going from centralized team to worldwide remote and that decisions they've made along the way to create a remote first culture. And obviously we discuss the war in Ukraine and how that has affected his team and their company plans. You won't wanna miss our discussion around what he's learned about dealing with uncertainty and the importance of developing multiple scenarios for what the future could look like. I hope you enjoy this episode with my friend Ross Dzikovsky. Ross, welcome to the show. How are you a buddy?
Ross Dzikovsky (01:23):
Nice. See you.
Mike Gardon (01:24):
It's been a long time since we've connected. We obviously worked together for a period of time back in what seems like another life. So I'm really excited to have this opportunity to reconnect with you and talk about software development. Talk about what your company does. And also obviously the huge topic on everyone's mind is Ukraine these days, and you are Ukrainian native and native of Keve. Is that correct?
Ross Dzikovsky (01:50):
Mike Gardon (01:52):
Just to start, I wonder if you could sort of first relay to the audience here. Number one is everyone that you is your family and, and your employees and everybody safe, or are there any challenges that have, have come up with kind of just safety of keeping your team together?
Ross Dzikovsky (02:10):
We were probably lucky and I'm happy that all my family and our team members and even their families are fully safe or relatively safe. So no, one's in a no one's exposed to real bank of war at this point. So we are even managed to run a company right during the work time.
Mike Gardon (02:31):
Right. I wanna get into some of the stories you were just telling me before we started recording, but before we get there, I kind of wanna back up and, and talk a little bit about your personal history and your background. So you grew, grew up in Ukraine. How did you, and you went to college there, right? Like the equivalent? Yeah,
Ross Dzikovsky (02:50):
Yeah. Technical college. Yeah. Right.
Mike Gardon (02:52):
How did you get into software development? How did you know that that was a path for you? Was there anything growing up in, in, in Ukraine that kinda led you there? Or just, what, what is sort of the background of you getting into this world?
Ross Dzikovsky (03:07):
Yeah. Well, I think it's not the, it's not really a fascinating story here. Cause I think it's like 50% of block and 50% of curiosity, that was like a new, so I, I up in a really small village Ukraine, right. So in my hometown, nobody had a computer, so I've never seen a computer. So it was like something, something really like weird. So when I saw that first time, it just like, it just blew my mind. Like you have access to literally a different world. So from that point, I think I was 10. When I first saw a computer, I was 15 when I get access to the internet for the first time. And since then, I really knew where I will end up being and what industry, what I will do there. When I saw the computer for the first time when I started playing around, like I immediately made a decision to become a software developer. So when I, everyone else were like playing games, I was actually interested in like creating those games. I was like, that's the next level? That's like a way more fascinating to actually create a game just to playing a game, but follow the rules. So, yeah. So that was like a really easy, easy path for me from that standpoint.
Mike Gardon (04:18):
Interesting. So are you based basically self taught? I guess I'm specifically talking about the point between, let's say you're 15 and then going to, to university, like, like what kind of resources were you looking at or learning from, you know, at that point
Ross Dzikovsky (04:34):
I am self taught. And when I'm looking back, when I was looking back, when I went to the college, that was at some points that was like hilarious. So I remember I created a game, so I didn't know algorithms or how to build a, a software. So I had to figure it out on my own. So I found a programming language. So I found a application that I can build right code. And I just started like experimenting and like trying to figure out how to do it. So at one point I created the game and I, because I didn't know how to write algorithms. I had to copy the code. I wrote 200 times and each time I was running to debugging, like trying to figure out if it works. And I found a mistake, I had to fix it in into like 200 times.
Ross Dzikovsky (05:21):
So I was self thought. I had a few books again, it's pure. I think that the, it just, the energy of curiosity, like helped me not to stop and like keep going. And that's also the interesting thing that when we, when we do recruiting, like even till, till today, I'm personally looking for this curiosity and, and energy in people. So like, if somebody's like in this industry, just for the hype or, or money or some, some like some interest not based on a, on a, on a software engineering itself, I'm noticing that that's not working really well. So if you wanna find a really good software engineer, we always look like, what's your background, what's your history, how you got in and like how you learned it and like, what's your motivation behind it?
Mike Gardon (06:14):
What were the other alternatives, I guess, at that point in time, time of your life. So if you weren't unbelievably curious about this sort of new world, right? Like what might you have done?
Ross Dzikovsky (06:25):
That's the first time I'm thinking about it? So, because I started like, because I started like software engineering when I was 10 years old or something, I never had a second thought, like, would've been the different path. Really. I have no answer to that cuz I actually barely remember my life without being in bed near the computer.
Mike Gardon (06:47):
It's fascinating. And I, I like to ask that question sometimes because I'm kind of the polar opposite of you. Like I still don't feel like I really know what I want to do or, or, or, you know, I mean, I've, I've obviously cobbled together a work life, a career. Right. And, and that scratches my creativity itch from the standpoint of building businesses or I think there's, there's a, there's a curiosity element to that, but there isn't like one singular.
Ross Dzikovsky (07:12):
Mike Gardon (07:13):
You know, I joke with my wife all the time, my wife's a, a doctor and it's like, your path has been clear, you know, since you were little and, and the same with you. So I try to like help the audience with, you know, hearing both sides of that. So it's, I, I love that. I mean, I'm getting chills, like just listening to you talk about being 10 years old and, and just knowing what you wanted to do with your life. That's fantastic. So you get to, um, you get to university and you continue your studies essentially in, so, right.
Ross Dzikovsky (07:39):
Yeah. I actually dropped it in a few years.
Mike Gardon (07:42):
Okay. So you did not complete
Ross Dzikovsky (07:45):
No. And the reason for that is again, when I, when I, so I went to Kiev, I'm studying university and then I was like, Hey, I need, I need more, I wanna start writing a software, not like studying for like five years. Right. So I think, think I, after the second, my, my second year I've just found a job as a software engineer and I've just started working. So by the time I had to get my master's degree, I think I founded a company, right. That was the same year. So I founded a company and I had basically, I had to, to, to choose from like do, when I get my master's degree or I'm running company, I'm building a software development company. And yeah, I, I made the choice.
Mike Gardon (08:27):
I mean, it makes complete sense. Like, you know, I mean, when you think about there's so much talk, especially in the us about the value of college education and talking, and I think for the vast majority people, it is valuable, but there's this Subec that we've sort of gotten away from like the apprenticeship model, right. You're not necessarily talking specifically about an apprenticeship model, but you're basically, that's what you did. You said, I want these skills. I'm not learning enough. I don't care about the theory I want to do. And so I'm gonna go find that out and you, and you just said, Hey, I ultimately don't need the stamp of approval because I've acquired a skillset and I've acquired a reputation that is essentially greater than what the stamp of approval would give us. So that's like a really interesting point. And I think it probably takes a singular mindset to do that as well. Like, you know, you knew right from the get go, like, that's what you wanted to do. So you do a little stint in, uh, university, you got job, you've got, uh, a company. I don't really know. And, and again, I I've known you for a little while, but I don't really know the story of how you got kind of hooked up with or over to the United States then from, from that point, like, how did that transpire?
Ross Dzikovsky (09:44):
So I started working at the, the, at the company, a software engineer, right. And there was some like a business culture, work culture, all of that. And I, for the most part, I was talking at my friends who in the ukranian Russian companies and like the, in, in the Europe and one thing I didn't like, and I had some like connections to the United States and like worked a little bit, and I really like the business culture, the way you run business in the United States, all the ethics and like the differences. And I think I, I was lucky to kinda have this side by side comparison when like work something with someone from Ukraine or Russia or Europe and Australia, and then United States. And basically I just made a choice. Okay. Like that way of doing business works best for me. And that was literally the way, the way I like caught all the business I had with Australia and Europe, even Ukraine inside the country. Cause I was like, that's the way I wanna build my company. And that was like intentional. And then I was just like digging to figure out how can I build partnership and some network in the us market.
Mike Gardon (10:54):
Okay. And so the idea was to how big was a, a company at this time that you're talking about?
Ross Dzikovsky (10:59):
We, it was like five people probably.
Mike Gardon (11:02):
Yeah. So the idea was to build software in a client model right. And maintain an engineering team in Ukraine or Eastern Europe.
Ross Dzikovsky (11:13):
Yep. Correct. Cause I also, I also saw the difference since I worked with a different clients and different engineers across the globe, I kind of distilled the key differences. So I had like heres of weaknesses, there was a strengths of different, uh, engineers and like, um, and professions and, and countries and like how we can build a strong team, knowing all those differences between cultures, like, cause everything affects what you do. And that was our kind of idea of like building. I don't even like to say company, I prefer to say team, uh, cuz more about people. So we were like focusing on like how we can build a really strong team that can deliver to that specific market and that specific clients that we have.
Mike Gardon (11:59):
How did you go about building those partnerships from Ukraine to the United States? Like how did that go for you or what were your, some of your tactics, I guess
Ross Dzikovsky (12:08):
I would say that the best act internet sold the whole thing. Right? Cause like, imagine I imagine building the, the business like ours or the company like ours, like 30 years ago, it's like hands down impossible. So there were a lot of like freelancing websites that we just got into. We figured our, where we are good at. So we were like, not that thing as a just software engineering team, it was like specific type of software we can build. And we were like targeting those specific audience of like some startup trying to build that specific software that we know how to build. And we were just working on this freelance website, building our profile just over basically under promise and over deliver. That was our strategy. So we had a team, I think by the time we had a team of less than 10 people, we were in the top 50 companies on one freelance website, like overall. So yeah, that worked really well.
Mike Gardon (13:13):
I continue even in today, like if, uh, with kind of the proliferation of freelancing in all sorts of different areas, graphic design or digital marketing or whatever it is, it's, it's really interesting. Cause I've seen both sides that a lot of companies, fortune 500 companies use freelance websites like work and things like that. And they end up finding somebody that way, creating a one to one relationship and potentially, you know, even hiring them. So it's really interesting. You're kind of a ahead of your time in, in terms of, you know, building a company off of, uh, off of using those sites. So that's really, really interesting to me. So was this your, was this your current company or was this kind of the prelude to your current company?
Ross Dzikovsky (13:55):
I would say it's the same, well, the company changed, but it's the same name, same company for the whole run. Okay. Yeah. So we just, so I met actually I met Adam on the freelancing website. Okay. He was our client and when we worked with him, then we had this idea of like, we started talking, we built some friendship and they were like, yeah, yeah. Let's, let's just run a company together.
Mike Gardon (14:18):
Interesting. All right. So I wanna talk to about, so you've built essentially a company that has us based clients. You have sort of business development, us based, you have a, an international software development team. You were talking to me about kind of what you guys have been doing related to moving the team around, especially with what's happening in Ukraine. Talk to us a little bit about the evolution of that. Did you originally start in kind of a centralized office in Ukraine with the team? Is that how that started?
Ross Dzikovsky (14:53):
Yeah. We had an office, we always had an office. We were like really centralized company. Actually. We had a dream to being able to work remotely at the same time. We never had illusions that we can just like snap on the thing, become a remote company and be as effective as we are being together in the office. So it's a really important, like there was, we had a lot of discussions with the team it's really important to understand that being remote. It's not a, like, it's not a privilege. Like you have to build a remote first company and it's re it's extreme, really hard to build. So we were like taking steps towards that, towards that approach. Then we got a, I would say a help from a pandemic. So we became, we became remote remote in a, in a single day, but it was like, it was a long, it was a long run to do that. Right now when everything happens one months ago, we were kind of, we were ready because of pandemic. We were like set up to effectively communicate and work remotely and, and being able to organize ourselves really quickly.
Mike Gardon (16:06):
Okay. So I wanna get into this, the story you're kind of telling me right before we started recording, which is so, so pan to set it up, pandemic kind of forces you guys to go remote and yeah. Through that evolution of, of going remote and figuring out how you build this culture that works and this company that, that operates remote first, you guys kind of had a dream to move around a little bit, right. As a team. Cause right now in, you're in Italy, talk to us about what you were thinking and then how the team has moved around, where you guys have been. Just kind of get into a little bit of that
Ross Dzikovsky (16:43):
Five years ago, before we went remote, we had this idea and dream to get a team. Most of the team are part of a team and like rent a big house and or Thailand or India or Sri Lanka and just work remotely for months, like located in one house, like together, going surfing in the morning and do all this school stuff and also work. So this year we had, we're like, Hey, we are like really ready from a work remotely standpoint. So we, we got a 15 people, some of their families, we ran it out big how big house that was end of January. So for the months of February, we decided to go and just work remotely for, for some time with the team. And that ended up being on a different plan. So we stayed there longer obviously. And, and now like now we try to, to set up office or location for the team. So I'm in Europe right now. I'm in Italy. I most likely I will fly to Portugal or somewhere else. We're still moving around trying to figure out where we wanna settle. But yeah, that's a, that's a short story.
Mike Gardon (17:52):
Okay. So first, how did you make the decision? Cause this was obviously with the whole team. So how did you make the decision to go to Sri Lanka? How, how did that go? Uh, is there a lot of debate?
Ross Dzikovsky (18:02):
Yeah. Well, so we've implemented, so there's a idea of neuro cracy or some
Mike Gardon (18:09):
Ross Dzikovsky (18:10):
Meritocracy. Yeah, exactly. So that's what we are. That's what we're implementing our company. So every decision we make, well, yeah, pretty much every decision we make, we basically making a vote like voting process. And then we have a, obviously a board, we have a like CEO, like all those roles. And then we were just looking at all these pro cons, what the team wants and how people feel. And then we make a final decision. So same with a, with the Sri Lanka remote work. Like, do we wanna go work remotely? Yes. Some people said no, what the countries want to go was Sri Lanka, Turkey, Cypress, uh, Thailand, Egypt. And then we're just like figure out the, all the other factors and just made a final decision. And everyone who agreed with that will just, just joined us.
Mike Gardon (19:00):
Okay. So some people did not join. Is that
Ross Dzikovsky (19:02):
Correct? Yeah. Yeah. It was not a full team. So we have a team of 40 and we got like 15 people on a trip.
Mike Gardon (19:07):
Okay. That makes sense. So the, the big, like elephant in the room wrinkle to that story is you were slated to come back to the Ukraine in late February, right? Yeah. As everybody knows, we have a little war brewing, uh, there. And so that kind of complicated your decision to come back. What was the decision process then? Like for the team? Was that like a, okay. Just go remote from anywhere that you can be, or obviously you're in Italy right now, but do you have like people centrally located with you in Italy? How did that all work?
Ross Dzikovsky (19:46):
First of all, like we never, like, even like the day before the started, like we never believed that's going, going to happen. Like that was impossible. Like zero chance. We, we, we had our flights like two days after war started and like, we, like we were coming back. So even the only media bus we had when, when everything happened, I would say for like a week or two weeks. So the decision process, like really chaotic, I would say for the first few weeks. So like you have no idea what's going on. The first priority was just to get people in the same locations. So we were in the Sri Lanka, I would say we took, we literally took just one day off to process banks. And then we said, okay, our, the best thing we can do right now is to refocus on work while the rest of the team go a safe place, we have to like keep working to make sure we do not lose any business and show to our clients that we keep working.
Ross Dzikovsky (20:49):
So the decision process will like really, I would say cold habits. Like we are safe. The best thing we can do, we can, we can keep working. Everyone else get to a safe place and then establish your workspace and try to get back to normal life and work as soon as possible. Uh, obviously with the focus on, we had another, like this voting process was like how we can help Ukrainian Ukrainian people. So we've immediately started thinking about how we can help volunteers and children and hospitals, and like, and set up that whole process as a part of our company and made it like our day to day routine to figure out how we can actually help help the country. So, and since then, that's the way we operate right now, setting up priorities and just, yeah. Going towards,
Mike Gardon (21:42):
Okay. At the time you had a significant portion of the team still in Ukraine, you, you have some people in Ukraine, but are they're in relatively safe places, correct?
Ross Dzikovsky (21:54):
Yeah. Yeah. I would say right now we kind of distributed. We still have third of our team in Ukraine, in the safe places. Luckily we have third of our team in Europe and we have another third in the United States.
Mike Gardon (22:07):
Okay. And Europe they're kind of scattered around Europe. Is, is that correct? Jack? You're in Italy. Yes. I think you said Poland, Portugal
Ross Dzikovsky (22:16):
Mike Gardon (22:17):
How are you deciding where to go next?
Ross Dzikovsky (22:21):
I cannot express how hard it's to make that decision. So we rented the apartments Italy just to give you perspective and context of this decision making process. Our rent period ends in two days and we still didn't make a decision. So I like to travel a lot. I always wanted to go different countries right now. The only place I want to get to is key. So it makes it impossible to choose from like Europe or United States or anywhere in the world. There's only one place you want to go. And it's so hard to, to even like distract yourself from, okay, I cannot go back to Ukraine again. I physically I can, or so I'm not saying it's impossible, but I was like how we can focus and be more productive and where we can be more productive and like figuring out and picking that spot. That's extremely tough. And yeah. So we're still in that process and I'll let you know when we figure it out and I'll share a story of how we ended up winning over the psychology and making the most productive decision there.
Mike Gardon (23:30):
And you, you have family, correct?
Ross Dzikovsky (23:33):
Mike Gardon (23:34):
Yeah. So how has that been on your immediate family? You have kids.
Ross Dzikovsky (23:38):
Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I have a son who's six, six year old now.
Mike Gardon (23:42):
Yeah. I have three, three kids and I can't imagine like kind of forcibly having to move them around. So how have they been doing with the whole thing?
Ross Dzikovsky (23:52):
Yeah, so same thing. I was lucky cuz that was the way we lived our life for like last five years. We've moved to the United States for a year. Then we back to Kiev, we lived in Europe for a few months. Then we moved back in a different apartment in Kiev. So luckily my son, it's a normal experience for him. He's moving around. He got used to moving around. So he actually did not understand what happens to the degree that he's just keep traveling. So that was from that standpoint, that was really easy transition cuz technically for, at least for him, there was no transition. He just lives a normal life as he used to. So that was pretty easy. And that
Mike Gardon (24:39):
You ultimately wanna get back to Keve obviously I think 97% of the international community wants to see things just return to normal for yeah. Everyone involved and especially you guys, what is the state of things in, in Keve at the moment? I think you were kind of telling me that it's relatively safe actually. Despite what, maybe a lot of, uh, places
Ross Dzikovsky (25:03):
It's really hard to give the, the context. I mean it's a war. So it's with all brutality, as it is being safe in Kiev is also relative to being in other cities that are like really occupied and are under massive attacks. So it's all like it's hard to say safe is even hard to say safe at the same time. I do realize that this war will not end in one month or maybe even three months or maybe even a year. I do have like I, I painted out different scenarios just for myself to be ready that this war can be a really frozen conflict for years. So it's really living in this world of one hand, you are really hopeful that the whole thing will end in one month or a few weeks. And you, you really hope for that, that helps you stay positive and live a life at the same time, you are doing some long term planning and you understand that you may be a few years and you can not go around living in a Italy or Portugal or Spain for like few weeks here and there. And it's basically the what's in my head right now is like trying to merge those two different worlds together and like build a plan and not go crazy at the same time.
Mike Gardon (26:25):
Yeah. And I think as you're experiencing part of dealing with uncertainty is having scenario a, B, C, and D, which kind of forcibly runs counter to optimization, right? Like, like there's so many people I think, you know, especially to me in the us, right. We wanna optimize everything we want to in our lives, right. Everything has to run smoothly. And it's like when uncertainty happens and when you have to deal with an uncertain world, like you have to build redundancy and you have to sort of scenario plan and be ready for multiple options. Like that's the only way that you actually deal well with, with uncertainty, which is, I think a, a takeaway for our listeners is like our listeners are not in your situation, but take from this conversation like what you have to actually do. And what's forced upon you in a situation of extreme uncertainty and you can build that into your life today, uh, for whatever, you know, so smaller problem, the encounter.
Ross Dzikovsky (27:25):
That's what I'm also learning, like apart from watching news and, and, and being stressed out about the war and, and people dying out there, I'm also trying to learn something and, and, and incorporate it in my life, like with a way smaller problems. But I think that will help a lot. And we have this joke, like we started joking even, uh, but we have the joke, like in a, in a, in a CDs, every Ukrainian can then create a, a note that stress resistance. And you just say, I'm Ukrainian. So now we have, we'll have a maximum and stress resistance for sure. After everything happens and happening.
Mike Gardon (28:08):
Yeah. So when you're screening candidates, right. And you're looking at yep. Uh, how does this person perform under stress? I'm Ukrainian. That's fantastic. Exactly.
Mike Gardon (28:18):
Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. I wanna be respectful of your time, but I wanna ask, I do wanna ask a couple of questions that are more, I, I think tactical to people, developing skills, things like that. So I've always been curious as obviously, and you know, me, I'm not super technical from your vantage point. Like, what do you think are the top three or, you know, one to three skills that someone who's not, not technical needs to acquire in order to deal well with the explosion of, of technology and work with technical people like yourself, like, what are the things that need to bridge that gap?
Ross Dzikovsky (28:59):
I would say the ability to search information, the ability to, I would say question what was sad and try to distill like the, the people. So like, that's actually a great question, cuz like I always deal with, uh, like clients you're not technical and then try to choose which software development company to go with with their project. And basically the best skill you can is to learn how to distill that technical stuff that I do not understand from some judgment that I can make based on the skillset I have. So like trying to, trying to incorporate in a, in a decision making process, some things that I do have expertise on and test those like companies or that I'm trying to choose from how they respond to it. And then you can extrapolate on the technical decisions they're making. So it's like a complex answer. It's not a specific skill, but that's something really important to figure out how to do cuz that's, I would say that's a cornerstone to all the successful and not successful projects in the tech industry.
Mike Gardon (30:14):
I think how I would say it from my standpoint, at least. And I, I think I, I actually learned this from working with you and your team, like back in the day is we need to understand at a basic level how software sort of is created and how the logic backs it. And it's not that hard to learn because once you, but once you learn that and understand it, I think you're able to create a, a user story or a description of, of what you want the end product, the end result that is more relatable to like someone on your team. I think like basically that it's connecting it. Like I can go describe, oh yeah, build me this app that does these things. Right. But there's so many steps I guess, and micro decisions. I, and a lot of times the end result isn't doable in the exact way that you think it might be in your head cuz you're skipping all the middle. And so having like an, be able to have an appreciation for how that, like the process of creating those things I think is, is a game changer. At least it opened my eyes. So that that's I guess how I would say it. Um, yeah.
Ross Dzikovsky (31:24):
It's I would say it's, uh, operating on a more abstract level. So when you talking about the software development, actually the good idea would be to forget about software development and just describe in really playing words and terms of like how, the thing that you try to build should operate what the logic should be like step by step, really detailed. Forget about how it'll be implemented. Just describe the, the algorithm itself. Yeah. That, that would be the important part to it.
Mike Gardon (31:55):
Yeah. That's actually, I think a really great way to put it. Cause when you're a lot of times you just described the end result, as I said, right? Like here's the output that we
Ross Dzikovsky (32:05):
Mike Gardon (32:05):
The algorithm, isn't a mathematical formula up on a whiteboard necessarily. It's really in describing each step and how it sequences and what it does. And so a non-technical person can build an algorithm by making sure you go through those, those steps. I think that that's actually, that's really interesting. I'm glad you brought cuz that's made me even think about it in a different light. What about somebody who's who's into? I, I think about my kids, right. I think about my kids at, uh, my kids are 10, eight and five. What are the best resources out there for people to start learning how to code, how to build software? Maybe not specifically for, for kids, although you have a six year old. So I'm assuming you have got that, that guy on some kind of protocol let's start at, you know, high school or something like that. Like what are the best resources that people can do to, to learn that after?
Ross Dzikovsky (32:59):
Well, well, so actually for the, for the five year old I have, I've got my son a little bit into, into, well, so the, the not popular version would be games like the computer games are actually a great, great way to start thinking of algorithms and like pull landing step by step and like doing some actions. So I got my son into chess and Minecraft, so he's playing Minecraft and I'm watching his plane. That's actually good. It's got a good metaphor for a software engineering, cuz like you take these blogs and you piece them together and you get an outcome. So if you piece two different blocks, you get something else. That's kind of the way software works. So I would say for like five year old, Minecraft has a great entry point later in the, uh, down the road. When you start with games, the way I started, it was like I was playing games. I was like, how can I create a, and there are a lot of resources that help you like creating a game by programming some, some actions of the character. So I would say there's like a way that you start playing games, you figure figuring out algorithms on its own, then you play some games and then you learn how to program, um, characters in a game. And then you got into creating a game or creating a software.
Mike Gardon (34:28):
Uh, do you recommend any, or have any particular favorite coding, boot camps, coding classes or things like that. I'm thinking. And now I'm thinking about our, our listeners who are mid-career early career, just outta college and would like to try to add a, that this skill to their repertoire.
Ross Dzikovsky (34:49):
Honestly, I would say any it's more important to start than so it's, it's less about what to learn. It's about just going start learning the are many resources like pre cause I'm learning from time to time, I wanna learn language or new technology just for myself. I'm not coding for last 10 years. And the, the most important part is, is just go there and like start playing around, start a course, start writing some code, like some really basic like it's, it's really can be really basic stuff. But when you get into and you start playing around, then it's easier to make a, make a decision of like, yeah, this is what I wanna learn more. Or I wanna shift in different direction. Right. So a lot of my friends asking me like, what language should I choose? What programming language should I choose? I was like, pick any, it doesn't matter at the, at the beginning, when you will start writing some writing some code, then you it'll be easier for you to make a decision. Like, do I want more, do I wanna do some more complex stuff? Do I do I like more like a visual part of it? Do we want to do like a low level engineering? Like you'll get where your heart is going.
Mike Gardon (36:03):
Right. Cool. For people who want to, I guess, reach out or learn more about you, where can people find you?
Ross Dzikovsky (36:12):
I'm pretty much everywhere and Instagram of Facebook and, and LinkedIn held, uh, all the accounts there.
Mike Gardon (36:18):
Okay. We'll make sure we link to those in our show notes. And then you're also kind of raising money for people in Ukraine and, and doing some and have a bunch of activity there. Where can people learn more about that activity?
Ross Dzikovsky (36:32):
Yeah. So we've started fundraiser or, um, GoFundMe campaign that supports our, our donation as a company that we do on a monthly basis. And we just raising from, from the communities in our network and everyone who wants to get involved. So yeah, we have a
Mike Gardon (36:48):
What's the URL there. Do, do you know it off hand? Cause I think there's a page on your website, right?
Ross Dzikovsky (36:53):
Yeah. There's a page. We have a, we have a page on the build group website that we can give a link to listeners and they can read about how we help and just join the GoFund campaign.
Mike Gardon (37:05):
Okay. Well make sure we link to that also in the show notes and everything. Ross has been great. I really appreciate you taking the time and catching up. I'm glad to hear your safe, your team safe. I'm glad you're to hear about all the great work you're doing building companies and doing great work for clients. So that's just fantastic. And I I'm just super happy to see your face and connect again. So I really appreciate you being on the show.
Ross Dzikovsky (37:29):
Yeah, same. Thank you.
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