Welcome back to the latest post in our series “Meet The Demacians”, wherein we get to know the people who make it all happen at Demac Media.
Surprisingly, this is my sixth post in this series but first Magento developer specific interview. That’s because we’re so much more than just another dev shop!! Click here to learn more about what we do at Demac to help businesses, plan, build, and grow.
Keep reading below to learn what this futbal loving, Magento master, does at Demac…
Name: Dmitry Chayka
Role: Sr. Software Engineer, Technical Lead
Department: Merchant Success
Time served at Demac: 2 years and 2 months
1. How did you find Demac or how did Demac find you?
At my previous workplace I worked with Kyle McGregor who eventually decided to switch jobs and found Demac. Within the first couple of months he insisted that I make the switch to Demac as well. I refused to do it then because I was in a transitional phase and wanted to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible to the point where I wasn’t challenged anymore to make me want to switch. A year past and I reached out to Kyle to see if Demac was still hiring. By that time Kyle had quit Demac but stayed in touch with a few people at the office. In the end it was Val Carias who vouched for me and gave the recommendation to Dimitri (our CTO) which led to an interview and shortly after an offer of employment.
2. What’s your work-day beverage of choice? What’s your Friday afternoon beverage of choice?
Every morning I start my day with a cup (or two) of coffee and then switch to drinking water throughout the day. Usually I have another cup of coffee at 3-4pm or Red Bull depending how energized I have to be for the remaining couple of hours. On Fridays it’s all about beer.
3. How would you explain your job/role to a 5 year old?
Ohh… that’s a tough one. My responsibility is to make sure that the company that sells toys (as an example) online continues to grow to make better toys and enjoys the process throughout.
4. How do you explain what you do to your parents?
I build and manage websites for brands with or without a physical store location. I think that’s as simple as it can get. My parents are not tech savvy so the question “how’s work?” usually asks about the the culture, industry, the interest in doing that line of work rather than development challenges I face on daily basis.
5. Demac is a flexible workplace….what hours of the day (or night!) do you prefer to work or get your best work done?
My ideal working hours are between 10AM-6PM. I’m not a morning person and I like to stay up late at night so waking up in the morning is a challenge. The flexibility to come in late is an advantage not only to sleep in but also to avoid the rush hour on the streets, the subway, at Tim Hortons, etc. I find that long commute, dealing with traffic and frustrated people creates a lot of unnecessary stress early in the morning which may affect performance throughout the day.
6. What did you study in school? Is it relevant to what you do now?
In high school I wanted to go into networking as I enjoyed working with computer hardware but by the end of grade eleven I was able to take apart and rebuild my personal computer from scratch so a 1 year program did not seem challenging enough. I decided to go into Software Engineering Technology which directly benefited me in what I do now. The only difference between my program and what I do on daily basis is the programming language I use. In school I studied Java and C# (used by our integration team) but halfway through the program I discovered PHP and found it more appealing to my programming style. Since then I’ve been use PHP for almost all of my development projects.
7. What song are you loving at the moment to listen to while you work? (or which was the last song played on your spotify?)
I don’t have a Spotify account. Throughout the day I listen to di.fm switching between Trance, Progressive, and Club Music channels. Occasionally I put on random Youtube hip hop playlists. It all depends what I’m working on; if I’m working on complex problems then I choose to eliminate outside noise (like conversations) and lyrics in the songs, this is where progressive music comes in. If I’m working on a task where the solution is clear then I tune into trance music.
8. What meme/gif/video makes you laugh the most?
I don’t even know how to describe this…
9. What’s your favourite site to buy from? / Which eCommerce site do you think is amazing?
Amazon hands down. The speed at which this site operates blows my mind considering the amount of products and volume of users it processes. Everything from their warehouse operations to same day delivery process is what makes Amazon stand out and be the leader in ecommerce industry.
10. How do you balance work and life? / What do you like to do after you leave the office?
I’m a big soccer fan. Throughout the year I play soccer in multiple indoor and outdoor leagues. If I’m not too tired (sometimes Red Bull helps here) then I try to hit the gym after work. I love my outdoor activities, such as camping, lakeshore jogging, going to a cottage outside of the city, etc.
11. What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?
Participating in movies, tv shows, commercials as a background extra. I did it for a few years between school and getting my first full-time software development position. Not only do you get treated well but you get exposed to a completely different industry while getting a chance to be part of a movie set. I still want to continue doing it but odd schedules and unpredictable locations makes it difficult to commit to this line of work.
12. What do you love about working at Demac?
Culture. The people in this office are fun, outgoing, smart and primarily enthusiastic about the work they do. One of many reasons I enjoy coming into the office rather than working from home is because of the Demac team. There’s always something spontaneously fun happening at the office which you don’t see at most workplaces. After working on a task for a long period of time I have the need to disengage and socialize with people around me and my team makes it very easy to do that.
13. Do you live Demac’s values in your everyday life?
Definitely. Demac used to have 7 core values which I found to be directly related to how I operate or at least would like to operate not just on the job but in life overall. They’ve since been updated, but I still think that these apply to how we as a company, and how I work at Demac.
Have fun – I enjoy the work I do during the day that if I’m not busy with sports I would come home and do freelancing on the side simply because I love problem solving and writing code.
Stay curious – when something isn’t working as expected I can spend hours trying to figure out the reason why. Not because I have to but because I want to. There’s that feeling of accomplishment and success when finally figure it out that you’re proud of yourself and wanting to share a solution with everyone else; which shifts to “share everything” core value
Share everything – I used to have a mind set that keeping knowledge to yourself would make you more valuable in a workplace because you’d be the only person knowing how to fix or approach a problem. That changed very quickly when I started working in a fast paced team environment. I quickly learned that the more knowledge my team knows the faster we can solve problems without having a single person investing hours on an issue someone else has previously solved. Knowledge sharing is now a part of my everyday routine inside and outside of the office. If I can help someone by sharing what I know then not only do I help them address their issue in a shorter period of time but also help them grow professionally and becoming a valuable member of the team that gets shit done.
14. What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to shopping online/in stores/etc.
I would have to say the size selection. I enjoy shopping online and in stores but both become very annoying when you find what you like but can’t find the right size. I actually avoid purchasing clothes online simply because 99% of the time the size is not the one being advertised. In stores I’d have to cycle through multiple sets of the same style of clothing to find the size that I “think” will fit just to try it on and find out there’s barely any universal metric for men’s waist, width, height, length, etc.
15. What have you done at Demac that you’re most proud of?
I can’t say there’s that one specific thing that I’m most proud of but I take a lot of pride in being able to solve complicated Magento (or Google Analytics) issues after few other developers on the team attempted to solve them but failed. You put yourself in a situation where you are the last line of defense and it’s on you figure out a solution to the problem, there’s no one else to ask for help because those resources have been exhausted. It’s that feeling of satisfaction you get after hours of debugging, trial and error that you’re able to scream (in your head) “it works!!!” as you get off the chair and walk around the office with your hands in the air followed by this dance: Then you spend an hour or two sharing your findings with everyone else who tried and failed but now will know how to approach a similar problem in the future.