An interview with a Solutions Architect, Maksim Pecherskiy.
Learn about Maksim's Ukrainian background, his web development inspiration and his passions in this intimate interview.
Maksim Pecherskiy, a Solutions Architect for Promet Source is the living embodiment of the old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Covered with dark tattoos and piercings, you don’t expect his soft-spoken courtesy or his effortless smile. He has a quiet but strong passion for web and mobile development which he can explain with grace and patience to even the granniest of grandmas. There’s something about his presence that is disarming but there is a twinkle in his eye that implies a certain level of mischief.
Welcome to a spotlight on the mystery of Maksim: the balance of hard and soft. He just might be the coolest web geek you’ll ever meet.
Maksim spent his first 12 years in Ukraine where he only had access to a tape drive computer (something his older interviewer had never even heard of). He loved to use the program, Paint (remember that?) to draw and would patiently wait 30 minutes for the software to load from the cassette. When he first arrived in the States, he was sent to a Russian school because of his limited English. It was there he finally got his hands on modern equipment and quickly learned how to crash Windows 95 to get out of class because he had to fix the problem for the teacher. Soon after, he started a journey which would lead him to where he is today: a Solutions Architect at Promet Source.
When did you start developing?
“Oh, let’s see. I think I was 12 or 13. I was in 7th grade and I wanted to impress a girl, so I built her a website.”
Did it work?
“It did. That relationship lasted two weeks which was a long time for a middle-schooler.”
Was it weird having developing as a hobby as a child?
“I think a lot of kids thought I was going to hack into their personal accounts, like MySpace but they never made fun of me. Not that they were in awe either. Most kids really didn’t get what I was doing…I had a good friend with whom I’d always hack on Linux distros and XBOX mods. I think we got Linux running on his XBOX as well. I also started logging into IRC [a collection of developer chat rooms] when I was 13, so I had a community. Eventually, I inherited a server which took up half of my bedroom but the internet company sent my parents a letter, so I had to take it down.”
So, did you study computers or developing in college?
“Actually, no. I went to DePaul University here in Chicago and studied Information Systems and International Business Administration. My parents really pushed me to focus on business, so I compromised. In hindsight, it was a mistake; I should have studied at a school with a good Computer Science program.”
Would you tell the younger version of you to follow your dreams?
He laughs, “Basically. But, I did enjoy the year I studied abroad in Sweden and France. It exposed me to different cultures and gave me more time to study programming, etc on my own. I have looked into Master Degree programs for Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining. There are some really cool programs like that in Europe.”
What’s your professional specialty?
“APIs / Web Services, iOS, and mapping...Oh! I also love teaching! With Promet, I have been able to do some on-site Drupal training. Apparently, I am really good at explaining complex topics to people. I’m patient.”
What inspires you as a developer?
“I love it when I run into obstacles. Finding the solution is like figuring out a puzzle. I also like finding ways to structure things better.”
If you weren’t a developer what would you be?
“A world traveler.”
That’s not a job.
“Fine. I’d be a developer who travels a lot.”
How long have you worked with Promet Source?
“Since March 2013”
What kinds of projects have you worked on?
“I have worked on the Grinnell Forum - an alumni site for Grinnell college that improves alumni communication and gift-giving. I also enjoyed working a bit on the Green Cab app - An iPhone / iPad app that displays information about taxi dispatch times and locations.”
I know you have a lot of personal projects too. Any sneak peeks into what you’re working on?
“I don’t want to give away too much, but I am working on an app that tracks and communicates users’ ETAs. I love the work I did on a map for Birthright Israel - It’s a map of pictures based on geo-location and time. You have to check it out to understand: http://mrmaksimize.com/38-flavors-map I love doing little projects in my spare time; it lets me experiment with new technology.”
You have a popular blog too, what is it?
“Haha. I guess it depends on one’s definition of popular. You can read it at www.mrmaksimize.com. It’s a collection of random developer insights. I give out a lot of tips and techniques like “Creating Custom UITableViewCells with NIB files.”
What is your advice to other developers?
“Try to do a lot of open source development - you learn a lot and interact with a lot of people. Interacting with other developers really enhances your education and probably makes you a better person.”
Promet Source specializes in open source software, particularly Drupal. Have you contributed to Drupal?
“I have contributed a lot of modules, but some are under my old company’s name. One is the Enhanced Queue which simplifies the queue system within Drupal. I also completed a module that allows your system messages to appear like Mac’s Growl using noty.js.”
What are your favorite tools of the trade?
“GitHub, Drupal, AFNetworking (iOS Networking Library, CocoaPods (iOS Package Manager), Parse, Vim (text editor), Vagrant (a way to run development environments in virtual machines) and Chef (infrastructure automation framework).”
What is the future of Software Development?
“I think it’s going to be lighter weight, decoupled and simplified. Everything will be more modular and cloud-based, like GitHub for source code. There will be more tools in the cloud so everything will be easier to build whereas before you had to have your own server, host, etc.”
If you’re not at Promet Source, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Promet Source is really awesome. Hmmm...I could see myself running a startup; that would be satisfying.”
What sites/apps impress you?
“I have a long list, like most developers: showterm.io, github.com, feedly.com, and gym-pact.com
What blogs do you like?
“They’re not really blogs but I love Ruby Parley; it’s a user group for Ruby developers, but it’s good for all developers. I also like API Craft, a Google group about APIs.”
You’ve been with Promet Source for about 6 months, do you like it?
“Not many people are lucky enough to like their job, but I do. The projects are nice and challenging plus the people are really awesome. Promet Source has some really interesting people who respect the individual, plus I am surrounded by really smart and talented colleagues. I’m glad I found Promet.”
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