‘I Have Been Often Mistaken for the Director of Microsoft Ukraine,’ DevRain CEO Oleksandr Krakovetskyi ‘I Have Been Often Mistaken for the Director of Microsoft Ukraine,’ DevRain CEO Oleksandr Krakovetskyi

Oleksandr Krakovetskyi started his IT career path back in his student years. He became Microsoft Regional Director at the age of 23 and founded his own company when he was 25. Today the expert holds the positions of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at DonorUA social startup and CEO at DevRain IT company.

We talked to the expert to find out how he started his career, in which projects he participated, how he established his own company, and what awards he has won.

“My career as an IT specialist started at the university”

I got my first job in IT when I was a third-year student, during the practical training. The company had headquarters in Vinnytsya and worked mainly with Israeli customers being one of the few companies that started dealing with .NET.

During my first year of work, I tried out a great number of programing languages: С++, ColdFusion, Perl, PHP, VB.NET, C#. Besides, I created web pages and tested software. However, in the end, I opted for programing with .NET and C# languages.

“Knowledge and practice obtained at the university still help me”

I got interested in the AI technology back at the university. My academic adviser suggested that I paid attention to data mining (intellectual analysis of data and finding data in big bases) – the prototype of what we call artificial intelligence today. I loved mathematical modelling, computational methods, statistics, and of course programming, so I became very interested in this field.

However, there were two problems at that time – lack of specialists that could help in learning the subject area and lack of relevant information in Ukrainian or Russian languages. The only book I could find then was Methods and models of data analysis: OLAP and DataMining by Barseghyan. I read it several times.

In parallel, I was experimenting with the realization of machine learning computational methods and algorithms in .NET, as almost all realizations were in C/C++ at that time, and it was quite difficult to find something compatible with Windows. Such software products as Matlab, MathCAD, and Statistica helped me a bit.

To look for colleagues, I started to publish articles on habr.ru. Due to somewhat naïve and frankly speaking dilettantish articles about data mining, I reached the top ranks. Thanks to these publications, I started getting job invitations from Ukraine, and other countries.

Further, I was obtaining a postgraduate qualification, where the main topic of my research was artificial intelligence. It was connected with the analysis of search results, methods of text clustering, and semantic interpretation. The knowledge and practice I obtained at the university still help me now.

I will tell you one story. I used materials of the Chinese Microsoft Research division in my work. I got in touch with colleagues from China, sent them my projects, and received an invitation to internship. Unfortunately, I could not go there due to the strict Chinese policy towards foreigners prior to the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Later I moved on to the Team Lead position and started going for business trips regularly. There was little time left for other activities, so I focused on my work.

“Thanks to the Microsoft Regional Director status, I have been often mistaken for the director of Microsoft Ukraine”

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and Microsoft Regional Director are the awards given to independent experts for contribution to the development of technical communities. Experts that hold these titles do not work for Microsoft and do not get salaries there. In fact, they are technology evangelists organizing technical meetups, conferences, hackathons, and bootcamps, speaking at conferences, contributing to open source, and working on their own social projects.

You can get the Microsoft MVP status for the development of technical communities. It is valid for the term of 1 year within a certain technology or product. In 9 years, I changed several categories from ASP.NET/IIS and Windows Platform Development to Artificial Intelligence now.

The Microsoft RD program is more closed. It unites highly professional business oriented experts that serve as a bridge between Microsoft and other organizations /communities in a certain country or region.

I was nominated for the Microsoft Regional Director award at the age of 23 and even in 10 years, I remain one of the youngest Regional Directors in the world.

Due to the Microsoft RD status, I have been often mistaken for the director of Microsoft Ukraine although I have never worked at this company (smiles – ed. note). There are 160 Regional Directors in the world and joining this program is far more difficult than becoming a MVP.

“Microsoft RD and Microsoft MVP statuses are highly appraised abroad”

Unfortunately, the notion of “expert” is leveled out in Ukraine. Therefore, the majority of initiatives that I participated in had nothing to do with the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and Microsoft Regional Director statuses. However, they play a great role abroad and allow easily finding common language with both technical specialists and business representatives.

“In 2013, I won the Ukrainian IT Awards”

Several years ago, SoftServe established the Ukrainian IT Awards given to Ukrainian IT specialists in several nominations. In 2013, I won in the Software Architecture category. Although I have many questions regarding the selection and assessment of prizewinners, I think that the Ukrainian IT Awards undoubtedly is an outstanding initiative.

“My participation in Kyiv Smart City is a matter of chance”

I have joined Kyiv Smart City by chance. At one of the community meetups, I was offered to join the initiative intended to develop the smart community. At that time, I had already visited Kazakhstan as a mentor at Smart Astana hackathon and hosted a municipal hackathon in Vinnytsya.

I have been assisting in the development of Kyiv Smart City concept. Besides, I have been engaged in the organization of the Kyiv Smart City Hackathon and at the Kyiv Smart City Forum.

One can differently assess such initiatives, but apparently, only the close collaboration of authorities and active citizens can allow achieving positive results.

“At DonorUA we help Ukrainians to quickly find blood donors”

I am the cofounder and Technical Director at DonorUA, a project that aims to promote voluntary donorship in Ukraine. It has been developed using the latest approaches and tools. Besides, as part of the project, we’ve been testing the AI and chatbots. We help Ukrainians to quickly find donated blood that is dramatically scarce in the country. For this purpose, we have developed an intelligent system that allows a rather small team to quickly search for donated blood throughout the country. There are almost no analogues of our system in the world.

“I was 25 years old when I founded DevRain”

I was working remotely for one foreign company for several months and even gathered a small team for the project that became the foundation of the future company.

When the Canadian project ended, Mykhailo Galushko (partner at DevRain)and I decided that we got bored with answering questions like “what is the difference between the abstract class and interface and how GC works in .NET”. Therefore, we decided to launch our own company.

At that time, we did not have the initial capital or customers. I was 25 and Mykhailo was 23 years old. We decided to deal with developments for Windows Phone – then it was a new mobile operating system from Microsoft. In the end, our first customer contacted us in a month.

In several years, we grew into one of the best companies that develops Windows Phone apps. Microsoft Ukraine acknowledged DevRain the best partner of the year in this category.

“Today DevRain is engaged in different projects”

Now we focus on the development of cloud and mobile solutions and heavily invest in AI. This includes building chatbots, machine learning, and intelligent analysis of contracts using Natural Language Processing. All projects are very different and we take a personalized approach to each of them.

We have recently joined the Microsoft AI Inner Circle program that unites companies having real-life experience of implementing intelligent solutions at the Microsoft AI platform. Currently, just 70 companies in the world joined this program.

On June 4, Oleksandr Krakovetskyi will speak at AI Conference Kyiv.
He will elaborate on subtleties of implementing artificial intelligence in business operations.
You can learn more about the expert and artificial intelligence adoption in business here ►►►

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