December 21, 2018 | 12 min read
Humans of MacKeeper: Safip, Desktop Software Engineer
Position: Desktop Software Engineer
Random fact: After finishing secondary school, he tried to decide between Economics and Engineering. He chose the second—and we're so glad he did.
Tell about your first day at MacKeeper. What was it like?
My very first day at Mackeeper was not about work. I was lucky to be selected for a Student Camp—an educational project the company initiated to grow the younger generation of tech specialists. The camp consisted of three modules: web development, desktop development, and product management. On the first day, they gathered us in the conference hall, introduced us to our future mentors—senior specialists from the company—and showed a presentation about what we should expect from this camp.
The day was so active, a little chaotic even. I was so excited but, at the same time, I didn't yet know what would it be like to study there. This day was about many "firsts" for me: my first time in the office, my first chance to work on a Mac, my very first introduction to languages and frameworks.
After the two months, I already knew everything I needed to start my internship at MacKeeper. At this stage, other students and I had even already developed a small app. Of course, we did it under the supervision of a senior developer, but it was the first time I was involved in something like that.
I got a job offer the same day my internship ended. It was around two years ago.
Did you hesitate before accepting the offer?
Not at all. By this time, I already had a clear understanding of what the company expected from me, who I would work with, and what opportunities for career growth would be available for me at MacKeeper. So, signing the offer was just an organizational issue.
Your nickname is Safip. What does it mean for you?
When I tell this story, no one believes me, but it was just a random stroke on the keyboard. Not the first one, of course. During my student years, I spent a lot of time playing online games. And I had to come up with a nickname for each one. After the third or fourth nickname, I was running out of ideas. So I just pushed the keyboard—"boom" on the keyboard— and checked what I’d typed. If it sounded ok, I would use it. I had more than 10 nicknames invented this way. So, when the HR manager asked me about a nickname, I just picked the one I liked the most.
Let's talk business. What team you are a part of? What role does your team play for MacKeeper?
I've got a big team of 18 people. Half of them are focused on QA and the other half are developers and engineers. The role of our team is to actually develop and support all versions of our main product (MacKeeper) and all related products such as Track My Mac. Not only do we support all this, but whenever we get a chance, we also try to add some cool features that will improve users’ experience in some way.
Describe your typical day at work.
Usually, I take 10 minutes to set myself up for work. I make myself a cup of tea, eat a cookie, check my email. Then I look through all the comments from our senior developers regarding completed tasks I’d sent for them to review. When I agree with a comment, I fix what needs to be fixed and send it for another round of review. When I don't agree, I talk to them and we discuss who's right and who's wrong. Such discussions may take more than an hour.
After that, I go for a lunch and then start working on the new tasks. Sometimes, the assigned tasks are not well-explained, some important details are missing. When this happens, I go talk to a person who assigned it and clarify things I don't find obvious. After that, I work on my tasks and fix bugs in our software. My office day ends with dinner at our corporate restaurant before going home.
What is the most and least favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is dealing with complicated tech challenges. For example, we know there's some pain our users have while using the software, and we need to find the best way to fix it. Or at least come up with a prototype and present it to our product managers. Situations like this make me dive deep into the research and spend a few days this way. I research forums, official Apple's recommendations, look for already-existing solutions, and, if there is none, look for a few solutions that I think will work in a combination.
My least favorite part is routine tasks. For example, I need to change the location of two buttons on some screens. This task sounds trivial: two small buttons need to be moved. But there is so much to do under the hood, especially if you need to move or exchange buttons on two different screens.
It looks ridiculously simple but once you start calculating your estimates, you realize it will take you the entire day. And, again, what do you get as a result? Two buttons moved. When someone comes around and says "So...what did you achieve today?" All you can say is "I moved buttons. Not one, but two!"
Name three character traits or skills that are necessary for your job.
Assiduity. You need to understand that putting incomplete tasks on hold is not an option. You should stay patient and persistent until you find a solution you're looking for.
Curiosity. Technologies are constantly improving and you need to keep up. Of course, you can develop something and think it is still a good product two years later, but in reality, more often some recently released framework or solution can make your product faster and more efficient.
Stress management skills. Our job is stressful. Sometimes we end up arguing with one another about which solution would be better. In such situations, it is important to feel this subtle line between professional and personal. It's important to not switch from "I don't like your solution" to "I don't like you." I do my best to never act like this.
If you could choose any superpower to help you with your job, what would it be?
It would really help me if I could process new information at least 100X faster than the average human being.
Describe your job in 3 words.
Exciting. Beautiful. (Triggering) discussion—so many discussions.
Is there something about your job you're proud of?
Sure. I think we've managed to solve many problems of typical Mac users. I mean, many problems have been solved by other apps before us, but people don't know about them or find them difficult to use. When we interview our users, we learn that there are trivial problems they are facing on a daily basis and handling them takes their energy and time. With our software, you can get it done in a single click.
It's not only about high-quality software, it's also about being able to communicate its value. I mean, the App Store is full of cool apps, but no one knows about them. I'm proud of the fact that not only did we develop a useful product, but we also made sure people know about it.
What is your personal anti-stress recipe? How do you recharge after a busy week at work?
There are two types of stress. The first is an angry one. When I feel angrily stressed, I play online games. I love them. They help me get rid of negative emotions in a way that no one gets hurt (except my computer). The second type of stress is a tired one. When I am fed up with working, I smoke hookah. It helps me relax. I'm sitting at some cozy place, feeling calm and good. Although there may be a release tomorrow, which means I need to work on Saturday, it doesn't bother me this Friday.
On top of this, having a good night sleep is a must. If you sleep for 5 hours and then you need to work for another 10, no anti-stress recipe will help.
If you could swap places with any employee in a company for one month, who would this be? Why?
I'd pick a top management role in support. This would help me better understand what's happening there, what problems our users face, what features they have a hard time understanding. I know now we use Design Thinking Methodology to get such insights, which is really cool, but working for some time at support would help me see our product from a user's perspective.
Describe your perfect job.
Globally, I think that all problems humanity is trying to solve these days are secondary. The only problem we really have is that we all are going to die one day. I think we need to focus on doing something about it first. If we lived longer, I believe we'd be able to find better solutions for the rest of the problems. In a perfect world, I would want people to focus on that. Working in this direction would be my perfect job, I guess.
Now imagine you've got a job offer of your dreams. It's too good to reject, so you're leaving. What piece of advice would you give the company and your team before you head out?
Stay focused on our users. Work on what they need, not on something we think they'll like.