N. Sobolev: "I entered Elixir in about 2 months"

Elixir-lang.moscow organizer, Auth0 ambassador, CTO at wemake.services, speaker at RailsClub 2017
11 October

Nikita Sobolev
Nikita Sobolev

CTO at wemake.services, organizer of elixir-lang.moscow conference, speaker at RailsClub 2017.

On the RailsClub 2017, we’ve managed to talk with Nikita about his report, his job and future of Elixir.

Tell us about yourself, who are you, what are you doing?

My name is Nikita, I write on Hype.codes sometimes about Elixir. I, basically, am now engaged at different conferences and meetings. I'm talking about what a cool language Elixir is and try to evangelize it in various ways. In fact, with a mercenary goal - I have my own small company called "wemake.services". We sell custom development to our customers. We want to sell Elixir development, because we like it, and we are happy to work with it. Therefore, my selfish goal is combined with disinterested.

How did you get into the Ruby ​​event?

In fact, I know that many rubists are switching to Elixir, and I decided why not even more Ruby developers could be dragged into this wonderful world of functional technologies. I applied for it, got the approvement, and here I am.

What was your report about?

My report was about the basics of Elixir, about its ideology, how to build the architecture of an application, about how you can write business logic, how it differs from other programming languages. I assumed that the audience knows Ruby, I know Python. They are similar enough, so it was a report for them. I hope it was clear.

What are your impressions of the conference?

I really liked it. Very good conference. One of the best this year, on which I was. Despite the fact that I never understood a single report.

How do you see the programming world in the next 10 and 50 years and is there a place for Elixir?

I think yes. I'm not ready to talk about 10 or even 50 years, but it seems to me that in next 5 years Elixir will have its own strong niche, connected with processing a large number of real-time applications, asynchronous requests. We hope to get fixed in this niche, together with Elixir.

What are the main pros of Elixir?

A low entry threshold, even though it is functional. I entered Elixir in about 2 months. At the same time, I did not know any functional programming language, and I can say that I still do not know. I write on Elixir, not noticing that it is from a different paradigm. This is a very great dignity. Elixir is gaining popularity very fast. Low entry threshold = fast popularity gain.

What are the main differences between Elixir and Erlang?

The main difference is syntax. Either way, they are very similar. They have common pros and cons. But Elixir really has a much more pleasant syntax. To us, those who are used to writing in Ruby or Python, this approach is understandable and does not cause any rejection. We can start writing on Elixir the same way as we write on Ruby.

Recently, the IT field for employment has become very popular. Which advice would you give advice to the average "IT specialist" to stand out from the crowd?.

You can stand out the crowd with 2 things - work hard and learn, and talk about yourself, talk about what you can do, share knowledge with others. Thanks to the combination of these two factors, you can achieve a lot.

Do you have any plans to write a book? Or maybe you are already the author of some book?

No, unfortunately, I did not write and do not plan yet. I do not know what, I do not have those that I could put in the book. But I hope that someday they will appear and I would not be willing to write anything fundamental.

What in your work makes you truly happy that brings inner pleasure?

We, as a project team, are always happy when we finish the project. We have a whole day of happiness. Similarly, we experience stress, if the project goes wrong for some reason, and when issues are fixed, as a result, happiness becomes even greater. But we also need to feel the process - when we write what we like, when we make a very high-quality product, we get pleasure not only from the result, but from the process. And in fact, it's even bigger pleasure. Since we sometimes work with large corporate or governmental clients, result is not visible. And the process is remembered and remains forever.

Elixir is a young language, and there are very vacancies and elixirists in the labor market. How to increase the number of Elixirists? And how do you think, when there will be enough of them?

In fact, I believe that there won't be many Elixirists. Elixir is a very niche language. It is not a general programming language. Its concept and features allow it to become a very good niche tool. At the moment, amount of vacancies growns on the wave of hype. There will never be the same amount of vacancies as for Pythonists or Rubists. But, I think that there will be more of them in a whole.

Do you have nightmares related to your daily work?

Of course. Whenever someone calls me, I think the server crashed. But, in reality, I don't have nightmares. Sometimes when I go to bed, and read something before, or watch a video or a report, and I don't want to fall asleep, but I want to try something cool. So I have to force myself to say sleep. It happens. 

A. Davidov: "I like when my work is helpful for people"

Software developer. Open source enthusiast, Hanami core, Ruby Hero 2016, speaker at RailsClub 2017
18 October

Anton Davidov
Anton Davidov at RailsClub 2017

Software developer. Open source enthusiast, Hanami core, Ruby Hero, speaker at RailsClub 2017

On the RailsClub 2017, we’ve managed to talk with Anton about his report, his job and future of programming.

What's your name? Where do you work, what do you do?

My name is Anton, I work at the American start-up. We are developing a healthcare application to help people in America buy and receive the right medicines. There are some issues with it in US. Unfortunately, we are not yet released, so I can not name the place where I work. But if you ask me about this in a month or two, I'll say. At work, we use full dry stack (dry web and rom), also we have several services on hanami.

How do you like RailsClub?

This is my fourth RailsClub. I am very happy to come every year, see many new faces, communicate with old friends, learn something new, discuss problems, and have fun.

Tell me about your report.

In my report I will motivate people not afraid to code in open source, because I believe that there are some problems in the community and by my report I want to try to solve them. This is absolutely not a technical report. Its main goal is motivation. I will be very happy if after today, at least one or two people will stop being afraid to make a mistake and do something. I will tell you about my mistakes and problems, about other people's mistakes. It is important for me to convey that the errors is normal.

What do you think are the most popular technologies?

If to speak in general - machine learning is still in hype, and people are trying to do something on it, at least in Russia. A lot of people talk about the blockchain, trying to mine Ether, buying farms for millions. And if we talk about programming and about Ruby in particular, this is an interesting question. We can say that the functional languages ​​are in hype, but it seems to me that this is far from being the case. There is a cult around functional languages, and people are just trying to be involved in it. Also, now it is a trend (like 10 years ago) the problem solutions. I mean - people have a problem that they are trying to solve it. That's the way dry, rom, hanami, trailblazer appeared; that's the way other programming languages like Crystal appeared.

How do you see the programming world in 10 and 50 years and is there a place for Rail and Ruby?

The world of programming in 10 years I see as my place of work in 10 years - I mean, I can't see it. But if I fantasize, I'd like to see something like cyberpunk from the novels "Neuromantic" when people directly connected to the computer through a neural interface with full immersion. I would like to see that people will go somewhere in this direction.

What advice would you give to an average programmer in order to stand out the crowd? 

The first advice - do not be afraid to talk about problems. People everywhere face problems, and in IT too. If a person tells about his problem and how he solved it, other people can get benefit from it. The second advice is to solve problems not only at work, but also in the community - to engage in open source, to do conferences, to speak and write good articles.

People in other spheres, for example, in aircraft building, feel great joy and enthusiasm after the end of the big project. What in your job brings such feelings?

This is a funny question for me, not even in terms of the question itself. While studying at the institute, I was practicing at an aircraft plant in the department of indestructible control. I've seen that atmosphere and people are not always happy when they make big planes. They usually have problems like that the spare part for a million rubles came with micro cracks and somehow it needs to be used, so as a result the aircraft does not fall apart.
I really like it when I get a good feedback. When my work was useful for someone. Then I feel the excitement. Speaking more broadly - all my work is aimed at getting a good feedback and solving people's problems.

Do you have nightmares related to work?

I have one nightmare related to my work - I start Rails coding again. Seriously, for almost a year I have not touched the Rails at all. And I grew a big beard and hair on my head, I began to sleep better.

Do you have plans for writing books?

Fortunately, no. I have dyslexia, it is difficult for me to write texts sometimes. The biggest thing that I have is a channel in a telegram where I write large messages by the standards of telegram channels. I had an idea to try to collect this all in a heap and make a huge collection or a reference book, there are many related topics. But in general, I do not see myself as a writer. At school, I had an assessment between 1 and 2 in Russian, so for me it's really difficult.

As far as I know, your report was last at Rails Club for few times already. Why is it so and how do you feel about it?

I was the last in 2015 and 2017. In 2015, I had a lightning talk, it just turned out to be the last of 3. This year I specifically asked to put me in the end. I will not have a technical report and I will be able to motivate someone. The idea is that people will get tired of listening to some complicated technical things and think with their heads for 8 hours in a row, it's like a working day. At the end of the day, people want some kind of show, and just my report will be that show. And, secondly, I would be pleased if people leave the conference with a feeling of excitement.