First databases and IT industry in the 90s: career story of Pavlo Kopytsya, Senior Data Engineer

Career story of
Pavlo Kopytsya
Senior Data

pavlo kopytsya logo

Today, we have a special guest at Avenga Career Stories, Pavlo Kopytsya, a Senior Data Engineer at Avenga. He has dedicated over a decade to his career at Avenga, being a driving force in our team, right at the heart of the effort to launch our Cherkasy office. There are many things to discuss with Pavlo, and well try to cherry-pick the most exciting ones.

Pavlo, you’ve been working in the tech field since the early 90s – tell us about your path to IT. Back then, it might not have even been called IT.

Of course, in those days, we didn’t really use the term “IT.” In 1992, I started as a programmer at a technical patent library. The place was called “Department of Computerization and Automatization,” and IT wasn’t a buzzword. There, I got into working with databases, which shaped my future IT journey, from pre-SQL to my first experience with SQL in 1994.

Later on, I gave lectures at Cherkasy State Technical University, where I diligently spent almost 17 years in departments related to information technologies and computer security. I enjoyed interacting with the youth. Working alongside them, you keep yourself feeling young as well. 

Over time, I began to think about shifting to an IT field. The main driving force behind this decision was my 1.5-year-old son. So, during childcare leave, I began to work for an IT company that eventually evolved into Avenga.

What did the IT industry of the 90s look like?

Back then, the concept of an IT company, modern software development processes, or IT projects didn’t exist. It was a mix of government involvement and, let’s say, amateur efforts.

IT in the 90s implied only a handful of specialists available, and the concept of subject-matter experts hardly existed. Most of them had switched careers, often coming from engineering, mechanics, or electronics backgrounds. My generation, which began in the late 80s, was among the first true IT professionals in the field.

And when did the first IT companies emerge? When did the whole boom get off the ground, in your opinion?

In the early 2000s, I guess. Before that, it was all more on an amateur or freelance level. Around that time, a colleague offered a job opportunity at Malkos (now Avenga). I prepared for the interview as if it were an exam, worrying that I might be too old (although I was just 39) and doubting if I was suitable for this job.

When I arrived for the interview, the first thing they asked me was: “When can you start working?” And that’s when I realized that everything would be fine, that this was the right company for me. 

Avenga initiated a large IT project aimed at promoting environmental awareness. With the project’s success, the company grew from around twenty employees to a hundred. This marked the beginning of the company’s expansion, and they opened their first office outside Lviv in Cherkasy.

Business trip to Lviv: Pavlo and his first IT project team.

You experienced a kind of transformation when IT shifted from the government to the private sector, which affected tasks and requirements for specialists. Was it hard to go through all these changes?

It’s easier to talk about what went smoothly. I’ve always been at ease with technology and learning. I’m not sure if it’s a psychological trait, the result of my extensive time as a lecturer, or the influence of my alma mater. Switching to new technology, trying new things, and expanding my knowledge has never been an issue for me.

Speaking of challenges, I had a tough time forcing myself to work with clients. However, my first clients turned out to be such nice people that, over time, I started to enjoy it. Now, I always look forward to meeting new clients in each new project. It can be so exciting, and the people are so interesting that I truly enjoy it.

Pavlo, let’s talk about data engineering. What does it look like today?

The world is changing. The amount of data we can process at the moment is increasing rapidly. Considering the sheer volume of data, companies can’t rely on outdated tools to sustain their operations. This forces companies to reassess and adapt the IT infrastructure to match their needs. And when the infrastructure changes, so does the approach to the data, as well as the data itself and its amount.

How could you describe your role at Avenga as a Senior Data Engineer?

I focus on developing efficient data systems, creating comprehensive database integration solutions, introducing a complex architecture, and building a data warehouse tailored to our client’s needs.

Most of my projects can be described in a very simple way: taking the data from outdated sources, enhancing and transforming it, and then putting that data into a new place where new systems will process it. It may seem fairly straightforward, but in fact, it’s a complex issue requiring in-depth expertise.

Could you share with us more about your professional development?

My professional growth is progressing towards involvement in the pre-sale project stages more and more, interacting with clients, and developing some initial patterns and models, that is, architectural things. It motivates me, and I see it as the path for my future growth.

I feel constant development. I mean, there are no limits. The further you go, the wider horizons open in front of you. Probably, it’s a reflection of a universal philosophy, not limited to just IT; it applies everywhere.

Catch more insights from Pavlo on YouTube!

We spotlight outstanding personalities within Avenga Ukraine. This video interview with Pavlo provides a glimpse into his career journey and illustrates the importance of continuous learning, growth, and embracing life’s adventures.

Pavlo Kopytsya
Pavlo Kopytsya
Senior Data Engineer

Getting back to the tech industry in general, do you prefer the old-school IT or the cutting-edge IT of the future?

Indeed, I find the ongoing development of the IT industry highly promising. The IT landscape is constantly evolving, becoming more interesting, and breaking free from rigid mechanical protocols and similar constraints.

Does age lead to tight competition in the IT industry? How is this different from other sectors?

You might know one of our key people in Cherkasy, Oleksandr Shumilov (Salesforce Engineering Director at Avenga). He was my student and undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best. I wouldn’t describe our relationship as competitive since we are doing slightly different things. However, there are many cases when I listen to his opinion, seek his advice, and willingly accept his explanations. Moreover, it’s a source of professional pride for me as a teacher. 

And he’s not the only one; we have had several students of mine join our company. I’m happy to see the younger generation making great strides and surpassing their mentors. I haven’t encountered any rivalry, at least not within Avenga. Here, it’s more about mutual support, collaboration, and the company’s growth.

Pavlo, is there an age of retirement in the IT field? What do you think?

I hope that for me, there’s none. All the limits are just in our minds. It may require some self-improvement in certain aspects, but overall, it’s a highly individual matter. And I also hope that my capabilities will last for a long time.

And now our traditional question: Why Avenga?

You know, I’m a somewhat fatalist in that sense. So… it just happened. The stars in the sky aligned that way. And since I’ve found myself in such a conducive environment – and by that, I don’t mean my comfort zone because I do have to work really hard – it’s the company I pour my efforts into with such enthusiasm that I have no desire to explore other opportunities. And I truly believe it’s my destiny to work here. The circumstances brought Avenga and me together.

Pavlo, you remind us that no matter when you start, pursuing knowledge and excellence knows no time limits. May your career path continue to inspire our readers on their own journey of growth and innovation! Stay tuned to discover more insights from Avenga professionals.

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