From Armenia to Canada. This is How an Amazing Journey Began

Karlos is one of the most talented team members of Develandoo. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s degree in data science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He is working remotely, but our team never lets him feel that. We’ve talked to Karlos about his life and studies in Canada, interesting incidents, work/study combination and overall, his thoughts about remote work and team relations.

-Karlos, what motivated you to start your new journey and study abroad?

-Data science is a complex field that combines statistics, computer science, optimization, and other disciplines together. To be a good data scientist, a person should have expertise in all of these fields or in sub-sections that are directly or indirectly related to creating mathematical for solving complex tasks. I understood that I lack knowledge in some of these fields and decided to apply to a university that can fill those gaps.

-What were the main challenges both at the beginning when you had just made this decision and then after moving to Canada?

-For me, the biggest challenge was to break out of my comfort zone. All my life I lived in Armenia and was surrounded by my family and friends. I expected to have some difficulties because of the change of culture and environment, though this diversity wasn’t new to me. I studied at American University of Armenia and I’m working at Develandoo where intercultural dialogue is one of the core values. However, it happened just as I expected. Until now, sometimes, I’m getting surprised at certain things that happen here. Most of them would be funny or, at least, strange back in Armenia.

-Tell us some of those strange, interesting incidents of your life and studies there.

-The strangest thing was that when I departed from Armenia I hadn’t booked any place to stay in Vancouver. I was required to be there on the 3rd of September, but I got my visa in late August. This was the reason that I didn’t have much time to search for accommodation. During my trip which lasted 36 hours, I was trying to find places and even had several video calls with hosts in the airports. Fortunately, one of the Armenians living in Vancouver, found a very comfortable place for me and, most importantly, close to the university. This is something that once again highlights the unity and support that Armenians give to each other abroad.

-What do you like the most about Canadians?

-In Canada, everyone enjoys their life as they can. People travel, go for hiking, surfing, snowboarding, biking and these are inseparable activities of their life. Additionally, everyone takes care of the environment. Most people use reusable bags when they go shopping, don’t use public transportation or cars unless there is an absolute need, use renewable energy. I like the way they organize their lives.

-Karlos, how is it to combine work and studies especially when you’re remote from another country?

-Time management is very important in this situation. From my experience, I can conclude that the best way to handle this kind of busy schedule is to do things decently, i.e on time. If it’s time to study I study, if it’s time to work I work and concentrate only on that.

-Touching the topic of remote work, what do you think about the current situation regarding the outbreak of COVID-19? Lots of companies have switched to ”work from home” mode. How do you cope with this new situation?

-Currently, it seems that all the world has just stopped. People are required to minimize the time spent outside in most of the countries. Yes, and Canada is not an exception. Now all the restaurants, cafes and bars are closed and people are required to keep at least a 2-meter distance from others in public places. My classes are currently remote just as my job is. So I’m not bored at all. The only thing that I miss is communication with a variety of people, but thanks to my friends, housemates and relatives, I don’t feel alone at all. Remote job is good when you know how you can intelligently make use of it. A person can set up his/her comfortable environment. For some, it may be doing a job lying on a bed, for others connecting a laptop to a big TV. Additionally, a person doesn’t lose time on transportation, which is a big advantage when one has a busy schedule like me. For sure, there are also disadvantages like the lack of professional communication with co-workers. Especially for juniors or interns, this can be a big barrier for quick career growth.

-It’s almost 2 years you’ve been working at Develandoo. How has it been so far?

-Working in a friendly and collaborative environment is a goal of every person. I can definitely say that I reached that goal with the help of the Develandoo team. Each month is full of informative presentations, competitions and different activities to make our daily lives more interesting. Additionally, Develandoo has teams concentrating on different parts of the product workflow. We have professional web, iOS, Android developers, data engineers and scientists. This diversity helps employees to widen their knowledge in other fields rather than just focusing on ones that they are specialized in.

-Karlos, what has driven you to be where you are now in your life, career? What will be your advice to people?

-My advice will be not to live in dreams. Either transform dreams to goals and achieve a certain result or throw them away. My mind keeps repeating these words for more than 4 years as they motivate me to work harder and harder.


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