Nikita Sazhinov

Full-stack Developer

Profile picture of Nikita Sazhinov

In the summer of 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences started to fade. Bars and restaurants were starting to reopen; people started returning to their social routines. This was beyond exciting for me; I could not wait for the fulfilling summer that had been taken from me before. It did, however, have a consequence that I was not too excited about. Restaurants and cafes were opening again, which meant that at my restaurant job, I would have to go back to dealing with customers and their often rude demands, which they had been unable to express for over a year. With the degree in computer science that I was one year away from finishing, being on a pause due to summer vacation, after just a week of being a proper HORECA worker again, I decided to transition to a programming job as soon as possible, by all means necessary.

I filled the time left open by the university by self-studying practical programming skills, which I felt were missing from my bachelor’s degree. Making little web development projects and learning about servers felt exciting and way more rewarding than memorising abstract programming concepts to get a passing grade. Two months later, with just a little more experience in web development, I thought it was time I started applying for internships. My CV flew left and right; it felt like I was sending little paper aeroplanes into nothing. But with persistence, I knew it would eventually land in the right hands.

One morning, I woke up to a pleasant email from a company called Miyagami. The email was an invitation for a video interview. On a hot summer day, the sun was shining onto my laptop screen—or at least the part of it that was still working—as I had a pleasant interview/conversation with Dale. After the interview, I was unexpectedly invited to the office to do a small coding case.

At the time, my work experience varied quite a lot. I worked at the port of Montevideo, carrying crates and helping with the bureaucracy. I was a delivery driver, and I worked in HORECA. None of those experiences ever entailed an office job where I sit in front of a computer and do something related to what I have been studying for the past 2 years. It would be an understatement to say that I was nervous. I threw an external keyboard into my bag, as my current laptop keyboard did not work, and I biked to the address in the email.

I got to an office with more than enough space for the three people working there at the time. Unsure about my dress code, ability to program and general understanding of how to act, I did the case in the office while everybody else was busy with work. As it turns out, long hair, a dress shirt and an Adidas hat might not have been the best look, but it certainly did make me look like I know how to program, according to my colleagues. Regardless of my wardrobe, I completed the case and, to my surprise, got the internship before the time of readily available AI assistance as well!

I continued to do my studies while doing the full-time internship and finishing up my contract at the restaurant for the first month of it. After the contract was finished, I still did some part-time work on the side, and in addition to my study and internship, bills had to be paid. Looking back at it now, it was difficult, but I was too motivated by two things: finally using my programming skills for something practical and never wanting to work as a waiter again. Yes, not wanting to deal with drunk tourists can be a strong enough motivator to do 80 hours of work a week.

The three people I saw when arriving at Miyagami first slowly grew into the twelve working at Miyagami at the time of writing this. I slowly grew into a full-stack developer rather than an intern. It has been 3 years, and the journey I have gone through with Miyagami can not be fully described with a three-part novel, let alone a short story. It was here that I discovered my strengths, weaknesses, and passions. Looking back at the case I did as my internship test, I can confidently say that I can whip up a better quality result within an hour, while it took me two days before.

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