#EmployeeExperience: Interview with Marat Khakimov, Android Developer at AppLike


Marat was born in Nukus, the capital of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan. Growing up, Marat went to a school specialized in Mathematics and Physics and discovered his love for numbers and calculations. Although winning several regional Mathematics contests, he always had the feeling of programming being something way too difficult to learn. But after giving it a try by learning himself Java programming language as a hobby, Marat found out that it is far from being rocket science and began to like it. He applied to Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg) and moved to Germany.

Starting as a working student at AppLike one year ago, he rapidly grew into the team and already took the offer to start working full time after his studies even before finishing his Bachelor-Thesis. We sat down to ask him a few questions.

Hello Marat, please tell us a bit about yourself and the department you work at?

Hi guys, my name is Marat Khakimov. I come from Uzbekistan and started working as an Android Developer Intern at AppLike in 2018. Then I have been working as a working student since January, 2019. I joined Team Android which is responsible for AppLike apps.

What are you studying and what do you do in your position?

I study Information Engineering at HAW Hamburg. This semester is the last semester. As an Android Developer, I am involved in the process of creating and maintaining our apps. I do different tasks: fixing bugs, improving code base, adding new features and analyzing necessary data..

What was the most important thing for you when you searched for a job?

Since I was interested in Android development, I was searching for an Android Developer Intern position. Besides that, I wanted to work with an international team to get to know different people and cultures to widen my horizon. It was also very important for me that my future company has an interesting and widespread tech stack so that I can learn a lot. Last but not least, having no experience in real projects, I needed a mentor who can support me. In my case, this was the Team Lead of Team Android – Florian (a big thanks to him).

Can you remember how it was when you started?

First of all, the Talent Acquisition team showed me around the office, introduced each department and explained what they do. Because of that, I met almost all colleagues already on the first day. When I entered into Team Android’s room, I saw that my desk was decorated. It was nice as well as surprising and gives you a welcoming feeling right from the start. What I also remembered was that my team lead asked what hardware I want to use, MacBook or Windows-PC, which is pretty cool since you can work on the system that you are used to the most. At Applike, there is a buddy system for new colleagues. My buddy is Florian, meaning he supports me not only with work related tasks but also has an answer to every question that I have.

What do you like most about your job?

In general, programming is all about creating something useful for a lot of people. When it comes to my job, I like the problem solving aspect of it. You have a certain task and need to figure out how to solve the problem quickly and efficiently. When you are done with your task successfully, you feel satisfaction.

What made you decide to stay in the company after your studies?

The People. Since you spend a lot of your time at work it is very important that you like your colleagues. They all are friendly and are ready to help you whenever you have a question or problem. In addition, most colleagues are with a sense of humor and you will have fun with them. On a side note, the company organizes different events, trips and parties. For example, the company trip to Spain in summer, Christmas party, Thirsty Thursday (a regular event once per month where all colleagues stay longer, play table soccer, Mario Kart or just chat) etc. In short, you can feel the spirit of the start-up company. That’s also one of the reasons that helped me with the decision to start a full time job right after my university degree in the same company. A great benefit of a startup is also that you can directly see the impact your job has and get recognized for good work very fast. You get a lot of trust and responsibility.

What are the next interesting projects you are working on?

My next big project is actually my Bachelor Thesis so I am not directly involved in our projects. First of all, I want to finish my thesis as soon as possible. After that, I can fully focus on the projects. I am really looking forward to work on interesting tasks that can and hopefully will be useful for AppLike apps.

Do you have any advice for young students that go to a foreign country?

I underestimated not being able to speak German a little bit. It would have made everything much easier. Though I am very lucky that most of the Germans speak really good English, my advice would be to get at least a beginners level of the country’s language that you want to move to. That makes the start of a new life much easier since you don’t have to struggle as much with all the paperwork and daily life. That’s also one of the reasons why the company supports us with a free German course and although mine haven’t started yet, I am really looking forward to it!

Thank you a lot for your time and the honest answers.
Check out AppLike’s open positions here.

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