A Journey into Tech
Today, October 3rd, marks National Techies Day, a celebration aimed at bringing to light the array of opportunities today’s youth can take advantage of in the tech industry.
The word Technology, which comes from the Greek words ‘technē’ (meaning ‘arts/craft’) and ‘logos’ (meaning ‘words’), is an industry that has been evolving and growing exponentially since the days of the dot com boom. To celebrate this day, we sat down with Glovo Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Narek Verdian to ask him which factors have inspired and challenged him in his long career in the tech world and what advice he would give to tomorrow’s up and coming techies.
First, some background. When did you get your start in tech?
My journey into the wonderful world of tech really started from a very young age, when my dad introduced me to programming in Basic (programming language) at the age of 7-8. Right from that age, it started gradually replacing toys for me and opened up an immense, new playground.
Was there anyone in your life who inspired you to get into tech?
I grew up in a family that on one side, was very science and engineering focused, but on the other into music and arts. It would have to be a combination of my dad, who was an electrical engineer with a very keen hobby in all things tech, and my grandma who was a science teacher.
In your early days coding, did you ever overcome a challenging experience that almost made you quit? Who or what helped you to stay on track?
Growing up in a country that had a devastated economy post the collapse of the USSR and following a devastating war, initially while I loved tech, I didn’t think I would be able to find a job in Armenia. So, I was very very close and only months away to taking exams to study Economics. But luckily, I realised on time and at the very last moment that my passion lay in tech, so I went to the State Engineering University instead.
My initial assessment about work couldn’t have been more wrong. To the point that I started working a full time job as a Java Developer, alongside my studies, in my second year at university, and when I was only 17 years old.
What first attracted you to Glovo?
I knew about Glovo due to business travels to Madrid so, when I received a message from Glovo on linkedin, it stood out compared to many job opportunities that many of us in tech are so privileged to receive.
The approach itself was very down to earth, honest, and shared with a lot of care which is not so common.
Furthermore, the more I spoke to different people at Glovo, I realised how much my philosophy around work aligned with Glovo’s values. Creating an environment where everyone can bring their best, push each other to drive ever higher impact was what I was looking for and Glovo offered it in combination with values such as Care, Good Vibes which we live and breathe each day.
And there is also a very tiny detail of Barcelona, which is such an incredible place to live.
In the coming years, experts have predicted that there will be a slew of tech job opportunities that do not currently exist. Where do you think the future of tech is headed and why?
For over the last decade, millions of vacancies in tech have been going unfilled. There is a shortage of talent in a profession where everything around us changes and evolves in an unprecedented way. With giant leaps in Artificial Intelligence, Wearables, Biotechnology and Cloud computing and so on, not only the vacancies for software engineers are going to continue increasing, but in my opinion, we will also see new and even bigger demand for talent that is cross-functional and understands multiple disciplines.
The world is going to need more professionals who understand a combination of different disciplines, for example Data Science and Engineering, Biology and Tech and so on, coupled with the ability to bring that knowledge together, use patterns from different disciplines and solve problems that will shape the world for next generations.
Where do you see the future of Glovo’s tech in 5 or 10 years?
At Glovo, we don’t just build tech for the sake of building tech. We are building a very complex, 4-sided marketplace that drives local economies across 20+ markets worldwide, and this is so empowering. So, my focus for Glovo is to continue shaping a world-class engineering organisation where curious and passionate humans collaborate to create a meaningful impact for local communities globally.
We continuously experiment with technology, algorithms, ways of working to solve problems for our customers, couriers, partners and brands and that’s the best way of going about it in my view.
What’s 1 piece of advice would you give your younger self before starting a career in tech?
Looking back at my career, failures, learnings, and incredible opportunities that I was lucky enough to have, I wouldn’t try to change any of that.
I do remember having a little bit of curiosity around Synthetic Biology early on, I would probably nudge my younger self to spend a bit more time on it as a hobby in my free time. This is something that interests me quite a bit lately and is likely going to be one of the most impactful developments of our time.
What advice would you give to young people interested in starting careers in the tech sector?
There are so many opportunities and even more will be created. Start somewhere, don’t over think.
Many people tend to think of a career in tech starting from a Computer Science degree…that’s not the only way. We live in a world where there is so much information and material available online, including free material, that it is easy to start learning a programming language. Whether that’s Java, Python or Go, I would stay: start building something very basic.
I have travelled all over the world because of my profession and I think it is one of the biggest advantages of it. You can live and work all over the world when you are in tech.
Narek Verdian has been disrupting the technology industry and growing high-performing teams for over two decades. Having joined Glovo as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in 2020, Narek brings with him a wealth of experience, aiming to deliver high-quality, unique, effortless customer experiences.
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