Get to know Principal Software Engineer, Alexander Sirotin

Where are you located? 

I live in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.

What is your role at Highline? 

As a Principal Software Engineer, I have the opportunity to wear different hats, and look at our product from the perspective of Customers, Operations and Engineering. I am responsible for the overall architecture of our product, making sure that everything we build is aligned with our long term goals, and that we build it in a simple, flexible, scalable and robust way. I also work closely with different stakeholders to continuously gather feedback and improve our product usability and reduce operations.

What’s your background? What did you do before working at Highline? 

I got my first PC when I was 7 years old and quickly became fascinated with it. Besides playing games, I liked typing DOS commands, copying code snippets in QBasic and understanding how things worked. During my teenage years, I had a side-gig fixing PCs and building small websites, and once I graduated from high school, I went to get my BSc degree in Electrical Engineering.

My first “professional” years were in the army, where my responsibilities varied from testing hardware prototypes, writing embedded software, and eventually leading a team responsible for creating a new automated testing framework tailored to our unit’s needs.

After my army service, I joined Dell and worked on their distributed file system product, then moved to a newly founded startup to build a Cloud Mobility solution and in the end, I joined Amazon and had the opportunity to build a brand new AWS service from the ground up (AWS Backup).

Overall, I designed and built 2 enterprise grade successful services (the startup was acquired by Google, and AWS Backup surpassed the 500M$ ARR when I left).

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?

I like travelling and spending time with family and friends. During the summer, we are traveling (A LOT) and camping, and during the winter, we hibernate at home and occasionally go snowboarding on the nearby mountains. As a hobby, I like wildlife photography, and living in Canada is a great opportunity to take pictures of bears. I also like woodworking and have built some of our current furniture. I also try to read at least 20 books a year.

Why did you join the Highline team? 

I was looking for an opportunity to join a “young” team and help build something new from scratch. After meeting Highline’s CTO, I liked the product and its roadmap, and saw the potential of making a real impact in the fintech industry. Everyone in the company seemed nice (and really are) and I could see myself fitting culturally and contributing from my experience to get Highline to where we want it to be.

What has been the most rewarding aspect so far? 

The company has a fully remote culture, which gives a lot of flexibility on building my own schedule. This combined with “it-can-be-an-email” culture, there is no meeting overhead and I can focus on getting things done. Although I have only been with Highline for a short period of time, I can already see the impact of what I’m bringing to the table in our product, customer satisfaction, engineering and operations – which is rewarding and motivating.

What do you think the future of fintech holds? 

Fintech companies will succeed by bringing out-of-the-box thinking and simplifying consumers’ lives. Many of the routine operations we do today can be automated in a way that brings simplicity and visibility to the process. At the same time, these companies will gain better customer trust and will be able to provide added value by expanding their offerings.

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