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“15 minutes of thinking—and one month on I’m already in Minsk”

I graduated from Azerbaijan University as a computer science and mathematics teacher. Worked several years outside my field, but soon decided to get my act together and started dealing with software development by myself. From the age of 26, I’ve been reading up on a lot of tech literature, crashed several computers with my software skills, wrote apps and developed in IT. I worked as a system administrator, later became IT Director: my job included not only managing system resources and servers, but also handling documentation. Then I got involved in a startup to collect and process plastic waste. Eight years in the field—only three private companies; I mostly worked for state-run enterprises.

“Minsk IT infrastructure is five years ahead of Baku, there are opportunities to develop here”

Many technologies to apply. Plus, a big difference in how employees are treated at work. I was shocked in a good way. In Baku we had a lot of overtime: we’d come in early, leave late, work weekends. The requirements to people are very different. Minsk offers a lot of free seminars, and the company has a Training Center where rookies get trained and the staff improves their skills.

I’ve also been considering moving to Ukraine or Russia but have always prioritized Belarus. I’ve been reading Belarusian news for three months before looking for a job on purpose. I liked the government’s stance on the IT sector: Decree No. 8, HTP that new tech companies keep joining all the time.

I had four offers from three companies. I liked the ISsoft bit. I passed the interview, two days later got a job offer, took 15 minutes to think and accepted. A month later I moved to Minsk.

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I used to work in small firms, but you don’t really feel there’s a thousand staff at ISsoft—and that’s good. I feel comfortable. There are growth opportunities, and people are able to appreciate each other, read people. I was received very warmly and debriefed on the essence of my work. Every now and then the HR take interest not only in my professional progress, but also care about how I live. It’s important that ISsoft helped me with the paperwork and ensured a quick and comfortable relocation.

I had a month to explore Minsk online. I’ve been looking at the roads, streets, checking out places where one can eat great food, go for a walk. I was referred to a good realtor by people at work, and he helped me choose the right place. I told him I needed a quiet area near the subway with kindergartens and schools nearby—my family is moving to me. Literally in two days he found an apartment that was a perfect match for me by price and location. I rent a three-bedroom apartment. My house was built in the early 2000s, I don’t encounter my neighbors at all, it’s quiet, and the subway is just 10 minutes away—which suits me, too, as I like walking.

Minsk reminds me of old Baku, but without skyscrapers and with plenty of greenery. It’s cozy down here, fewer people, no congestion in the subway. By the way, I was added to the chat of Belarusian IT experts of Azeri origin. We hang out together with the guys once a month.

“If things in the local IT develop the way I think they will, I’ll stay in Minsk for a long time”

Upsides

Decent level of IT.
Similar mentality:  reverent attitude to family, friendly—to other people.

Downsides

It’s very cold (summertime temps in Baku near 40 degrees).