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4 min read

In the latest instalment of our interviews speaking to leaders throughout the world of tech, we’ve welcomed Alex Sheplyakov, CTO at WiserBrand.


Tell us a bit more about the business you represent.

At WiserBrand we build e-commerce websites and help them succeed via a full range of digital marketing and customer care services. A one-stop shop. As we've got tons of experience and know-how when it comes to working with online stores big and small, we also offer consulting services

Being the CTO, what do your day-to-day responsibilities look like?

My day is packed with duties that range from disaster readiness to board meetings, interacting with stakeholders, driving growth through technology, and collaborating with the team.

My goal is to develop a sustainable and innovative technology strategy that meets the needs of our customers. I empower our team to think outside the box and create unique solutions to lasting problems. Plus, I conduct interviews and make key decisions that keep our business running smoothly.

How do you decide whether something is so painful that it merits a full rewrite?

If your current solution is causing major problems, delays or low productivity, it's time to start fresh with a full rewrite. But I wouldn't stop there. I'd also check to see if the existing code can hold up long-term and scale with the business. If this code is a tangled mess that's hard to maintain or cannot adapt to future changes, it needs a rewrite for a better, more sustainable solution.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are all the rage these days! They're being integrated into all sorts of apps and systems, making automation, predictive analytics, and personalized experiences possible. Plus, there's a big trend towards cloud computing and cloud-native architectures.

But there's another important trend happening too - an increased focus on user experience (UX) and customer-centric design. Our clients are now making it a priority to offer intuitive interfaces, smooth interactions, and personalized experiences that meet the ever-changing expectations of users.

Can you tell us what book you are reading currently?

As a CTO, I'm always swamped with work but there's one thing I can't give up - my love for books. Finding time to read can be a bit of a challenge, like trying to mix salt with sugar. But when I do get a chance to dive into a good book, it's always worth the effort.

What can we hope to see from your business in the future? We believe that with our blend of know-how, inventive thinking, and an unwavering focus on customers' needs, our work will keep propelling businesses to the forefront of the digital world.

What frameworks do you use for managing technical debt?

Businesses often face urgent needs, leading to trade-offs or shortcuts. While this may get the job done, it can quickly go wrong. Scaling and managing this technical debt becomes a major challenge. The result? A rigid solution that is difficult to maintain and modify.

Introducing changes takes longer, and businesses often require fixes instead of starting from scratch. This only adds to the growing problem. The nature of technical debt can be divided into various factors, including business constraints, lack of skilled developers and architects, and limited operational budgets.

It's crucial to show the client the consequences of technical debt and the importance of addressing it properly. By using examples and factual evidence, we demonstrate the benefits of investing time and effort into creating a robust solution.

In situations where clients are unsure about the profitability of a feature, we recommend creating a minimum viable product to test its viability before committing to a full version.

As a software company, we take our responsibility seriously by carefully selecting and nurturing our developers. This helps prevent the creation of further technical debt and ensures high-quality solutions for our clients.

How does your technical organization work with the other operational components of the company?

As I am responsible for the personnel, I closely cooperate with the HR department. We assess the performance of employees, comparing their grades before and after the probation period. We also develop profiles of the ideal employees we want to hire. It's important for us to maintain a harmonious team, so if a potential star hire could disrupt our existing team dynamics, we won't proceed with the hire. This collaboration with the HR department involves a constant exchange of knowledge and feedback. They might point out instances where I have appeared too assertive, or where I didn't assert myself enough.

Do your technical teams or do you use log analysis as part of your role?

From server logs to app logs, developers have the ability to analyze and collect logs using various systems. Our app monitoring tool of choice delves into the PHP code and collects performance metrics, executed code, and database query execution times. If there are any exceptions, it records trace logs, which are stored on a third-party platform.

Additionally, we utilize the ELK stack, which collects and processes data from multiple sources. Imagine having a project with 30 servers - when an error occurs, checking each server individually would be a major hassle. Instead, Elasticsearch and Kibana come to the rescue, analyzing all the log data in one place. Kibana provides a user-friendly interface for visualizing and analyzing the data, offering features like histograms, line graphs, pie charts, heat maps, and geospatial support.

In big projects, logs can quickly become overwhelming. For example, you might have 11,000 queries in just 10 minutes. Manually analyzing this volume of data is practically impossible. That's why we rely on tools that help us navigate, group, and analyze the logs effectively. DevOps professionals use these tools to search for specific patterns and identify any issues with the server.

Log collectors also play a vital role in monitoring. The better we can handle and understand logs, the more efficient our monitoring system becomes, giving us peace of mind throughout the night. We also leverage Cloudwatch for this purpose.

If you enjoyed this interview then why not read our articles on who needs CMMC certification or what is Telemetry?

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