How I’ve ended up being in San Francisco and working in tech.

Chapter I: How everything started

First, let me introduce myself: I am a 31-year-old software developer, who moved to San Francisco by a happy coincidence. I moved from the city, which is little smaller than SF (its population is roughly 500 000), but 10-x cheaper. (By the way, both cities have their City Halls built by people, who probably were inspired by a Buckingham Palace).

San Francisco City Hall, Mykolaiv City Council, and Buckingham Palace
My last stand. Mykolaiv, Ukraine, May 18, 2011
A couple pages from the book
An example of a simple program, which converts temperature from/to Fahrenheit/Celsius. Image was taken from here

There’s no way to get rid of your true childhood dream, and I wanted to be a programmer.

However, life is funny and even after all this time, I’ve made it: I have become a coder. And here’s the story how.

My first work day as a coder was on April 4th, (4.04 looks similar to HTTP 404 status code. It’s another sign of the right way)

When I started my journey into coding, I figured out a lot of interesting facts about the industry. Here are some of them:

  • A lot of western companies outsourced their tasks to Ukraine because of relatively low cost of living and high quality of technical education.
  • Average tech salary were 3 times higher than salary among other industries.
  • Tech people receive their money in US dollars. This means their money were covered from devaluation of national currency.
  • An average age in tech in Ukraine was 25, the same as mine at the moment.

Just like tech industry is dedicated to make future present, I also wish to dedicate my life to future, not to the past. From a historian, I became a futurist.

That’s how I’ve found my true dream. From a historian, I became a futurist. Before that I always felt weird. I felt that I was going the wrong way even when everything seemed to be great, but now I’ve found the right one. A lot of challenges were passed, many more still ahead, but it’s a big win — to find your direction in life.

My score for WordPress APIs test on oDesk, October 2014
  • If you have motivation or just believe in something, do it.
  • Even if no-one believes that you can make it — keep going.
  • Believe in people while they didn’t prove you shouldn’t.
  • Believe in them anyway. All of us constantly failing and making mistakes, but we can learn from it and became better.
  • Maintain your body: sleep well, eat healthily, exercise every day, use a standing desk. It will help you to avoid sadness and depressions, to feel happier, and to keep your brain ready for new challenges.
  • Importance of curiosity: by diving into languages, technologies and domains of knowledge, which are not related to your work, can give you good general outlook and can inspire you to think.
  • Share your knowledge and experience: you will structure it, learn much more at the end and will leave smiling faces behind.
  • Programming is not a Sprint, — it’s Marathon: it’s not a secret that we have to constantly learn new things and forget some of an old ones. Day by day with no stops.

Chapter II: How I ended up being in SF (And why)

As I said before, I’ve moved to San Francisco by a happy coincidence. Well, did you hear about the Diversity Visa Lottery? I’ve heard. I’ve heard about it from two guys, who I met during my trip to Minsk, Belarus in 2014. Later, during my second trip to Minsk, I applied for it. There’s 1 to 50 chances to win the lottery according to the Forbes article, so I didn’t put any expectations on it, and continue to live my life. For the first time in my life I’ve traveled far away from home — to a beautiful Thailand, where we spent amazing days with friends.

In the moment before sunset, Koh Tao, Thailand, 2014
  1. Dirt, and crazy people at the Civic Center area. I’ve never seen so much dirt on the streets in my life, not at home, nor in Asia.
  2. Expensive AF. Not affordable for most people even from the US.
  3. Though to find a job as a developer (Surprise!) It sounds weird on the first glance, but here as a developer, you’re competing with the whole world. And yes, it’s tough.
  1. They don’t.
  2. They make a hack ton of money.
  3. They live with a ton of people.
  4. They’ve lived in the same place forever.
On WPSFO meetup, San Francisco, June 8, 2016
Brainstorming idea of a startup, @ home
The SentiSum team on a Batch 20 Companies Wall
Five Hundred Strong
500 Startups Batch 20 Moments
We played ping-pong with Scott Farquhar, Co-founder of Atlassian

All work and no joy makes Jack a dull boy. I will advise: don’t work for an early stage startup unless you are a founder of it.

At this point I realized that with the current state of things I need an outstanding solution. And I have found it.

Inside the Holberton School

I believe that knowledge of the fundamentals will help me to pursue my dream. That’s why I’m going to the Holberton School.

Since then, I focused on studying of two things: the C language and Machine Learning. While C is old, it’s still the most fundamental language, and Machine Learning is my current passion. I do believe that with both of them under the belt, I will become unstoppable in my willingness to achieve everything I dreamed about and to make an impact on the future of humanity.

That’s all folks, Peace and Love



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Sergii Garkusha

Sergii Garkusha


Hacker. 500 Startups Alumni. Envato Elite. School of AI Dean. Runner. Ukrainian. I write about software, AI & life. SF 🌁