Yury Petrov

Yury Petrov: Do you know Google? I keep it running

Interested about our DevOps track? Of course you are, especially that you will see there Yury Petrov, Site Reliability Engineer at Google! Find out more about Yury from this interview thet he gave to us and then make sure you register!

DevExperience: What did you want to become when you were a child?

I had different ideas, from a janitor (they had fancy shovels to deal with heavy snow!) to a scientist. Can't say any of these ideas succeeded completely...

DevExperience: What is the story of your begining in this field? How did you start working in this industry?

Again, back to the childhood: I was spending winter evenings reading Scientific American about computer programs fighting each other in RAM (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_War).

Fast forward 5 years: booting Minix from floppies; another 5 years: learning algorithms and managing a network in IOI camp. Then I joined VK.com (social network in Russia) as a system administrator, and evolved into SRE over time.

DevExperience: There are a lot of juniors in IT that dream to work at Google. Please tell us how is it like to work for Google and what advice do you have for people who dream to join?

It's great, because you meet many people to learn from (and they learn from you as well). The advice is: do what you are interested in, and become good at it. Unless you Secondary advice: listen and learn from people (it makes you great). Tertiary advice: assume good intentions (this helps you learn: people also want things to be great, so do listening and learning with this assumption).

DevExperience: What are the main mistakes that you noticed that people in this field are making a lot?

Assuming they should only design systems and write code. Understanding customers, collaborating with colleagues and sharing knowledge are valuable as well.

DevExperience: What do you know about Iași and Romania? Dont Google it! :)

Iasi should be a university town. For Romania, frankly, just a couple of random facts (Bucharest as a capital; location; many family names ending with letter "u"; Transylvania as a "literature vampire land"...). Oh, right: our team has a great Technical Program Manager from Romania!

DevExperience: What is your advice for a junior who wants to grow in this field? What do you think are the main qualities for a programmer?

Find things you are interested in; be great at them; listen and learn continuously.

DevExperience: What do you do for your both personal and professional development? How does a normal day looks like for you? What about a not so normal day?

I learn from people by listening and asking questions. It's actually a funny challenge to invent a good question.
I take challenges (e.g. this conference: to be honest, public speaking is outside of my comfort zone).
For a normal day (let's assume we are talking of weekdays)
A typical one:
- wake up; shower; commute by train (reading likely); breakfast
- triage emails (sometimes there are too many of them) and stuff
- work with code / design documents / bugs, sometimes take/give a technical training, sometimes a couple of meetings with colleagues in European timezones
- team standup; lunch; sometimes physical activity (e.g. weekly soccer/volleyball in summer)
- work with code / design documents / bugs
- meetings with colleagues in US timezones
- commute by train (reading likely); time with family; sleep
A non-typical day could include getting paged at 5am (when I'm on call for a service); one or two flights, including cross-Atlantic, train across Europe, swimming in a pool or lake, taking a soft skill class (whatever: working with people, cooking, graphic design...) and whatever else.

DevExperience: What is the greatest part of your job? What is the not so great part of it?

Greatest part for me is an endless variation of challenges around. The amount of problems and approaches is not going down :)
I find it a bit annoying that I see more and more processes outside of my domain that could be improved (at my company and not only), but I'll never have a chance to get to fix them.

DevExperience: How would you explain to an old lady who knows nothing about technology what is it exactly that you do? :)

That depends... In general, I would say two things:
- Do you know Google? I keep it running. (That would not be the exact truth, but close enough)
- If I see a nail for the first time, I hit it with a rock. If I see it again, I invent a hammer

For an old lady who is ready to continue the discussion I can follow up:
- Ideally, instead of inventing a hammer, I go to a shelf with tools, choose the best hammer for the purpose, and use it. As a result, I have time to polish existing hammers, invent electric hammers, talk to other hammer producers to converge on hammer standards and so on.

DevExperience: Tell us more about the main ideas of your talk at DevExperience! Why should people register and attend the event?

I will:
- explain why should we assume that everything should break (even given that you do not notice that normally for Google)
- outline a difference between words "SRE" and "DevOps" and to discuss that
- share examples of what can you probably apply to you company (or actually start with a small team: so many great things and best practices start bottom-up!)

We are really eager to meet Yury in person! If you are too (crazy not to), enter our website and register for the ride on Earth with Yury Petrov and all the great people at DevExperience18!