How does your work impact your attitude? For Semjon Molokanov, Tech Leader on Klara’s Engineering team, the key is to always learn something new — from users, from challenges, and from teammates. We sat down with Semjon to chat about why he started writing code and how the Klara Engineering team keeps him excited for what’s next.
Q: What is your full name and your role at Klara? Where are you from originally and how long have you been at Klara?
A: My name is Semjon Molokanov, I’m the Tech Leader at Klara. I’ve been working here since February 2018. I’m originally from Yekaterinburg, Russia, but I’ve been living in Berlin for almost two years. I moved here from Leipzig, where I lived for two and a half years — so I’ve been in Germany for four and a half years now in total.
Q: How long have you been writing code? What made you decide to become an engineer?
A: I started working as a software developer during my final year of university. I actually studied physics. Part of my diploma work required performing a bunch of complex calculations using experimental results. The work was taking six hours of observation without a break each time I conducted an experiment, so I decided to write a program to collect that data and then create nice reports for myself. I spent a few days automating the process. And the result was not only that I saved myself hours of time, but the quality of the reports was actually better than when I was manually creating them. I was honestly impressed by how much this simple software program improved my quality of life…and I saw the potential for doing that on a much larger scale. After that, I decided to move forward with engineering. A friend of mine invited me to join his small company as a software engineer, and I’ve been working in the field ever since.
Q: What made you decide to join the engineering team at Klara?
A: It started with a really great interview with Chirantan Rajhans, our Engineering Manager. He was hands-on in showing me why Klara would be the right fit for me — namely, that we focus on product-oriented development, data-driven decision making, and strong product features. And in addition to that, all of the members of the team who I met were friendly people I could see myself working alongside. I also had an interview with one of our co-founders, Simon Bolz. He took the time to lay out Klara’s plans for the future and the vision for the company, and I just felt really motivated and inspired to join the team.
Q: Can you describe a recent challenging technical problem you solved at Klara?
A: As we grow, we’ve started to observe an increase in the load on our systems. We were limited in hardware capacity to run our database properly, so we focused on optimizing for better performance. Finding out how to increase performance by changing data structures and queries and trying to determine what was most important throughout the process was exciting work. And I’m happy to say that we were able to make those determinations without any big mistakes!
Q: What do you like most about the Klara product?
A: I like the value we provide. Klara is a solution that actually changes our users’ business logic, workflows, and efficiencies to improve the way they do business. We are very flexible and do everything we can to make our customers happy. When we say “Users First,” we mean it.
Q: How does Klara support your growth as an engineer and keep you motivated?
A: Everyone on the team has an educational stipend that they can use to attend conferences or courses to build up any skills they’re interested in learning. I’m motivated by the technical challenges we face from time to time. That includes integration with new systems, application of new technologies, and updates to the current tech stack. No two days are the same here — and with all of these initiatives going on, the engineering team stays up to date on the best trends across the technological landscape.
Q: What technologies do you work with?
A: Just to list a few…Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Postgresql, Git, CircleCi, Docker, Cloud (Aptible), AWS, React, and Webpack.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of the current engineering culture at Klara?
A: We actually care about our product. We’re not just writing source codes, we’re building systems to make our users’ lives easier.
Q: What do you look for in a good teammate?
A: Having an open mind and being able to accommodate others’ ideas is key. I also value a focus on execution and being motivated by achieving tasks and seeing projects through from start to finish. Passion for learning new things is also critical for everyone on the Klara engineering team.
Q: What are your hobbies (or passions) outside of work?
A: I like reading, especially histories. I like to watch documentaries about space and science. And when I take time off, I like to go for road trips and hikes just to get out of the city and relax.
Q: Describe Klara Engineering in three words.
A: Built with love.
At Klara, we’re transforming healthcare, so all patients can receive great care. Our HIPAA-compliant messaging platform makes it fast and easy for patients and providers to communicate.