The String and Key Crew: Sergey Lukyanenko

Jasmin H
Jasmin H
Mar 30 · 6 min read

As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Sergey Lukyanenko.

Company Role: Software Engineer

Most likely to: burn at the beach

Secret talent: 2nd Dan Black Belt in Karate

If you’ve ever been curious about the best hikes in Denver or the best tacos in San Fran, the coolest venues in Seattle, or the most chill spots in Miami, then Sergey’s your man. Born in Ukraine and living in the US since the age of 20, he’s been around the block in terms of cities he’s made home. So, he probably has a ton of insider info on where to go for the real non-touristy stuff that you won’t find on a “10 Hidden Gems” Thrillist article.

A pro in full-stack web technologies, Sergey’s past experience has seen him working with designers, product managers, and CEOs to design and build platforms that support effective collaboration between like-minded people. Looking for a company where he could use his engineering skills to empower people, he found himself at String and Key and has been a thriving member of our team since November 2020.

A busy bee, Sergey has a ton of extra-curricular that keep him occupied outside of work. Fun fact: he’s representing Team USA at the JKA World Karate Championships in Japan in October 2022 — a tournament where there hasn’t been a US prize winner ever! His goal is to be the first to bring the trophy home so that he can inspire others. Well, consider us inspired already.

Read on to learn more about this curious mind.

What do you do, and what does your typical workday look like?
My mornings start with a daily standup. This is where we, as a team, share what we’re working on, how we’re tackling it, and any concerns we may have. After our standup, I start work on either an existing feature or a new one. If it’s a new one, I’ll set up the environment and create a new branch. Most of my days are spent working on these features and supporting other team members by reviewing their code. And throughout the day, I keep an eye on Slack to address any questions from the back-end or frontend team. So, in a nutshell, my days consist of writing well-designed, tested, and documented code, identify and fixing bugs, and working closely with the frontend, mobile, and infrastructure/operations teams.

What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
My favorite part about working at String and Key is how valued the company makes employees feel, especially regarding team development. A great example of this was when I mentioned that I would like to go to a few high-demand conferences this year. The company purchased the tickets right away. I take this not only as a show of great support but also as a testament to how much the company values its people’s development.

Oh, and I really appreciate the awesome parties and other perks at String and Key. It was so lovely (and surprising) to receive an Oculus for Christmas even though I’d just started working at the company in November. That was an unexpectedly generous gift and made me feel especially welcomed and valued.

What excites you about your job?
Within my team, I love collaborating, hearing valuable feedback, and getting support where needed. It’s great to work with a group of folks who encourage each other to overcome obstacles and achieve great results.

I also like that this is a startup and not a large corporation. With roughly 40 of us at the company, we all know each other. Unfortunately, COVID has meant that we haven’t had a chance to meet in person yet. But, I’ve heard stories about the in-person social side of working at String and Key: from the whole company flying to Montreal together for a weekend just to hang out to just going to a bar to play some games to spending time together chilling in a park. Apparently, we’re a very social bunch!

On the technical side, I love that I’m growing and learning new technologies. I’m working with tech that I already have experience with and new and exciting tech like Graph QL, an open-source data query. Overall, I’m really excited about the opportunity to grow.

What are the values that drive you?
Friendship, learning, diligence, teamwork, and patience.

How do you stay on top of your game?
Every year, I go to the Tony Robbins seminar, where I create my “massive action plan” for both my career and personal life. I’ve been going for the past 10 years, and it’s an excellent tool for planning your life out. Other than that, I’m constantly reading up on the industry, learning new technologies, and building new features. I’m also planning on taking the Amazon Web Services course soon to expand my knowledge in that area.

What drew you to tech, and what excites you about the industry?
Early on in my career, I made multiple attempts at creating my own businesses. One was a tax company that helped international students with tax returns. The other assisted small businesses in finding engineers to build an online presence. But, again and again, I found myself wanting to pursue a degree in programming. I am inspired by the ability to solve complex engineering problems and build solutions for businesses so that they can realize their full potential.

If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
I would swap places with our CEO, Alex, to see how the teams and projects at String and Key are organized to build a successful company. I’ve lived the entrepreneur life, and so I’ve always been interested in that world. I’m really into the NPR podcast, “How I Built This,” and you’ll often find me listening to interviews with various founders of huge companies, including Airbnb, Lärabar, Whole Foods, etc. There are just so many inspiring stories. What Alex is doing is also an inspiration. I’d love to learn more about the business — from how it functions to the planning, strategy, and pulling all these people together to create something amazing.

What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
Buddhism. I converted to Buddhism when I was 23 years old, and I’ve been practicing ever since. I’ve taken many courses on Buddhism around the world in many amazing places — including the mountain tops of Germany and Mt. Olympus in Greece. Also, wherever I travel, I always make sure to stop at a Buddhist center to take a break and meditate. So yeah, I could give a one-hour presentation on the topic since it’s a big part of my life.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Running along Miami Beach, spending time at the gym to prepare for the Karate World Championship, meditating with friends, and building a web presence for a nonprofit Buddhist organization.

Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?
#TonyRobbins #ConorMcgregor #LamaOle #TeamUSA #Coding

Lighting Round:

Pizza party or pool party?
Pizza.

Weekends or holidays?
Weekends.

Red wine or white wine?
White.

Owe money or owe a favor?
Owe a favor.

Planning it or winging it?
Planning it.

Interested in working at String and Key? Join us!

String and Key