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The People Behind the Tech

Dima Danilov – Software Team Lead

This is the second blog in the series of People Behind the Tech, where we share a sneak peek at the wonderful all-stars behind our market-leading digital asset custody and management solutions. For those of you who missed it, last time we met up with Bernard Kulysz Fatuch, our QA team leader. 

This time we had the pleasure of interviewing Dima Danilov. Dima joined us just over a year and a half ago and heads up one of our Software Development teams. Let’s jump in and get to know a bit more about Dima, his position here, and what makes him tick.

Fast Facts

  • Name: Dima Danilov
  • Title: Software Team Lead
  • Tenure at GK8: ~1.5 years
  • Age: 36
  • Originally from: Ukraine
  • Hobbies: History (at the moment, it is the Byzantine empire) and etymology (the origin of words), he is also an avid technical blogger (mostly C++, Rust, and Linux ecosystem).

Tell us a little bit about your position here:

I lead one of the software engineering teams. The job is a mix of both hands-on coding, as well as mentoring. I would say that about 60-70% coding versus 30-40% mentoring and management. It turns out that my team is predominantly made up of senior developers, so there is less direct mentoring needed.

However, because of this, sometimes specific team members are assigned additional responsibilities like taking the lead on the development of new features for a different team of developers. So while we have organic teams, there is a lot of teamwork with the others.

I started off at GK8 as a senior developer. Over time, I expressed my interest in moving into a team lead position. As part of the process, I was given the opportunity to show my potential and leadership capabilities in a number of tasks, mostly leading features. About a year and a half after I started working here, I was promoted to team lead.

What does an ‘average’ day look like as a Software Team Lead?

I cannot say that we have a daily routine.

If it is the beginning of a new version, I work extensively with our product manager, VP of R&D, and CTO on feature planning. Once a feature is defined, I start working on technical design. It includes working with the people mentioned above and the team members to understand the complexity of the feature and estimate time resources for the tasks. This stage also often includes a lot of brainstorming. Additionally, the beginning of the version is the time for infrastructure work: upgrading 3rd parties, compiler versions, and refactoring.

The middle of the version is a period of heavy development; sometimes, the team may realize that the feature plan needs adjustments, and sometimes bugs are detected. Finally, at the end of version development, the whole team works on fixing bugs and defects detected by our QA team.

Tell us about an experience you are particularly proud of:

While working at GK8, we added support for numerous crypto protocols. We have dramatically improved our infrastructure: CI/CD, the build system, and docker-based deployment. This would not have been possible if the back-end team did not work closely with our DevOps folks on this.

Additionally, we are working on a new infrastructure project using some new technologies and languages. I am thrilled to see how the team is learning, helping each other to compile errors, sharing articles on the topic, and posting findings on our channel. Every time an engineer would say, “@**@*! Why does this not work?!” the team would jump to help them to find and solve the problem.

How did you come to work for GK8?

I worked in the past with Adam Schreiber, GK8’s VP R&D. A little after he joined he contacted me about a possible role on his team. I heard about the exciting new technology that GK8 was developing, in a sector near and dear to my heart – blockchain. He explained how this solution was aimed at combating one of the biggest plagues in the industry – that of crypto theft.

You see, according to industry reports, the value of crypto crime continues to grow year over year. The number of hacks has outpaced the market cap, for quite a while now. Furthermore, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting points of centralization, because that is where ROI is the highest. We are talking about institutional investors, exchanges, DeFi protocols, bridges, and more. This is where GK8 comes in.

Remember, part of what makes blockchain unique is that there is no ‘undo’ – once assets are transferred or siphoned – very often they are gone. So financial institutions need to be more focused on prevention.

Back to the process, after talking to Adam, I met with the CTO Shahar Shamai, and later with the CEO, Lior Lamesh. With both, I was very impressed. It looked like a good fit in terms of culture and the rest is history.

What do you like most about working here at GK8?

GK8 is still a start-up, and as such enjoys many of the benefits of these types of organizations. There is a lot of teamwork and camaraderie. Relatively flat management hierarchy, you can talk to everyone here. You have a feeling of influence and responsibility, you a more than ‘just a screw in the system’. There is no status quo. No long ‘do and don’t list’. You enjoy the freedom of creativity and of being exactly who you are. Bringing your best to work, every day.

Mostly, I appreciate the fact that the role consistently challenges me at the technical and intellectual levels. You consistently need to consider issues from various angles and unusual perspectives. And cryptography is where it is at. Extremely cutting-edge.

I see you have some open positions on the team. What are you looking for in potential candidates?

I am looking for people who want to learn, are autodidacts, and are not afraid of getting their hands dirty. We need people who are willing to look beyond their job description, jump in and help – whether it is in their realm of responsibility, or not.

Importantly we are looking for team players, and I am always looking for someone new to whoop in ‘foosball’:-).

Think you have what it takes? Have a look at our open positions here: