Django Stars Chronicles: The Stories Behind the Code

Mar 26, 2024
15 min read
Django Stars Chronicles: The Stories Behind the Code
Julia Korsun
Julia Korsun
Head of Marketing

Marking 15 years of Django Stars, we want to take a moment to celebrate the people who’ve been with us from the beginning. They’re the backbone of our company, each bringing their own unique chapter to the joint decade-and-a-half story.

At Django Stars, we’re all about creating top-notch software that makes businesses tick, grow, and scale. As a tech partner for business, when our client succeeds, so do we. We take pride in our crew’s track record, especially being recognized as one of the top software developers with 53 reviews on Clutch and earning the trust of Fortune 500 companies. 

Here are some milestones to get a more complete picture of the company.
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Currently, we have a team of 74 professionals spread across 12 departments. But this article is dedicated to the pioneers: our first-joined QA, the initial designer, and the engineers who’ve been with us since the early days. Let’s delve deeper into the Django Stars chronicles and get to know their key players.

Nataliia Peterheria, an Operations Manager 

My Journey with DS

I joined DS in 2015 through the QA Engineer courses. One of our instructors was Arthur. After completing the courses, Arthur offered me a position as a QA Engineer at DS. Alongside Ira Meshchankina, we became the company’s first QA Engineers. This was a new frontier, both for DS and for me. Our first project, PADI, presented its challenges because the profession of QA Engineer was still in its nascent stage, and we were forging our collaboration with the developers. 

Later, I took Scrum Master courses, earned my certification, and transitioned to the role of Project Coordinator at DS. Afterward, I shifted into one of the first Project Manager roles. In this capacity, one of the standout projects was Molo, a project where quality was paramount.

Case Studies
The first fully digital mortgage in the UK.

As time progressed, more projects came into play, a full-fledged QA department took shape, multiple Project Managers joined the team, and we began initiating Discovery Phases. My tenure at DS endowed me with an in-depth comprehension of the entire development process, encompassing all its intricate phases and details.

All of these experiences paved my path to the role of Operations Manager.
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What DS Means to Me

Every IT company has a foundational objective: delivering projects to clients. These projects can either be realized simply by adhering to the client’s specifications, or they can be a collaborative venture aimed at the mutual success of the project. To me, DS stands out as a firm that genuinely invests in the success of the client’s business. We don’t churn out projects merely to inflate numbers; we meticulously craft each one with the intent of propelling our client’s business forward, and in doing so, we evolve alongside them.

Furthermore, DS embodies the spirit of open-mindedness. Although there’s an inherent structure to our operations (well-defined processes, regular reporting, etc.), DS ensures every voice is heard. Every initiative, regardless of its origin, is given due consideration and if deemed beneficial, it sees implementation. DS is committed to valuing each employee’s contribution, and this commitment isn’t just lip service.

Discover more by Nataliia in DS blog.

Serhii Kubrak, a Backend Competency & Tech Lead

My Journey with DS

My journey with DS began in 2012 on an intriguing project called EsperMasters. It centered around a wizard from Latvia who taught people to conjure fireballs and sold protective gear, such as amulets. After that, I joined PADI and later dedicated a significant amount of time to a major project named Money Park. I came on board at DS as a Python Developer, even accepting a lower salary compared to my previous job. Why? I was driven by a desire to immerse myself in a genuine engineering environment filled with developers and rich learning opportunities.
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My current role as a Team Lead involves a significant influence over the technical aspects of the software team and making crucial architectural decisions. At the same time, being a Lead is largely about effective communication, overseeing the PDP (Performance Development Plan), and promoting team growth. In this regard, the impact of COVID and the ongoing war has shifted the emphasis. With current market trends, everyone is working remotely. But I long for the days of face-to-face interactions. Because, at its core, DS is about the people.

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What DS Means to Me

At Django Stars, I appreciate the opportunity to constantly develop, including through engaging in a large number of English conversations. Each project introduces new technologies, leading to continuous learning and knowledge acquisition. However, it’s undoubtedly up to a developer themselves to maintain a keen interest in their work and to keep learning. For instance, I also took solution architecture courses last year.

To me, DS is more than just a company that delivers projects. Here, I’ve grown personally and feel I’ve significantly contributed to the company’s growth. Sometimes I wonder: haven’t I gotten used to my comfort zone over the past 10 years, from where I just won’t want to leave? And my answer is that DS consistently provides projects that ignite my professional curiosity.

Discover more by Serhii in DS blog.

Alex Ryabtsev, a Backend Competency & Tech Lead

My Journey with DS

I joined DS after relocating from Luhansk to Kyiv in 2014. I had deliberately sought out DS. We were using Django at my previous job, and I kept an eye on companies working with Django. During this search, I discovered a library that DS had open-sourced, which was highly relevant to my work then. The company’s name piqued my curiosity, and upon finding their website, I thought, “It’s incredible that there’s an entire company focused on Django,” especially since Django was considered a novelty at that time.

I started as a Backend Developer, and my debut project was developing a website for a music group. While most such websites feature simple blocks with limited functionalities, this one required a forum, a gallery, videos, and much more. With a release deadline in less than a month, the pressure was palpable. As time progressed, I took on numerous projects and even delivered a presentation called “What I Learned from 16 Projects at Django Stars.” Out of these, I served as the Backend Competency & Tech Lead for six. The first project under my leadership was Clear Minds, a Swiss investment platform. Its intermittent starts and stops posed a challenge. However, it was my favorite for a considerable period. That was before Boa Lingua fulfilled my dream of a project from scratch, a large team, and a long term. I continue to lead this project today.
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A standout project, which is thriving today, involves a mobile app enabling parents to interact with their children. For instance, parents can assign a task like completing 10 pull-ups, and the child logs their progress. Successful completion merits a reward. The app integrates gamification, offers advice from psychologists on effective parent-child communication, and even allows parents to chronicle their life stories for their children, with an option for the child to access it at a specific age.

What DS Means to Me

Over the past 9 years, my perception of the company has remained consistent. Just as it was nearly a decade ago, it remains a fantastic place to work, with its captivating projects and cutting-edge technologies. Moreover, it’s a hub where one can meet and communicate with some truly fascinating people. And there’s no such concept as “former” Django stars; once you’re a part of it, you always are.

Case Studies
Swiss solution to find the language courses worldwide.

Discover more by Alex in DS blog.

Iryna Meshchankina, an Operations Manager

My Journey with DS

I joined the company 8 years ago, and the interview remains vivid in my memory. During our conversation, the company’s founders struck me with their genuine passion for their work, which was clearly an integral part of their lives. Their deep investment in the company’s trajectory resonated with me.

I started as one of the first QA Engineers. My first project was PADI, one of the oldest and, in my opinion, one of the most complex and interesting projects. It wasn’t just about joining and blending in; it was about being a professional QA because it was something new for the developers too, something they hadn’t worked with before. It was new for both the company and the project. When I joined Django Stars, the company was undergoing changes not only in refining its competencies but also in building new processes. Under the expert guidance of our COO, Arthur Bachynskiy, we integrated quality into the processes. We also introduced new approaches to our planning, marking the beginning of our Scrum implementation. Over time, I started to combine my QA expertise with the responsibilities of a Scrum Master.

Back then, the company’s structure was different from what it is now. When I joined, it was a period of active growth, with many new professionals coming aboard. There was already an understanding that DS is primarily about people. The company’s growth seemed organic; as new projects arose, the employee count grew, forming new teams. For a while, I held the position of QA Lead, which logically evolved into a Project Manager role. Eventually, this led me to positions of Head of PMO and Operations Manager.
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The Clear Minds project holds a special place in my memories, as does the incredible team behind its success. I’m convinced it was on this project that both the team and I learned how to handle projects with demanding requirements from scratch. Personally, it taught me to craft the most meticulous reports.

Case Studies
Modern investment advice platform.

What DS Means to Me

DS is founded on trust. If you approach your coworkers with trust, it comes back to you. It was challenging when we started a new project in the first week of the war, but none of those involved dropped out or refused to work. The team worked from places like gas stations and cars.

DS is about people, their emotions, and the atmosphere they create. It’s like a small family. Of course, some people leave, others join, and some even return. Such comebacks are particularly pleasant, indicating that the company holds something special.

My 8 years at DS feel like a separate, small life. During this time, many significant events and changes have occurred in both my career and personal life. It’s the shared professionalism, the joy of collaborative creation, and the collective pride in our outcomes that truly define Django Stars.

Discover more by Iryna in DS blog.

Oleksandr Bulanov, Backend Competency & Tech Lead

My Journey with DS

I joined DS in 2012 as a Backend Engineer on a German project for an online pet supplies store. Then, there was a fascinating project involving a British healthcare company. Our task was to generate intricate PDF documents, prepare reports from them, and submit them for printing. After these experiences, the PADI journey began.
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I worked on the Diviac project (PADI Travel‘s predecessor). This project felt like my own, and I take pride in how it evolved. It was acquired by the industry’s top player, began generating revenue, and is now used by thousands daily. While this success is a collective effort — with significant credit going to our client, an expert in their domain — I’m elated to have played a role in its journey and to continue doing so.

Case Studies
All-in-one travel platform for divers.

The PADI project carries particular significance in my professional journey. Over the years, we’ve consistently aided our client in delivering complex and exciting things, even with tight deadlines and a compact team. Our primary focus has been understanding the client’s needs and consequently delivering impactful results with efficient investments, always aiming for simple yet elegant solutions.

What DS Means to Me

For me, DS is about professionalism at the C level, about their excellent mentorship, about how they keep up with new technologies and find superb technical solutions. DS is also about a friendly atmosphere, spending time together outside of work, among like-minded individuals. For instance, Serhii Krubrak and I have become good friends, and we go on vacations together with our families. 

As far back as I can remember, DS has always emphasized internal culture and knowledge sharing. Django Stars 24/7 strives to stay at the forefront on all fronts — technologies, approaches, processes, and marketing.

Discover more by Oleksandr in DS blog.

Oleksandr Savchenko, a Senior Business Analyst

My Journey with DS

I joined DS in May 2016. Prior to that, I had been working in IT, but it wasn’t related to development. I wanted to work for a company with a strong engineering focus. I started as a pre-sale business analyst. This role wasn’t project-specific; it was more about the business processes of sales: negotiating deadlines, discussing the financial aspects, defining the task pool, and project estimation. My tasks included gathering initial requirements, identifying the client’s needs, and formulating commercial proposals. Gradually, this role evolved into conducting small Discovery Phases, which involved coordinating with potential project teams and strategizing about execution.

Since then, DS has improved its sales approaches, streamlined project management, and optimized processes. Now, two other business analysts and I comprise the company’s BA team.
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Although the job was interesting and diverse, I experienced what’s commonly known as burnout. Wanting deeper involvement in projects, I enrolled in Frontend Developer courses and continued my journey at DS, balancing two roles: Pre-Sale Business Analyst and Frontend Developer. I essentially pivoted within the company. Gradually, I started contributing to small projects as a Frontend Developer, with the extensive Molo project from which I started in the company being particularly memorable. 

What DS Means to Me

DS is all about flexibility. It’s a company with a unique culture and identity. The company keeps moving forward, even in challenging times, and provides opportunities for growth. DS was supportive during a period when I faced motivation issues, and together we found a solution (now I combine the roles of a pre-sale business analyst and a Frontend Developer).

Discover more by Oleksandr in DS blog.

Dmytro Puchkov, a UX/UI Competency Lead

My Journey with DS

I began my journey at DS in 2014, marking the same year DS embarked on its journey as I became the company’s first designer. Our initial project was TimeDom, a platform centered on short-term apartment rentals, with my role being the Product Designer.

After that, I delved into many exciting projects. Their non-exhaustive list includes, Taxofon, Metrovka, Cricket Duel (a standout platform in the fantasy gaming industry where we transformed plain tables into an immersive gaming UI), Solastis (an complex and extensive CRM system), Molo (where I was the first designer), Office Christmas (the Discovery phase), SAIB, and Boa Lingua (the Discovery phase). 

By 2016, with the uptick in projects, we saw the need to expand the design team. We onboarded two designers who are still with DS today. Over time, they have grown into independent professionals in their field. I take great pride in having mentored them. One of my notable contributions lies in the development and active implementation of the DS Design Process and Personal Development plans.

UI/UX: Get a stunning interface for your product.

Additionally, I devoted my efforts to designing the Django Stars website and Blog, polishing their old versions to the masterpieces they are today. I thoroughly enjoy working on the company’s growth and shaping Django Stars as a brand.

My current role orbits around collaborating with the marketing team, overseeing the Design Department, and elevating DS Operational Excellence through improvement and standardization.
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What DS Means to Me

DS is about people and support. The company gave me the opportunity to grow not only as a developer but also as a department head, mentor, and coach. DS always brings together the coolest colleagues. Moreover, it has its own special culture: there’s a unique vibe at Django Stars.

Discover more by Dmytro in DS blog.

What It’s Like to Be a Django Star

Django Stars is more than just a conventional workplace; it’s a community where every expert finds a unique reason to engage. But a standout feature our teammates consistently highlight is the company’s unique culture fostering trust and support.

Our valuing expertise is evident in our continual knowledge-sharing across multiple platforms, both online and offline. Understanding the importance of life-work balance, we provide flexible working conditions to ensure our specialists have space for personal and professional development. And our encouragement doesn’t halt at work-related aspects but encompasses diverse interests, from sports and parties to shared adventures.

Through all these years, our shared passion for growth, mutual learning, and constructive communication has been our unifying force. This holistic approach empowers the Django Stars team to excel in various industries, from fintech to logistics and edtech. If you’re in search of top-tier development services, we’re here to chat.

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