Interview with Giga Chalauri


Today, we interviewed Giga Chalauri, Senior Software Engineer at Grand Parade and lecturer at one of the universities in Georgia.

Giga, you started your career in academia at quite a young age. Could you tell a bit about how this journey began? 

There is a highly overused saying that "feedback is a gift", but it was really rewarding in my case. When I was studying at Tbilisi State University in Georgia, my supervisor asked me for feedback about improving Informatics B.A. studies. I said that what students are taught at university is not necessarily relevant while working in a company on real projects. 

Those kinds of surveys are pretty common in Poland, but usually, nothing happens out of it.  

In the beginning, nothing happened, but later my supervisor, Mr Koba Gelashvili, head of the Computer Science program at SANGU (St. Andrew's Georgian University), asked me whether I would like to implement some of my suggestions by running my own course. 

What kind of a course is it?

It's called "Software development fundamentals" and it's for 2nd-year students. Working on the curriculum, I already had some experience as a developer, and my aim was just to share it. Basically, it was based on what I hadn't known while taking my first job. In the first classes, I talked about programming concepts such as splitting big modules into small ones, proper naming for methods, variables, organizing files, code organization and writing documentation. 

As you can see, all the above is about the collaborative aspect of working in IT. Whereas students are nowadays taught how to code on their own, despite 99% of programmers working in teams according to commonly agreed norms or standards in their companies. It sounds like a 101 course, but the students lack this knowledge. Basically, all juniors taking their first jobs know very little about it because they think that the IT industry is for lone cowboys, but in fact, there is a need for highly disciplined special forces which act as one.  

What was the most surprising for you while being a lecturer? 

Meeting regularly the students who are like sponges absorbing and processing knowledge, force me to be up to date with the latest technologies to be ready to be challenged by their questions. There is no other way for me than learning all the time. It’s intense but we help each other grow. 

I know that you teach remotely. Do you have any particular way to activate students who are probably overwhelmed by spending all day on Zoom or MS Teams? 

As I don't currently live in Georgia, it is tough to integrate with students, but I am not the only person teaching this course. There is my colleague at the place, who runs laboratory/practical classes. Pandemic made our lives harder, but when I am in Georgia on vacation, I always go to the university at least for one day and conduct a lecture live. If it is not during a semester, we meet and discuss IT topics or organize webinars covering new trends.