Five-meter ceiling, screens with graphs and servers, round-the-clock monitoring. This is a technical support service of one of the most modern Data Processing Centers in Kazakhstan - Kazteleport company, a holy of holies for many organizations.
Kazteleport – is one of the oldest telecommunications operators in Kazakhstan. In addition to the Halyk Group companies, almost all Kazakhstan banks, financial institutions, large holdings, Almaty Rescue Service, Ambulance, airlines, embassies are regular customers of Kazteleport. In addition, Kazteleport provides access to the services of KISC, KASE, VISA, MasterCard, Reuters, as well as to the services of credit bureaus.
Syrym Toleuliev, a graduate of KazNTU in 2007, spoke about his work at Kazteleport and about cooperation with Satbayev University.
Syrym Toleuliev – Managing Director of Kazteleport. He worked at JSC NPF Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan in the field of telecommunications. He oversaw the work of the organization infrastructure network, to which more than 250 branches were connected.
— What do you do as a specialist? What are the main activities of your company?
Syrym Toleuliev: I started as a specialist in network technologies, for more than five years I was engaged in designing and supporting the corporate network of Halyk Bank. Then I moved to Kazteleport, where I began working as a project manager. The company was planning to develop one of the new lines of business - the provision of data center services and cloud services. That was in 2014. I was involved in the organization and development of this area of the company.
In our field, knowledge of virtualization technology is very important. Using these technologies, we provide customers with cloud services. They allow companies to deploy their information systems and work with data completely on leased computing power in commercial data centers. This is beneficial for many companies, as they can save their financial resources and focus all their attention on the implementation of important business tasks. We build and maintain infrastructures that allow this to be implemented.
Later we expanded our list of services and began to provide, in addition to SaaS and PaaS services, such services as application administration, software rental and cybersecurity. The latter service appeared due to the fact that our data centers host critical important customer’s data that needs to be protected, and accordingly, it is important to have the appropriate competencies and services. Now this is a separate area of the company.
— Is this a difficult job?
Syrym Toleuliev: Well, how to say. Clients place information systems in our data centers, on the operation of which the functioning of their business depends. Our task is to make our cloud platform work continuously 24/7. With strict adherence to standards, compliance with all rules and instructions - this is not difficult.
Of course, certain skills are required in operational management, in system administration, knowledge of the principles of network operation, virtualization systems and other technologies. You need to be able to properly respond to what is happening. It is necessary to possess such qualities as accuracy, attentiveness, discipline, I would even say, vileness. Therefore, we are very attentive to the selection of people.
When a potential candidate for an interview comes, we are surely interested in him, what he would like to do in life, whom he sees himself in 5 or 20 years. It’s important for us to understand what interests him: to develop software, work with hardware and virtualization, design and build large infrastructures, or protect information systems from cyber threats. That is, I want to know who he is by nature - the developer, system administrator or "security". In any case, if we understand that he is our man, (that’s the very person) we take him and try to find him a suitable job.
— How did the cooperation program with Satbayev University come about?
Syrym Toleuliev: About 5 years ago, I met my teacher Nurgul Seilova by chance, we got into a conversation. I said that we need good specialists, and since then Satbayev University has sent graduates to us. And we ourselves, when a vacancy appears and we need a young specialist, we turn to the university and we get 5-6 resumes. We invite guys, conduct testing, call the best for interviews. Another area of our cooperation is the production practice of Satbayev University students in the largest Kazakhstan specialized company “Kazteleport”.
For the fifth year, the 4th year students, 8-10 people each year, have been practicing with us. And you can immediately see who is interested in the future profession. So, some just come to check in and sign diaries. Others are really interested in hardware, virtualization, information security, try to do something, take the initiative. We identify such guys in the appropriate units and appoint mentors. After practice, we try to leave them in the company.
We try to help the children decide on their specialization. Only after working for some time, they can understand whether this direction is like or not. Therefore, we tell the trainee: if you are ready to work and want to become a good specialist, we will find you work in any department, look, go around, sit next to the specialists, help them, they will always find work. They begin to help, complete tasks and begin to understand their profession. Of course, it’s impossible to leave everyone with us, but in a year, we take at least one or two to work. This year we have engaged 4 graduates of Satbayev University.
5 steps for a Polytech student to get a job at Kazteleport:
- Decide what you want. Develop software or design and build the infrastructure on which this software will run.
- Learn technology. Now there are many good programs that emulate the operation of a virtualization system and large infrastructures on a regular computer. Such programs will help even test complex technologies at home and gain practical knowledge, to develop accuracy, attentiveness and discipline.
- Talk in advance with the teacher about where you will be assigned to practice. A career at Kazteleport can begin with an internship.
- Take the initiative during practice, try to do as much as possible useful, solve problems, understand unknown technologies. Do everything to be noticed and appreciated.
- Try to find a solution if they give you a test. Even if you do not know the technology in question, but if you can give an original solution to the problem, it will be counted.
— Are you ready to work with university graduates, because they have no practical experience?
Syrym Toleuliev: Yes, ready. There are not enough good specialists in the market. Most of the professionals who meet our requirements already work somewhere. So, if there is no suitable candidate in the labor market, we’d better take a graduate and educate him ourselves.
To get to our team, you need to go through the selection and answer the test questions. We look at how good the candidate has basic knowledge, how he thinks. The correctness of the test answers is not the only indicator. Maybe the candidate will give an original answer. Or offer a good idea. It happens. Then we take him, train him further and in a year he becomes a good specialist.
— Can recent students get promotion in the company or do they work in the same position?
Syrym Toleuliev: We constantly have a rotation of specialists. At first, graduates perform simple work, master basic skills so that they understand at the initial stages what they like to do most. Then they choose their specialization and already move to units in their direction. We did not specifically plan this rotation scheme, somehow it turns out by itself.
Now we have more than 10 graduates of the Polytechnic University. So far there have been no disappointments. You can rely on these guys. For example, in just two years, Darkhan Zhumakhan became a good specialist in data center networks and independently began to support important network nodes. The network equipment manufacturer Cisco has its own certification system, which is highly regarded among professionals and employers, this is a complex three-level program for 2 years. Darkhan has passed all the exams Now he is preparing for exams to conquer the last level. For the first year, Darkhan worked at the Service Desk, and when the vacancy of a network engineer appeared, he was transferred to the appropriate unit.
Beknur Nursultanov also initially worked at the Service Desk. The guy is constantly improving his knowledge, studying new technologies. We liked his desire for development, his thoughtful attitude to work, and we transferred him to the new division for the provision of cybersecurity services. Beknur received certificates for security systems, independently develops projects, performs complex work to ensure information security for our customers. He takes responsibility, takes the initiative in solving complex problems.
Baurzhan Zhaldybaev: I graduated from Satbayev University in 2016 with a degree in Information Systems. Started with a contact center, then became a Service Desk manager. The education I received was very helpful, because I had to quickly go into everything. You also need to be sociable, as the Service Desk manager solves not only internal tasks, but also works with clients. On weekends we are the whole company. We are the voice, we are the ears, we are the answers, we are the technical support, we are everything. Satbayev University taught me how to communicate with people and most importantly - to learn quickly. It is important.
— Do your employees have the opportunity to engage in projects that interest them?
Syrym Toleuliev: Yes, we give employees the opportunity to implement their ideas and projects. We encourage initiative, we appreciate the manifestation of responsibility in the implementation of ideas, in solving problems. To do this, we help create an atmosphere of free expression of opinions and ideas in the company. Above all, we value dedicated employees. And the majority of Polytechnic graduates in our company are just such passionate employees. Such people do not need to be motivated. A passionate person is always successful in his field. Therefore, we try to provide all the opportunities for the realization of their ideas and potential.
As for continuing education, the company pays for training and exams. Often at the expense of the company we send employees to study in Moscow. We need competent specialists with high qualifications, knowledgeable in technology. These investments pay off very quickly, because highly qualified employees can offer new approaches, new technology that will improve the work of data centers.
In many respects, this is the requirement of our consumers. They want to be sure that the infrastructure on which they place their information systems is maintained by professionals. We try to create a team of enthusiastic and proactive people who have all the conditions for self-realization. It is beneficial to both employees and the company.
— Do employees in your company have the opportunity to make a career?
Syrym Toleuliev: The company is actively developing, new areas of business are opening, units are being created. Therefore, there are good conditions for growth, and everything else depends on the employee himself, on his life position. We try to give the employee to work in the place where he is most effective. If he wants to grow as a manager, he has such an opportunity.
We work in a field that is changing rapidly. Each month, new methods and approaches are emerging that fundamentally change the technologies used. Therefore, a specialist in the field of IT must constantly learn. If you have not studied for six months, you are already behind.
It is important to choose what you like, what you will be happy to do. As for the choice of a university, a university with a history, good traditions and a good rating should be preferred for training.
Almat Boraliev: I graduated from the undergraduate last year, now I have entered the magistracy of Satbayev University. I got a job at Kazteleport thanks to the Polytech. We were sent here in the 4th year to practice. When the vacancy appeared, I got a job at Kazteleport. There are many guys from the Polytechnic. It’s hard to work at first, but the skills we have got at the university help. After you delve into - everything is easier, so we work, everything is fine.
— What do you need to succeed in your field?
Syrym Toleuliev: Of course, one must have good fundamental knowledge and be a high-professional specialist in a specific area of IT. To do this, you need to continuously study, deepen your knowledge, learn new things, the first five years of your professional life you must literally go headlong into training and practice. It is still important to be able to take responsibility and to complete the work you have begun.
We at the company consider continuous development to be the most important, and therefore on the wall of our office posted a quote from futurologist Alvin Toffler: “Illiterates in the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn ". The knowledge that you received at the beginning of your career is enough for 5-6 years, then you need to study again.
Alvin Toffler – is an American philosopher, social thinker and futurologist, one of the authors of the popular concept of post-industrial civilization. Author of many books and articles. He has honorary doctorates in literature, law, and natural sciences.
— In your opinion, is this a profession for a woman? How many girls work in this specialty?
Syrym Toleuliev: There are a lot of girls among program developers. But in our area, where in some specializations there are iron, cables, engineering infrastructure and sometimes physical strength is needed, of course, it’s rather complicated for girls. Nevertheless, I often met women who work as system administrators who could give odds to many guys. By the way, one of the best cybersecurity experts I have known was a girl.
— You are a graduate of Satbayev University. Did the study at this university help you in life?
Syrym Toleuliev: Of course, Satbayev University played a big role in my life. I can’t even imagine another university. At the Polytechnic, I received not only excellent basic knowledge in the specialty, but also made friends in life. My happy student’s years passed here, and I am still grateful to my teachers who helped me to choose the matter of life and become a professional in my work.
Our company plans to become the No. 1 provider for ICT infrastructure in Kazakhstan. To achieve these goals, we need a close-knit team of enthusiastic, creatively gifted and proactive employees. So our team will expand, and we will recruit people, including from Satbayev University.
6 useful books:
- Ashley Vance «Elon Musk. SpaceX, Tesla - the road to the future»
- Eric Shmidt «How Google Works»
- Jeff Sutherland «Scrum – A Revolutionary Project Management Method»
- Stephen Covey «7 Skills of Highly Effective People»
- Alexander Beck «Volokolamsk highway»
- Isai Kalashnikov «Cruel Age»