AI Careers: A Whizards’s 4 Year Journey at WhizAI
When Alexey Grinko, UI Lead at WhizAI, left his previous job as an outsourced developer, he wanted a different work experience and a promising AI career. His last employer monitored his activity on his computer, enforced a 40-hour work week – no more, no less – and even took screenshots and photos of him at his workstation every few minutes.
He desired more flexibility, but more importantly, he wanted opportunities to advance. “I wanted a job where I could influence product development and decision making. I also wanted to join a team with growth potential and to be part of that growth,” he says.
He joined the WhizAI team in 2018 as the company’s only content engineer. His responsibilities included optimizing and maintaining the user interface (UI) for the solution’s web and mobile applications.
Workflows at the startup differed from other companies where Alexey worked. Communications primarily took place on Slack and calls -- there weren’t any emails to sort through each day. Additionally, the organization was flat. Amitabh Patil, co-founder and CTO, communicated with Alexey directly – with no managers as go-betweens.
Growing Company, New Processes
After about a year, however, the team grew to keep up with the increasing number of life sciences companies choosing WhizAI’s augmented analytics platform. Alexey’s role evolved from development and coding to hiring and UI team leadership.
“My first instinct was to do everything myself, but I learned to delegate. I learned to be patient, explain things, and fix problems so team members could accomplish tasks instead of me,” he says.
Part of the next phase of his AI career was establishing processes that led to greater alignment, efficiency, and productivity. Alexey leveraged his experience with Agile development, organizing sprints that kept his team on track.
Then, in 2021, his team began operating as part of squads throughout the organization. “Each member of the UI team works with a squad, such as the partner enablement squad or visualization squad. Each of them works autonomously and operates as UI leaders within those squads,” he explains. “I help them with tasks such as estimation and reviewing code.”
Once that organization was in place, he says, “I finally had more time to focus on research, design, and reducing technical debt.”
Even with more formal processes than when Alexey began working at WhizAI, he says the team has maintained its culture of open communication with leadership throughout the organization.
Experiences in an AI Career on a Global Company’s Distributed Team
Alexey, who is based in Ukraine, comments that working with a global team was also a new experience for him. “Initially, communication with my counterpart in India was challenging,” he says. “But after four years, we understand each other with a single word. We don’t need a formal description, just a quick chat.”
Alexey adds that other WhizAI teams have hybrid work schedules, working both at home and in the office, but his team in Ukraine is completely remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war. “I was used to working remotely, and our team adapted well to remote work,” he says. “They’re just as productive as when we went into the office, they are responsible for their own time management, and they know how to communicate.”
He sees a sharp contrast between WhizAI and his former employers. “No one here asks about the exact time you work,” he comments. “It’s not about the hours. It’s about delivering the results.”
An AI Career That Allows You to Learn Something New Every Day
Alexey says working at WhizAI also stands apart from other positions he’s held because “There’s something to learn every day.”
“I’ve worked in roles where I’ve reached the point where there’s nothing more to learn, but at WhizAI, there is always something more to learn about the technologies we use and challenges to solve.”
He adds that WhizAI supports its employees’ continuing education and professional development to help them have more successful AI careers. WhizAI covers subscriptions to online courses and attendance at workshops. “I encourage my team to spend time on current topics in parallel with keeping up with their project tasks.”
“We look for people who have expertise in product areas and want to improve – like I’ve been able to do at WhizAI. That’s what I want to see in the people I hire,” he says.
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