April 17, 2024

【Yaraku-Jin】A place where you can work while learning initiatively - A journey of one of our most skillful programmer from Ukraine

The sixth volume of "Yaraku-Jin (やらく人)", a series that focuses the people involved in Yaraku and YarakuZen, will introduce Yurii Honcharenko, one of the developers who has been playing a significant role of YarakuZen's development since joining the company in 2015.


Yaraku, Inc. Frontend/Backend Development

Yurii Honcharenko


Could you tell us your background?

I'm from eastern Ukraine. I live in Kashiwa City in Chiba with my wife now. My mom and sister also moved to Japan only two years ago. I came to Japan in 2015, when I joined Yaraku, and it’s been nine years now.

What made you actually come to Japan, or want to work for this company?

Um. So I kind of wanted to move somewhere abroad, to live abroad for a very long time. And I also liked Japan. I read some blogs from people who lived here and it sounded very nice.

At my previous job, I didn't have much to do. I mean, I wasn't so busy basically and I just tried applying for different jobs abroad in Japan as well. I think at that time the job descriptions of Yaraku had something like “looking for a developer with knowledge of languages other than English and Japanese.” It meant they, or at least Sakanishi-san (CEO), wanted to create a team of people from many different countries, which sounded interesting to me because the team was very diverse.


What is your first language and how many languages do you speak?

Um, it's kind of complicated, but I have Russian and Ukrainian. We speak both of them fluently, I mean inside of the family, we use Russian and then with my grandparents it's Ukrainian. And  the news and TVs are all in Ukrainian. We speak both interchangeably.

And I can  have conversations in English. I used to speak and understand some Italian because I used to live in Italy for one and a half years. And then I guess I can understand and speak some Japanese, I'm still learning though. Actually after this interview I'm going to have a Japanese lesson☺

How about programming languages?

I can't list you because there's so many! It's actually one of my hobbies to learn new languages, so I just learn one every couple of weeks.

—Ohh that's so cool! We didn’t even know there were so many coding languages, I have not even heard of Ruby until I heard your background story.

Well, Ruby is actually created by a Japanese person. For some reason it wasn't popular at all in Japan. So at first I actually tried to get a job in Ruby because I liked it. But there were very few companies that used the language. Recently it's maybe getting better.


What do you do in Yaraku?

I'm a team leader for one of the App teams and I do project management, ticket management, scheduling, estimations. And I also work on the actual tickets, but these days I do not very often.

My job is a mix of management tasks and development – frontend, backend and anything that has to be done. I do a bit of hiring as well.


You're one of the longest members here at Yaraku, but what has this place been for you so far?

Mmm, so, it’s the place where I can learn at my own pace, learn what I want to and improve myself, I guess. Because we're quite a small team and there are not so many seniors who can teach me everything I need to know, so I often have to learn by myself. And I like that actually, because I can choose what to do. I can change the process inside of the team, for example how we handle tickets, how we handle development. I can research, learn something, read some books and then try different things. I also get holiday support from Jonas (CTO) and Sakanishi-san. So the place gives me a flexible environment and a lot of freedom basically.

You mentioned learning programming languages is also one of your hobbies, but what point or what moment do you get attracted to or do you get excited about it?

When I get a pretty complicated problem that seems very hard to solve or understand. Then you think about it, try different things and then sometimes a solution just comes up when you're not working - like when you are just taking a shower or just after you wake up. That's what I like the most about programming. It's problem solving. It's like doing puzzles, you know.

—That sounds like a creative work.

Yeah, I think it is.  It’s creative. That's why I think anybody can do it. It's not like building bridges or doing surgeries as a doctor. Is not complicated. Anyone can do it.


How do you like Yaraku and your team to be in the future?

I think until now we were kind of…  it felt like we were still a startup, in very early stages. So we didn't have any rules for a very long time, we didn't have many procedures, and I feel like we're not so serious about everything. But it would be great if we would become like a proper, real tech company you know. Something like some company that's famous, for their great engineers for example, or famous for its great UI design or for great user experience.

But also I don't want to lose that kind of freedom like from the early startup days. So the mix of both would be great.


What do you think is the charm of Yaraku and YarakuZen?

Everyone is just so nice and friendly, basically☺

As for the product, it's very complicated because I think it depends on the person. But I think it's kind of rare to combine the simple UI where you can just copy and paste text with them and functionality like translation management systems. I think that's our unique point.


Can you recommend some Ukrainian food if we’re going to try it for the first time?

Borscht. It's very good and very easy to cook also. I haven’t  had them these days at all, but Ukrainians we eat them a lot. It's kind of like… maybe Misoshiru? (laughs) We just eat it every day basically.


Also “Varenyky” is very good, it's like Suigyoza, maybe. And the ones that I would recommend you to have are the ones with the cherry inside. It's sweet, and you put sour cream on top. It's very, very good.


Lastly, do you have any future plans?

Work-wise, I think I will continue what I am doing right now. In my personal life, I would like to do some farming, I guess. You know, I would like to get a small farm and grow some vegetables or that kind of stuff. Maybe buy a big house and start  gardening and things like that.