How to become Chief Technology Officer after Skoltech.
Oleg Shipitko, 2017 MSc graduate | Evocargo LLC, Chief Technology Officer
Meet Oleg Shipitko, Skoltech MSc graduate and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Evocargo LLC. For the last 5 years, he has been leading a company that develops all-electric autonomous cargo vehicles. Read about Oleg's journey, values that he applies in his work and advice to current and future students of Skoltech in this story.
the journey to Skoltech
Before joining Skoltech I studied electronics and control systems at Bauman University. I was a member of an international student organization called BEST (Board of European Students of Technology). Several members of BEST, friends of mine, joined Skoltech a year before me. From them, I got to know how cool Skoltech was. At the time it was the best opportunity to get a completely different study experience. Skoltech was just evolving, but already offered a lot more than a traditional university: international environment, highly motivated students and professors, focus on innovation, tons of hands-on experience, and many more. So I didn't hesitate to apply.

The admission process shocked me from the very first minute. It was a completely different admission process from everything I used to know. It took me the whole year to study English (I didn't know it at all at the time) and to pass the TOEFL exam. Then there was Selection Weekend. At the interview, we were asked questions starting from how much fuel we will need to have to reach Mars, ending by prototyping an electronic system on a breadboard within 30 minutes, and all that within a team of applicants who see each other for the first time. It was insane in a good sense. On the very first day of Selection Weekend, I made several good friends with whom we spend together two awesome years in Skoltech.

Space and Engineering Systems Program
This program combines study of the general principles of complex engineering system construction with participation in satellite, drone and robotic systems-building projects. The program is also aimed to provide the fundamental skills in data analysis for the development of complex system applications fostering the synergies and interdependencies between engineering, industry and space science (satellite imagery and communications, satellite navigation, remote sensing and in-situ data of space weather). Learn more.
career path
Just before my graduation, another Skoltech student Alexey Mastov (great thanks to him) introduced me to the Vision systems laboratory at IITP RAS. There was a team working on a "Matreshka" - an electric autonomous bus. I joined the team as a developer and got into Ph.D. in visual localization for autonomous vehicles at IITP. We successfully accomplished the project - built a working prototype able to navigate autonomously - and realized that it is too early for people to use transportation with an autonomous vehicle because neither technology nor legal aspects were ready. We switched to logistics, built several cargo vehicle prototypes, performed several big technology demos, and finally got an investment.

By that time I was leading a team of developers and researchers. Currently, I am a CTO of Evocargo LLC. We are building all-electric autonomous cargo vehicles from scratch and delivering a logistic service on their basis.

typical day of a Chief Technology Officer
My typical day looks like a ton of meetings, strategic planning, interviews with potential team members, and so on. Luckily I still participate in system development, but mostly on a system and strategic level. Our company grew from 8 to 80 people within a year and we are still growing quite fast.

Apart from being in charge of the system development, my primary job is to build an outperforming team of engineers where everyone is happy with their place and tasks they are working on. It is the most challenging part of the job. Together with all team members, we are constantly looking for better formats of team meetings, planning, and communication to improve the overall performance and make the work environment more friendly and transparent.
applying what I learned at Skoltech to current work
For me, the system engineering approach is the most valuable thing I've learned in Skoltech. Designing a complex system with many links between subsystems is a complex task that needs a particular approach to make everything right and in time. The team projects experience is also a very valuable thing since I learned a lot about working with people, team dynamics, and so on. This is something I use on daily basis. And of course, "hard" skills in math, robotics, modeling are also something I learned in Skoltech which I apply to design autonomous cars nowadays.
advice to new students
The most important thing you could do studying at Skoltech is to broaden your outlook. Both in terms of people, by meeting fellows from other science and engineering filed, being genuinely interested in what they do and how they do, and knowledge by studying completely unexpected things, trying approaches from different fields to your own, and discovering boundaries between areas. Even though you are supposed to focus on your studies, Skoltech is a great time and a great place to experiment a lot.

and now about Skoltech
We are Skoltech – a new international English-speaking STEM university that was founded by the group of world-renowned scientists in 2011 in Moscow, Russia. In just 8 years, we united dozens of researchers and globally renowned professors, built a stunning campus, set up world-class labs and made it to the top 100 young universities in the Nature Index. Read more >>
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