Meet the Chronosphere team: Mary Fesenko, software engineer

on July 12th 2021

Every Chronospherian is unique and someone to be celebrated. From engineering superstar to finance whiz to HR hero, our company would not be where we are today without contribution from every employee. We are also a remote-first company and we’re growing fast, which means most of us – including members of the same team – likely have not met in person yet. (Our head of people writes about Chronosphere’s remote-first approach to hiring here and our co-founder and CEO, Martin Mao, tells our origin story here).

It’s time to introduce the team to the world, and also to each other given our far-flung locations. Our new “meet the Chronosphere team” series puts the spotlight on an assortment of team members, starting with Mary Fesenko, who is a software engineer working on Chronosphere’s infrastructure team.

 

Mary is originally from Ukraine, but most recently lived in Denmark before relocating to Lithuania where Chronosphere’s EU hub is. We recently spent a few minutes with Mary, chatting about what brought her to Chronosphere, what she’s passionate about, and other colorful topics. 

We’ve highlighted most of our exchange below, but we encourage you to scroll down and watch the video of our chat in order to get to know Mary’s story a little better.

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What do you do at Chronosphere?  

My official job title is member of the technical staff – I’m a software engineer and I work on the infrastructure team right now. We build tooling for other engineers in the company to automate a lot of processes. Like, for example, for setting up new environments or making the deployment process easier for other engineers. At Uber, I was also on the infrastructure team, so that was my first dive into infrastructure work, and I found it really interesting. The thing I like is that engineers – your colleagues – are your customers. So I think it’s really easy to get into a mindset and understand what they want, and communication with them goes much easier.

What did you do before coming to Chronosphere?

At the end of 2019, my partner and I decided that we wanted to take some time off [Mary was working for Uber at the time] and we also wanted to try to move somewhere else – we wanted to try a warmer place. So we decided to take half a year, or maybe a year, off to travel in Asia and eventually get remote jobs. The end of 2019 was one of the worst times to do that. We traveled for a couple of months and then the pandemic started. After that, we got stuck in different countries because I could only go back to Ukraine and he could only go back to Denmark, so we were apart for quite a bit and just waiting it out. Eventually, I figured that was the best time to look for a new job because everybody was interviewing remotely.

What were some of the reasons you decided to come to Chronosphere? 

I was looking for a job where I could eventually work remotely. I didn’t mind starting out working in the office, but I wanted the remote option because I still want to travel when the world opens up. I also wanted an interesting and challenging project and I quite liked working with Golang at Uber (for about a year and a half). So I wanted to continue investing in that. Prior to Uber, I worked a lot with Java, and so I could have considered switching back to Java just because it seemed like there were more options to choose from at the time. I interviewed with four or five companies at the same time, so that was fun and stressful, but I’m really glad that I did because I could compare what kinds of projects are out there and what kind of vibe the team gives me. Chronosphere seemed like the best and most interesting option for me as a result. 

What are you working on right now that you’re excited about?

I work on our deployment tooling that is being used by other software engineers in our company. This tooling automates the process of rolling out different services into production. An engineer can start a deployment with one command and our tooling makes sure that it’s rolled out across all environments, in a specific order, and that it’s done safely. If something fails during the deployment, it either automatically rolls back or asks the user to make a decision.

What is the most interesting technical challenge Chronosphere is solving?

I think that all teams at Chronosphere are working on quite interesting technical challenges, so it’s not that easy to choose just one. M3DB is a great piece of technology that was battle-tested at scale, but there are a lot of opportunities to make it even more efficient. Combining metrics with other sources of data like tracing and figuring out the best way to present it to the users is an interesting area as well. My team is mostly focused on solving the problem of operating all Chronosphere components at scale. The challenge of managing a lot of different environments efficiently is very interesting in my opinion.

What’s a fun fact about you that nobody would guess?

It depends on how long you’ve known me. If you’ve met me in the last ten years, you probably wouldn’t guess that I was really into roller skating. I did slalom on roller skates and I was really into competition, and I used to carry roller skates everywhere with me. So if you knew me before that, you wouldn’t be surprised because you would see them attached to me all the time. Lately, I feel like that is more of a surprise. 

If you were an animal, what would you be?

I think that’s an impossible question for me to answer because I really love animals and I get *obsessed with a new animal, like every month.

What’s your current animal obsession? 

I guess giraffes – they are really beautiful and they’re really amazing creatures. (*Mary is an amateur photographer with a 500 pixels account where she shares her photos. She says has a passion for animals, and during her 2019 travels in Asia, she would camp out at outdoor cafes for hours taking photos of monkeys.)

Who is someone you have considered a role model and how have they helped guide you in your life or career? 

I’ve always seen my parents as my role models. They’re both doctors and really dedicated to their professions. I grew up watching them – they loved their jobs and sharing knowledge and getting better all the time and learning new things. They obviously expected me to follow in their footsteps when I was a child. But when it came time for me to choose an education, and I told them that I didn’t want to be in medicine, they were really supportive and took me to a lot of universities to explore other opportunities. 

What’s a quote you reflect on, you mention to people a lot, or that motivates you?

I think it goes something like, “If you don’t like where you are, move – you’re not a tree.” At some point I read that and it really, really motivated me because I was not happy in the place where I was in life. And I was like, yeah, I can do anything – if I don’t like it here, I should just change it.

Stay tuned for more profiles on Chronospherians and check out our open roles here.

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