November 9, 2021

Partners@CS101: Meet the Software Engineer from Chronosphere team, Mary Fesenko


We are proud to partner with some of the world’s most innovative technology companies to ensure that CS101 provides learners with the skills necessary to succeed in the digital economy. Our Partners@CS101 series will uncover bright, professional talents with various backgrounds and expertise. Whether you are exploring potential career pathways, curious about the evolving tech world or just need some advice - hear from these experts!

This week we’d like to introduce to you: Chronosphere. Situated remotely with hubs in New York City, Seattle, and Vilnius, Lithuania, Chronosphere is the only SaaS monitoring solution built for cloud-native, providing deep insights into every layer of your stack. 

Meet Mary Fesenko, a software engineer on the Chronosphere Infrastructure Team. Mary is originally from Ukraine, but most recently lived in Denmark before relocating to Lithuania where Chronosphere’s EU hub is. Today we’ll discover a little more about her Chronospherian journey, what she’s passionate about, and other colourful topics.

Tell me about your role at Chronosphere. What do you do?

I’m a software engineer and I work on the infrastructure team at Chronosphere. 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 their mindset and understand what they want, and communication with them also goes much easier.

What were some of the reasons you decided to come 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.

​​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. I worked a lot with Java prior to Uber, so I was also considering switching back to Java just because it seemed like there were more job opportunities to choose from at the time. I ended up interviewing with five companies at the same time. That was fun and stressful, but I’m really glad that I did it 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 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 and building flexible and easy-to-use tools for other engineers at the company. The challenge of managing a lot of different environments efficiently is very interesting in my opinion.

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. In the last couple of weeks, we have been focusing on building UI for our deployment system and I find it quite exciting. 

What made you choose your career?

I’ve always seen my parents as my role models. They’re both doctors and really passionate about their profession. I grew up watching their love for their field of work. Thanks to them I discovered the importance of constantly learning new things and sharing the knowledge with others. They obviously expected me to follow in their footsteps when I was a child. When it came time for me to choose an education, I told them that I didn’t want to be in medicine. They were really supportive about it and took me to a lot of universities to explore other opportunities. 

I have always been interested in learning new languages, so I seriously considered choosing English as my major and becoming a translator. In high school I had an amazing math teacher, she’s the main reason I started considering applying for something more tech-related. In the end, I liked the atmosphere in the computer engineering department of my future university the most and decided to apply there.

What’s the best career advice or quote you’ve ever received that motivates you?

The first quote that comes to my mind goes something like, “If you don’t like where you are, move – you’re not a tree.” The first time I read it, it 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 can just change it.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to upskill or re-skill in Computer Science?

If you would like to learn more about computer science - then don’t hesitate and just give it a try. There are so many great learning opportunities online these days, CS101 being one of them. One thing that I like a lot about computer science - there are so many diverse and exciting areas to try, there’s something for everyone. I think it’s very important to get a good solid foundation and a good high-level overview of what’s out there, so later you can continue the journey of learning new skills that you personally find the most exciting.

What impact do you expect programs like CS101 to make in closing the skills gap?

CS101 can be impactful because it helps people learn the fundamentals of computer science and acquire practical programming skills. While studying computer engineering at the university I found it quite fascinating to discover how the programming code you write turns into actual things you can see on the screen. 

Computer science skills are in demand among employers and this demand keeps on growing every day. You can use the knowledge acquired in this program to kick-start your career in tech or to complement your existing skill set. 

What positive impact do you expect programs like CS101 to have on learners from traditional technical backgrounds (i.e., a degree in computer science)?

If you are coming from a traditional technical background, then you probably already know how rapidly everything is changing in this field and that the learning process never ends. Because new technologies and areas of work emerge constantly, a lot of the technologies become obsolete. Apart from technical knowledge these courses also focus on developing other valuable skills like working and solving problems together, as well as giving and receiving feedback.

What is an example outcome a learner could expect from completing the CS101 program? (new job, continuing studies, etc)

Great question! Upon completion of the program, learners will gain a solid foundation in computer science and skills that will be transferable and valuable across various industries. One thing that I like about this program is the focus on learning good programming practices and learning how to write high-quality code. Learning how to write your first “hello world” program or build a simple website on your own is easy, but figuring out how to properly design and build something more complicated is much more difficult.

Looking to learn more about the world of Computer Science and CS101? Download our Course Syllabus below for a preview: