By Vladimir Vasiliev
Alexander Lukashenko began his tour of the High-Tech Park by viewing the construction site. Although dozens of programmers are currently working in the HTP office building in 1 Kuprevich Street, the President was very strict in analysing the construction of new HTP buildings. The interests of investors, customers and a whole range of state authorities are involved, making the issue a very complicated one, but the President urges that the site be complete by January 1st, 2014. It will be a challenge, but HTP General Director Valery Tsepkalo is confident that construction will be finished by the stipulated date.
The most important part of the visit was the Belarusian President’s personal acquaintance with the ‘creative laboratory’ and those who are currently promoting the IT industry in the country. It was interesting to see the advanced programmers’ behaviour: friendly, yet not ingratiating, free and relaxed while being respectful. All are clever, competent and serious. I couldn’t help but think of them as ‘engineers of the future’, having recently seen them as cheerful students at the Belarusian State University’s neighbouring departments. I was pleased to see their serious professional growth. The President’s fondness for these young and creative programmers was apparent; many already have an excellent reputation in professional circles.
The Head of State was primarily interested in the technical aspects of their creative activity, but also showed eagerness to learn more about their personal lives and prospects. The dialogue was interesting and we may assume that Mr. Lukashenko was satisfied with his conversations with the programmers. These are the people who will determine the trends of our economy and our country’s reputation in the dynamically developing world of IT technologies. The Park is like an incubator, ever expanding its successful role in training qualified and advanced specialists.
Mr. Lukashenko spent time chatting with the heads of HTP resident companies, listening to their concerns, as well as their wishes and suggestions. The Chairman of EPAM Systems’ Board of Directors, Arkady Dobkin, noted that he is more concerned about people than buildings, since it’s not easy to find a qualified programmer. “We currently have 200 vacancies in our company,” he complained. Mr. Tsepkalo noted that this is a system-wide problem, since our universities continue to train many economists, lawyers and accountants, although engineering programmers are more in demand. Isn’t it time we master the spirit of the time? Belarus’ First Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Semashko, explained that the Education Ministry is likely to increase the number of places for technical specialities next year. Mr. Lukashenko believes this to be a sensible move and promised, “We’ll increase the number of people trained for the HTP, to meet your needs.” He assured the HTP residents that the state will continue creating favourable conditions for IT business in future.
The MT’s reference:
Last year, HTP residents developed $110m of software for export, with $94.4m developed in the first nine months of this year.