Theory meets practice: Andrey Terekhov speaks at the American Chamber of Commerce

Lanit-Tercom CEO Andrey Terekhov participated in a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce’s IT committee in St. Petersburg. The topic was how the IT industry can work with universities, and Professor Terekhov was asked to discuss the company’s successful partnership with St. Petersburg University. His speech was entitled “Additional ‘Industrial’ Education for IT Students.”

The company has a long history of working with St. Petersburg University’s Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty. Professor Terekhov, the founder and CEO at Lanit-Tercom, is also the university’s Chair of Software Engineering. He is convinced that St. Petersburg University’s strong track record of turning out excellent programmers can be traced back to a flexible foundation in mathematics, international standards that are applied and followed, and a close relationship with the IT industry.

Theory meets practice

Each year the faculty awards 50 bachelor’s degrees, 10 master’s degrees, and 10 post-graduate degrees, which creates a demand for practical, content-rich subject matter for thesis work. Fifteen years ago the faculty began working with IT companies willing to offer tutors and thesis material. With time, those student projects became a defining feature of Lanit-Tercom. Each year the company offers students work on actual IT projects, with the company’s employees serving as their mentors and managers. Students enjoy their first practical experience fully immersed in a work environment that includes all the usual technical requirements, planning, weekly reporting, QA, and more. That gives their theoretical knowledge legs, teaches them how to work as part of a team, and lets them learn on the job.

The companies (Lanit-Tercom is only one of a group that includes many other Russian and foreign software developers: Digital Design, JetBrains, EMC, the Macro Group, and others) benefit as well: they can use the students to dive into new research, develop new technology, and explore ideas company employees have. Of course, they also have their pick of the students when it comes time to hand out job offers.

Professor Terekhov considers partnerships between universities and IT companies to be mutually beneficial and promising for the future, and would like to see more companies involved. The St. Petersburg University Software Engineering Department is open to collaboration and joint research into new areas like robotics, big data and machine learning, mobile apps, technology used to design hard crystals (chips), and so on.

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