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Interview with Yakov Werde: Career Advice from the Developer’s Developer


Yakov Werde is one of the newest members of the SAP Powerbuilder MVP community. A 25-year IT industry veteran, Yakov is a member of TeamSybase and the Sybase Customer Evangelist Team. Yakov is a recognized author, speaker and trainer who has been designing and delivering PowerBuilder, .NET, EaServer, Web App Development, and Java training for over 14 years to corporate, military and government developers. I had a chance to have a conversation with him and get to know him better. Regarded as a developer’s developer, he reflected on his career as a developer and gave a preview of his role as a SAP MVP.  Here’s the link to the interview audio clip.  If you prefer to read, below are the details of my interview.


Interviewer: Nancy Uy @nancy_uy (Nancy)

Interviewee: Yakov Werde @eLearnPB (Yakov)

Interview Audio Clip:

Yakov:  My name is Yakov Werde.  I am the managing partner of eLearnIT, a PowerBuilder training and application consultant company that is based in the Northeast US. I am also a SAP MVP, Sybase MVP, a member of Team Sybase and a training and application consultant for PowerSoft corporation, the company that gave us the PowerBuilder platform and built the ecosystem around it that fostered its growth into the successful widespread technology it is today.

Nancy:  You wear many hats. You have your own company with eLearnit. You are a newly-minted SAP MVP and one of the PowerBuilder gurus in the nation.

Yakov:  Thanks for recognizing that. Yes, I think community is very important in a developer’s life especially nowadays when community support is a big part of our professional activities. Think for a second Nancy. When we need a technical tip, where do you look? Google. We type in the questions and the answer is given to us by the community.  So supporting and being part of the community are really important to me and my career.

Nancy:  I am sure they are a big part of your success. Tell us -how did you start your career?

Yakov:  Well, I walked into it actually. When I was a kid, I was studying electronic engineering in high school. They had a computer in high school. Please note that this is going back to the day of push cards. I took my first FORTRAN class and just kept on going.  Then off to college. I coded on the Univac, then I was working. In the ’80s, I walked into IBM, got put on the ROM-BIOS development team for the IBM PC 386 and the gal next to me was writing NetBIOS. I was part of the team in Boca Raton, FL where the union between networking and microcomputing was born. 

Nancy:  It’s funny you said you just “walked right into” your career. What was the best decision you made in your career?

Yakov:  I have always considered myself a small fish in a very big ocean. And I want to make sure that I am floating with the most important current. You know you can only take a certain number of battles in life, so you have to choose wisely. So typically I look for technologies that are going to be well established and deeply integrated into the organization. I then launch myself into mastering the technology to provide value to myself and my customers.  And hopefully I have made the right choice.

Nancy:  Yakov – you’ve been called a developer’s developer.  What is the top challenge that developers face nowadays?  What advice do you have for them?

Yakov:  Nothing is certain in life but change itself.  We’re in a world that changes very rapidly. The technological platforms are moving and evolving quickly. It’s difficult to make choices as to what to do next. As a developer, I recommend keeping one eye on the present and one eye on the future. Master what you are right now but always be looking out what the great next thing you think is going to be. Learn about it as much as possible so that you are ready to keep yourself relevant as the world around you will surely change.

Nancy:  That’s a great statement for many situations. How did you manage the change?  What did you do to make the change work for you?

Yakov:  I have been positioned in my career that I have never been too cushy and comfortable within a large organization. I was never fortunate enough to be able to do one thing repetitively for a long period of time.  So I have always been self-employed or engaged in a consultative role.  Typically in this role you have to be providing the next best information for the organization. I am a voracious reader.  I continually scan technical journals, the web and textbooks to be able to get as much info about how things relate to my profession as I possibly can.

Nancy:  Yakov, thank you for openly sharing your thoughts. It’s clear you do have a pulse on the developer’s community. As a final question, what would be your message to the broader SAP community as a SAP MVP for PowerBuilder?

Yakov:  In my view, SAP acquired Sybase for a couple of key reasons -mobility and data. Powerbuilder as a tool for building client applications came along for the ride. Lo and behold, Powerbuilder has tens of thousands of developers who have been building applications with it. You can connect to the SAP universe from PowerBuilder. So the message to the SAP world is you now have this great tool in your barn, which you can use to build applications against SAP infrastructure and leverage it. No doubt somebody in your immediate universe know how to use PowerBuilder, code with it professionally and can help you rapidly accomplish your goals.

Nancy:  I can see that in your role as a SAP MVP that this going to be a major theme.

Yakov:  Thank you Nancy. I enjoy very much talking with you.

Nancy:  Thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing you go around as a SAP MVP.


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      Author's profile photo Alexander Sperling
      Alexander Sperling

      Nice interview. Although I didn't start my carrer in the ages of pushcards I can relate to many of the statements.

      Master what you are right now but always be looking out what the great next thing you think is going to be.

      So true ...