Thanks for joining me today. Please tell us something about yourself.
I was eagerly waiting for this opportunity. I am very happy to be able to do this interview. I am Jobaer from Bangladesh and I have been a tech-enthusiast since childhood. I learned to code when I was 15 and in 2022, I launched my e-commerce website called tmpirates.com. Currently, I am enrolled in the Foundation Program at ITMO. After its completion, I will be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in software engineering on a full scholarship from the Russian government.
How did you get into programming?
I started building websites using tools like WordPress that don’t need a lot of coding. Later, to improve my web-designing skills, I started learning Ruby, CSS, and Java. Nowadays, I also develop software using Ruby and Google Developers Console and convert websites to apps.
Where did you get your training?
I had the interest to learn, but without proper training and guidance, I would never be where I am today. So, at the age of 14 or 15, I started enrolling in online classes to learn several programming languages. Some of these courses were very expensive, but investing in learning is always worth it.
Was it overwhelming to learn so many skills at once?
Sometimes, when the going got tough, I did feel overwhelmed and discouraged. At times, it took me days and even weeks to solve a difficult problem! But such tough challenges helped me sharpen my skills and become a better version of myself. But overall, I never had a lack of interest. I have always been very passionate about this subject, despite my shortcomings.
Tell us more about your startup.
In 2022, I decided to use my web design skills and launch a platform that would sell digital products like game tokens, OTT platform subscriptions, online education packs, and gift cards. At first, I launched it in collaboration with Daraz, an e-commerce giant in Bangladesh, but things didn’t work out well between us and I ended up running my startup independently.
At tmpirates.com, there is something for everyone. From tokens for PUBG, Fortnite, or CS:GO, to subscription packs for Disney+ and Hulu. For students, there are deals on premium subscriptions to Canva, Turnitin, ChatGPT, Duolingo, Skillshare, Grammarly, etc.
What is the story behind the name of your platform?
I am a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The word pirate somehow excites me. Also, in terms of SEO, using the word pirate in the title enhances the ranking of the website tremendously. So, that’s how tmpirates was named!
That is amazing! When did you first feel the wish to study abroad?
I always wanted to study in a foreign country. I like traveling and exploring new cultures. I had applied to many universities and even received acceptance letters from Italy, Finland, Turkey, and Brunei. All these countries were ready to offer me full scholarships, too. But when I discovered I had won the Russian Government Scholarship and an offer letter from ITMO, I rejected them all. Russia is the best country for higher education, and ITMO, a national research university, is well-known for its IT supremacy. Besides academics, ITMO’s incubators and innovation cells also appealed to me. Since I am an entrepreneur myself, I think being at ITMO will massively help me in the long run.
How did you do such detailed research about ITMO?
Once I passed the scholarship exam, I was asked to make a list of 6 universities on a priority basis. It was then that I started researching ITMO. I looked for information on their website, social media handles, and news portal. I found many useful posts and articles online that helped me understand the inner workings of ITMO. I got a glimpse of everything from the research in the labs to student experiences. All of this information helped me select ITMO as my first choice university.
What do you think about the classes here?
I am learning Russian in the Foundation Program and the experience has been very good so far. Our teachers are very friendly and considerate. They teach us in a very non-conventional way that includes lots of activities and games. We also have regular tests for self-assessment. I am very happy and satisfied with the education at ITMO.
How does it feel to be in St. Petersburg?
It is one of the most memorable moments of my life. I had waited to be in this beautiful city for so long. When I came here, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. I love making travel vlogs, and St. Petersburg is an absolute gem of a place for vloggers like me.
I am also proud to be an ITMO student! I have a lot of followers on social media who engage with my content regularly. But when I uploaded a picture of myself standing in front of ITMO, the reactions doubled. My followers also love ITMO a lot.
What are your hobbies besides traveling?
I am a vlogger. I love making videos. I also edit them myself and then post them to my social media accounts. Since I have experience in SEO and digital marketing, I use those skills to rank my videos higher in organic searches.
What software do you use for video editing?
I use Adobe products, like Premiere Pro and After Effects, as well as Filmora 12. For special effects, I use Camtasia.
Have you tried Russian food?
Not yet. I am a Bangladeshi who loves spicy food. So, for now, I am cooking my food at my dormitory. Recently, I have been to India where I bought a lot of spices, so for now, I am completely stocked.
Which dormitory are you living in?
I’m staying in the dormitory on Vyazemsky Lane.
Are you into sports?
Yes, I enjoy playing football. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to play football here yet. Once it starts snowing, it will become even more difficult to play. But I am eagerly waiting for the summer to play my favorite sport.
Which is your favorite team and who’s your favorite player?
Since childhood, I have been a big fan of the Brazilian national team. They have produced so many legends and their style of play is fantastic. Supporting Brazil during the World Cup is an exhilarating experience. However, my favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to combine my tech knowledge with my entrepreneurial experience. My dream is to launch a tech startup that will impact people globally. I believe that at ITMO, I will receive all the necessary training and help to achieve my dream.