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(Photo by Masha Morgunova '22.)

1,500 applied, but this Earlhamite got the job

March 19, 2019

Giorgi Kharshiladze ’19 won’t have to cut his teeth in an entry-level job or slowly climb the so-called corporate ladder to earn his dream job out of college.

He already has it.

The Computer Science major has been hired by Viagogo’s New York City office as a Full Stack Website Developer, a lucrative position typically reserved for computer programmers later in their careers.

“I’ll be working in their main office on 7th Avenue near Central Park,” Kharshiladze says of the fast-growing company that supports a network of more than 60 online ticket resale websites with customers spanning 160 countries.

“The position is very attractive to me because it doesn’t cover a specific aspect of web development,” he says. “It’s a combination of everything I’ve learned so far, from the front end to the back end, with databases. The creativity is an essential part of this position as I won’t be assigned with the task, but I will be the one who creates it.”

Kharshiladze was clearly attractive to them, too. Out of 1,500 applicants, the Earlhamite was offered the position after undergoing several rounds of interviews, which included a timed take-home assignment and a live demonstration that was monitored closely by one of the company’s software engineers.

“The process was very challenging but my background prepared me extraordinarily well for the interview,” he says. “It feels good to accomplish this goal of mine.”

Eurasia to Earlham

Kharshiladze grew up in Georgia, a small country located at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Unlike many high schools in the United States, his curriculum emphasized mathematics and physics more than other core subject areas.

“I discovered computer science early on,” he says. “By the age of 15 I had enough technical knowledge where I was pretty comfortable working with common coding languages like Java and C++,” he says. “Before long, I could build a basic full-stack website. I also enjoyed participating in hackathons. I was usually amongst the youngest in the competitions.”

His passion for computer science followed him to Earlham, an institution that came highly recommended by his cousin, Erekle Tsamalashvili ’17.

“Earlham has a great reputation but he was a big reason why I came here,” Kharshiladze says. ”Erekle was the first Georgian to enroll at Earlham and was already in his sophomore year when I applied. The opportunities that he told me about made me want to come. He was a huge help in my college search.”

After arriving at Earlham, Kharshiladze was encouraged to build a professional network of his peers in computer science. Among those vital connections was Vitalli Stadnyk ’18, a close friend who will soon become a colleague, too.

“Vitalli was another huge help and recommended me to apply for this job,” he says. “Vitalli was the first Earlhamite who got hired at Viagogo and already had a good reputation with the company. His reference made my application stronger.

From practical experience to theoretical knowledge

In his introductory Computer Science courses at Earlham, Kharshiladze developed new skills in computer coding, including the use of Python, a more sophisticated computer programming language than he had previously learned.

As a member of the Computer Science WebDev Applied Group, he used those new skills and deepened his knowledge in full-stack development. He would later accept a position as a web developer in Earlham’s Marketing and Communications Office, gaining new opportunities to contribute to a variety of professional web-related initiatives.

“I already had a lot of practical experience from back home,” he says. “But at Earlham I got more theoretical knowledge. This made my previous knowledge stronger and more fundamental.”

During the last two summers he was hired as an intern with GRASS, a company in his native Georgia, and LIS Remodeling in Los Angeles, an experience that was fully funded by Earlham’s EPIC Advantage initiative. Both experiences strengthened the skills and work experience sections of his resume.

But it may have been the 400-level Networks and Networking class in the fall semester of his senior year that may have given him the ultimate edge over the 1,500 applicants pursuing his future occupation.

“For the final project in CS 410 we had to build an application that would allow people to have a conversation without internet access,” he says. “This neatly written, well-documented, and nice looking full-stack web application really impressed Viagogo’s software engineers.

“I did not spend too much time thinking about accepting the job offer. I think it is a wonderful opportunity for my profession growth. I am grateful for everything that Earlham gave me and excited to start a new chapter in my life.”

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. We rank 7th nationally by Princeton Review for Best Classroom Experience and 22nd by U.S. News and World Report for commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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