About Me

Welcome, I am

Ilya Nevolin

A Lead Software Engineer, originally from Belgium but located wherever opportunity takes me in this world.


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Here I provide a unique glimpse into my work and life as an engineer, colleague, friend and human being.

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The INTJ personality type, according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is characterised by introversion, intuition, thinking, and judging preferences. INTJs are often visionary strategists, known for their analytical thinking, independent nature, and knack for devising innovative solutions to complex problems.


As a child of an immigrant, my childhood was not easy, but I found comfort in sports, martial arts and technology. My fascination with tech began early, as I enjoyed taking apart toys to understand them. When I first encountered computers and technology at the age of six, I knew it was what I wanted to specialise in.


I used to be a smart kid, but I lacked motivation until I turned 14 and found inspiration to change my academic path. From then on, I excelled in school, consistently ranking at the top until I graduated high school. Despite pressure from my surroundings to pursue a career in accounting or IT, I aimed higher and pursued engineering at university, where I thrived and succeeded.

Early career

For university I had to relocate to campus and manage my own finances. Through lots of luck and hard work, I discovered avenues to earn income through freelance work, a year later I started developing and selling several software products. Managing these responsibilities alongside my engineering studies was a significant sacrifice and challenge - but it was a blessing in disguise.

Exits and shovels

When there's a gold rush, sell shovels. After graduating university I was figuring out what to do next. I managed to broker a small exit for my software business, and few months later hopped on the crypto hype-train to build a analytics SaaS with AI/ML. Six months later I realised this business was not within my scope of interests, so I sought out a buyer and brokered my 2nd exit.

entrepreneur to intrapreneur

Maybe I should get a job and learn new things? It was hard because junior positions were uninteresting and paying about the same as I had earned myself. But a unique opportunity presented itself at a Fortune 500 tech company, where I was put in charge of refactoring & enhancing complex scientific software. Earning way more money for helping companies be more productive and cost efficient, wow!

Covid & Codr

After a productive and rewarding time at Keysight Technologies, I was given the opportunity to relocate to the US, but I wanted to switch industries. Shortly after COVID-19 started and my job search led nowhere. So I started working on several projects including an EdTech App to teach coding skills. The app has +2k sign ups and +100k solved challenges, yet I'm still looking for a buyer.


The lockdown was a blessing in disguise for remote tech talent. Companies like Shell and BP were launching incubators and hiring top engineering talent worldwide. I was selected to join BP ventures program to develop and help with the legwork of a project.


During my time at BP, I was contacted to lead a spin-off business for a NYC based company. Spurwing was a Scheduling API as a Service, to take away the complexity and avoid reinventing the wheel for companies who needed custom scheduling solutions. Unfortunately we did not reach any product-market fit.


Around the year 2020 digital asset exchanges were coming under pressure to comply with banking regulations. This led to an opportunity for a new SWIFT-like business, where I joined as an early stage senior software engineer and rapidly progressed to lead one of the product engineering teams. We went from processing 0 to +$4bn/mo in less than two years.


Inspired by the market growth of digital assets, which went from 0 to +$3tn in about a decade's time. I started researching challenges in decarbonisation and sustainability, which led me to think about different financing models. Thanks to C3 I have been learning a tremendous amount about emissions, industrial processes, hard-to-abate sectors, economics, policies and regulations. As well as connect with industry leaders, attend seminars and conferences.


Ghent University

I went from studying accounting & ICT in high-school straight to a university engineering program, which is quite unorthodox. It took a lot of hard work, effort and perseverance, but I was determined to succeed. I learned a lot of interesting subjects ranging from physics and advanced mathematics to material science and chemistry. I majored in applied computer science, my thesis was on low-level software security. I completed my master's Cum Laude, and received PhD opportunities in CyberSec and AI research, which I passed.


When it comes to technology and computers, I am mostly self-taught. I was always years ahead of the curve when it came to building software. Academia helped fill the theoretical gaps in my knowledge of systems. Thanks to the internet and platforms such as YouTube and Google anyone can master a skill and make a career out of it. I believe learning is very important, on many aspects in life, and all it takes is effort.


I see programming languages as tools, like bricks and shovels. They are tools for solving problems, each has its pros and cons. Under the hood, all of them are mere CPU instructions. The art and expertise is in knowing which one to use and when, how to maintain, secure, organize & structure code, scale, optimize, orchestrate and observe execution - and minimise costs.


I have experienced different development processes, various perspectives and frameworks. There is no golden bullet, ultimately each team operates best by figuring out what works for them. It is never a good idea to be religious about systems. Each team has its unique dynamics, thus processes should be agile themselves to maximise output and creativity.


Culture can either make or break a company. It's the one secret recipe that cannot be bought. Creating that special bond among people, that allows them to feel important, safe and valued is the key to team success. It also means nurturing that culture, because what isn't growing is diminishing. A happier team outperforms a more talented one long-term.


Learning and growth comes from helping others grow. I've had many opportunities to mentor and help people in their studies, work and life - and this is a very important pillar. The best gift you can give someone is your attention and knowledge.



Since I could walk I loved sports. At the age of 5 I started Taekwondo, which I loved and strived to be the best at, until I got my black belt at the age of 13. My personal interest shifted towards parkour and freerunning, it was the new cool thing. So until the age of 18 I spent most of my free time training, calisthenics and learning tricks. These days I occasionally do workouts, go bouldering, hiking and skiing when possible.


I read a lot and have an interesting book collection. My favourite topics are biographies, philosophy, business, psychology and science. Although these days most of my reading is online media. However one book I'm currently reading and studying is General Relativity: The Theoretical Minimum by Leonard Susskind. I've had creative periods resulting in a collection of abstract art works. I love music and learned to play the piano a little bit, perhaps that's one I should focus on more.


Thank you.