Mikayel Vardanyan (MS CIS ‘04) Promotes Armenia in the Tech World
Mikayel Vardanyan (MS CIS ‘04) is the chief product officer at PicsArt leading the product management team and continuously striving to make greater impact on Armenia. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, Vardanyan continued his education in the Master of Science in Computer and Information Science (MS CIS) program of the American University of Armenia (AUA).
“What I love most about AUA is the atmosphere and different approach to education. It’s totally unique. The culture of the University motivates and pushes you to learn and achieve more. I think one of the strongest sides of AUA is the fact that it provides not only technical, but also soft skills such as leadership, management and communication. This is somewhat absent in other institutions in Armenia,” notes Vardanyan recalling his study years.
Vardanyan highlights networking as one of the most rewarding experiences he had at AUA. He mentions that many of the friends he made at AUA have become life-long friends and colleagues with whom he has launched many startups and achieved immense success.
“The companies we built employ over 1,000 professionals. Most of our core team were students who grew into experts and are now leaders in their fields. Many of our employees have also ventured off to start their own successful startups. Putting Armenia on the map was a natural evolution as these companies grew internationally. Ten to fifteen years ago very few people were in the IT field in Armenia. Today we take pride that we were pioneers and helped advance the sector,” he says.
Advancing Armenia further is highly important for Vardanyan, as he keeps up with industry trends and helps other companies with his experience: “We’re trying to create a mix of different cultures by hiring people from abroad. It will help Armenian employees become culturally more diverse and gain new perspectives.”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.