Instructor Story: Checking in with CSE’s David Kocharov
Dr. David Kocharov joined the Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) in 2016 as adjunct lecturer teaching Software Project Management. Having worked for governments and international organizations in over 40 countries, Dr. Kocharov has extensive experience and expertise in program management, public finance and budgeting, social protection, and disaster management.
What has influenced your choice of profession?
Back in 2000, when I was entering university, the IT profession was not as popular as it is now, at least in Armenia. I chose to study Mathematics and Computer Science as I felt we, Armenians, have a competitive advantage in the field, derived from a strong background in fundamental sciences and an advanced engineering mindset. That proved to be the right decision. I value that my university education has taught me how to think, rather than what to think. Progressively advancing in my chosen field, I earned a PhD in Computer Systems Design Automation.
What brought you here to AUA? Tell us about your experience as a member of the AUA faculty.
CSE Dean Aram Hajian did! I had known him for a while, when one day he asked whether I would be interested in joining the SPM [Software Project Management] course as an associate. I willingly agreed. I thought it would be a good experience to try myself in teaching. Although as part of my corporate job, I had been conducting many training and capacity building activities, they were often intermittent and very specialized. AUA has given me the opportunity to share with students the experience I have gained locally and internationally, working in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
What do you think of today’s Armenian youth, judging from what you see at AUA?
I am jealous. 15 years ago when I was attending university, we had very little opportunity to hear from experienced specialists and speakers from the industry. Also, the Internet was not as developed and the professional literature was not as easily accessible. Importantly, nowadays many students are able to combine study and real work at IT firms, which is absolutely great. I do believe that our future is in good hands.
What does a professor at AUA dream about?
I would be happy to see the AUA become a leading education hub not only in Armenia, but also in the wider region one day. For myself as a professor, it would be very interesting to contribute to such cross-border exchanges of students and researchers with neighboring countries. Currently, I participate as an expert in the EU Horizon 2020 project called ResponDrone, which is a collaborative effort between the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment and institutes from many European countries, including Germany, Netherlands, France, Greece, Israel. We also could expand our cooperation with the American Universities in the Middle East, such as those in Beirut, Cairo, Baghdad, Sulaimani, and Sharjah.