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Randy Cahyana: Coding Sparks Joy
Randy joined Brankas in 2016 as the first team developer. He grew up in Bandung and chose to study computer science because he thought he wouldn’t be dealing with people too much - boy, was he wrong! Randy is a great example of how people who end up ‘first’ set out to do something they love. Randy shares his adventures starting out, the joy of coding, lessons learned, and what’s next at Brankas.
How did you find out about Brankas?
I was on a break after leaving my previous company and in the third month, I got an email from Ken Shaw at a GoJakarta event (a local Golang meetup in Jakarta). He was looking for a Go developer for his new company. I sent him my application immediately. I’ve been wanting to learn Go and thought that I could learn much from him as there were not many companies that used Go back then. I didn’t know much about the fintech ecosystem at that time but still decided to meet the Brankas founders, Ken and Todd, and joined shortly after.
To be honest, I didn’t think that I would work in fintech. I was pulled in by my interest in learning how Brankas as a technology company solves financial problems in Southeast Asia using modern technology.
Tell us more about your engineering roles and how it has changed.
When I first joined, we already had a MVP product to send money from various banks in a single app. One of my tasks was to rewrite the integration code for these banks using our internal engine that we built in-house. I got a chance to work directly with our CTO Ken and learned so much from his technical knowledge and thought process when solving problems. At that time, we built and rebuilt products from scratch until we got them right. We have hired so many great engineers since then and we are able to add more products and features faster.
My role has been evolving as the company has grown. We now have more people to fit in specific tasks. At the moment, my main responsibility is to help our clients build the next generation banking platform using our technology stack. Occasionally, I also work on our core products.
What was the first program you developed? Any dream project?
The first program I wrote was in middle school, I’m pretty sure it was a QBasic program but I don’t remember much about it. I wouldn’t say it’s a dream project, but it would be great to discover an aspect of my life that I can translate into a software program.
What keeps you going?
I joined because of the technology. I’m still impressed at how we approach tech challenges. What has made me stay this long are the people. It’s easy to get burnt out in the corporate world, and working with so many kind and empathetic people at Brankas makes it worthwhile. The foundation and the company culture is still the same as when I joined. Brankas is still a technology company that values doing things right.
What are some best practices at Brankas that can help other startups?
One thing that I really like at Brankas is how we do code reviews. It’s so transparent that we can learn from each other just by reading the discussion and comment threads. Of course now that we’re a larger team, it’s takes some time to follow and we’re now moving faster. Having a good code review step on a daily basis increases the quality of our codebase because more eyes can spot issues before going live. It’s also good for knowledge sharing.
Our product is still maturing and there is still a lot to improve and to work on. We can only grow as we have better relationships with other financial institutions and governments to promote Open Banking in Southeast Asia to enable financial inclusion.
Learnings so far?
Alone we can move faster, but at some point we need to have a solid team to build a better and long lasting product. Systems change a lot, but as long as the foundation is solid it won’t matter much. Most importantly, ego is one of the biggest obstacles in our job. Learn to communicate well and try not to judge people with a clouded mind.
What are your other interests?
Aside from writing code, I set aside time to discover more about myself and actively learn about stuff outside my skill set. I listen to music quite a lot and read books especially about life, philosophy, and memoirs. And manga!
I also find that journaling really helps to solve a lot of questions in my life. I wish I started that a long time ago. I don’t really plan long-term, I can’t even imagine what I will be doing tomorrow. What is important is doing my best in the present time.
Finally, any advice for aspiring developers?
Having good technical skills is an asset. You need to continuously find ways to keep advancing everyday. Sometimes our work as developers is quite repetitive, but there are so many ways to accomplish the tasks and it’s fun to learn about different things.
Don’t forget to take a step back to think about what you really want. Software Engineering is a broad field so try to find the area that’s more suitable and that will allow you to thrive.
Your job is not your identity. You are unique.
Are you interested in a career in fintech? Join the Brankas team
Brankas is bringing Open Banking to Southeast Asia. Our vision is to make modern financial services available to everyone.