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The pivot that I needed in a company, that I didn’t expect

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Turning on the ignition

I love computers, I enjoy making computer programs. I also have an interest in technology in general. I decided to study electronics instead of computer science because unfortunately for me, I was too naive to think that studying electronics meant that I would  understand software. Although not actually wrong, but it wasn’t working for me. I did not do well studying  electronics, to the point of almost dropping out, but in the end I managed to graduate.

After graduation, my focus was to get a job and start to experience things. I didn’t really care about what kind of work I will be doing, so I worked on an interesting project for a short time before landing  a job at one of the biggest mining companies in Indonesia. Working for almost 2 years in this company, I got the “proper working experience” that I was looking for, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. Working in a big company, I came to realize that I didn’t make much of an impact. There were many times I thought to myself, “If I didn’t do anything the project will be perfectly fine”, and this is true, the company was cutting off more than a quarter of the employees while breaking production records. That was the moment I felt like I should be working on something that has impact, or at least something that I enjoy. I told myself that this was the right time to look for other opportunities and start doing something that I would really enjoy. So I decided to quit the mining job and learn programming (web development), a discipline that is in line with my love for computers.

Shifting gears

Shifting to programming wasn’t a smooth ride. There’s a huge knowledge and skill gap for me to fill. I decided to join a programming bootcamp to catch up with the latest basic skill for software developers. I spent more than 16 hours a day, 7 days a week studying web development for over 4 months in Hacktiv8. During this program, I realized that I still enjoy programming despite the enormous amount of programming challenges I faced everyday. This feeling gave some kind of assurance that I was on the right trajectory this time (and found product market fit). 

wahib-life-at-xendit

I finally graduated from the Hacktiv8 program in March 2018. I didn’t know much about tech industries in Indonesia at that time, but I was excited to start working as a software developer. I had several interviews within a week after my graduation, but Xendit immediately stood out to me. From all the companies I had interviewed with, I could feel Xendit’s genuine interest in me as a person, it’s like they’re trying to find out  if they could see me as a friend instead of an employee. Only after I joined did I learn that  this was how Xendit makes sure that the candidate has the right culture for the company. 

Putting the pedal to the metal

I was hired as an intern first at Xendit, which was actually  more like a one month probation. The first day I joined, I was overwhelmed by how fast people were working. People spoke quickly, meetings were efficient, no useless chit-chat, meetings started and ended on time. This first day experience had already given a very good impression to me, even today I still remember things that happened on my first day.  It didn’t stop there, I was more amazed when people stop working (during lunch or past work hours); Xendit people knew how to have fun,  and there was no pressure into joining these activities, you’re free not to join, but you just can’t resist because it’s so much fun spending time with Xendit people. At that point I knew that I belong with these people.

What was truly important to me during my first month is how Xendit was able to change how I think about work. In Xendit I learned how to prioritise on work that has a positive impact on customers, “build something that people want” or “solve for your customers” are the phrases I hear often.  I was no longer working for my superior/manager, but rather for my customer.  I also learned that being helpful in general, does bring positive energy to everyone in the company. Everyone is very helpful, to this day I’m still amazed how people would go far just to help me on some simple thing or just answering my questions.

With newly acquired knowledge and support from all the amazing people at Xendit,  I managed to ship a feature by the third week since I joined. Again, with Xendit, it didn’t stop there, I got to present the feature in the company’s “Demo Day” so that everyone in the company could know and appreciate what me and my team have been working for the past few weeks. To me, the end of my first sprint is like the end of the first race and reaching the finish line. Even though it was a small race, and the prize may not be big, this was something that validated the career pivot I made. I was quite happy with the result, and I am really grateful for being able to work in an awesome company with great people.

Beyond the finish line

I would say that beyond the finish line, there are more  finish lines. You definitely need practice more to win more difficult races. But as long as you love the race you’ll find a way to finish the race, and even win the championship. 

In this last part of my post, I would like to convey my gratitude to all the people in Xendit (or was in Xendit). Your support and company makes me love what I do, enjoy and win the races we compete in. I only wish all the best for us all.  Let’s win more races, and bring home the championship!

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