Tekno & Sains21 Desember 2018 15:01
How I Became Software Engineer at Kumparan, Student and Developer Circles Lead at 19.
Hi all, my name is Agastya Darma Laksana, and I’m an ordinary 20 years old dude with a passion for building things for the world. Currently, I am a full-time Software Engineer at kumparan.com — a leading digital media company in Indonesia.
In this blog post (story), I want to tell you about my experience being a Software Engineer at kumparan and a Facebook Developer Circles Lead whilst still being a full-time student at Brawijaya University.
So, a little bit of background — I graduated from high school in 2016. Fresh out of high school I had neither very great technical knowledge, nor a diverse set of skills. At the time, I was somewhat decent at NodeJS, Angular, and Ionic, but that was it. (I also used typescript before it was cool!)
During the final years of my high school life, I was invited to attend Brawijaya University. This made me happy, but also a little bit scared. For reference, at this point in my life I had only lived in one city all the way from my childhood til’ graduation.
Attending Brawijaya University meant that for the first time in my life, I had to live alone without my parents in a city 600 kilometer away from Bekasi. That all meant that I had to live an independent life, take care of my own responsibilities, and learn to survive in an unknown environment. Nevertheless, I accepted the invitation and moved to Malang to start my new university life.
Early University Life
The early days in university felt very hard. I only knew a handful of friends from my group during orientation day. I couldn’t really communicate with a lot of people. When I talked about engineering or technical stuff with my friends, a lot of them didn’t have that level of knowledge yet.
Resza Surya was the first person who introduced me to BCC — a computing community within my faculty. I quickly became friends with a lot of amazing people here. Through this, I became friends with Muhammad Ridho K. Pratama — a skilled iOS Developer that now works at Tokopedia, and Reno Putra Prawira who would later became my co-worker at kumparan. (Psst.. both of them are ex-Developer Circles Malang core team.)
Developer Circles from Facebook
Developer Circles (DevC) is a program designed by Facebook to create locally organized communities for developers. These communities are meant to educate and provide a forum for discussion and knowledge sharing around topics that are top-of-mind for developers in a particular market.
My first DevC event was when Bayu Aldi Yansyah came to my university to talk about NLP (Pssst.. he is now also my co-worker!). This was the first time that I realized that there were a lot of young and knowledgeable people like him, not only in Indonesia but in and around Malang in particular. After this event, I was inspired to always attend other DevC Events and have been fortunate to meet lots of cool people like Andi Nugroho Dirgantara, Reyhan Sofian Haqqi, and Rizki Romadhoni.
After some time becoming an active member at DevC Malang, I joined their internal team as a Crew. Being a Crew, made me more active in the community — I got the chance to meet lots of new and similar-minded people who drove me to increase my knowledge and skill base as a developer.
Developer Masterclass from Facebook
Developer Masterclass is a pilot program from Facebook in Indonesia. (If you are familiar with Android Kejar, then this is the equivalent workshop from Facebook)
Here was the first time that I met with Elisha Tan, Alice and Eric Nakagawa from Facebook. Developer Masterclass is filled with lots of awesome people from the industry. As the youngest person in the program, I felt blessed that Facebook gave me the opportunity to learn, teach, and share my knowledge back into my local circle.
Sadly, Developer Circles Malang will not host Developer Masterclass in 2018, because a change in the system that made our small city unqualified for hosting Developer Masterclass. But, we will keep making workshops for our circle's members so that they can be successful in tech too. Let’s hope for the best in 2019.
Becoming Developer Circles Lead
One fine day after a DevC Malang meetup Andi (DevC Malang Lead) asked me if I wanted to become a Developer Circles Lead in Malang. At the time, in my mind, I was thinking whether I should accept this opportunity or not. Because I was in only my late 18 then, I felt that I didn’t have the technical knowledge that could match Andi or Reyhan. I also wondered whether Elisha (Developer Circles Program Manager) would accept me — a mere student — to become a leader. However, I decided to go for it because I felt it would be a wasted opportunity otherwise. Even though I might fail, at least could tell myself that I tried!
After a few days, Elisha contacted me for an interview. During the interview, I gave my best answers to all her questions. However, after the interview I heard nothing back from Elisha. Just silence. A few days later, I still hadn’t heard back from her, and I heard from Andi that she was coming to Malang for our first Developer Masterclass Meetup.
At the time, I thought to myself that I had just gotten rejected from becoming the Developer Circles Lead. But to my surprise, after the Masterclass event was done, Elisha congratulated me for becoming Malang Developer Circles Lead, alongside Andi and Reyhan. She also bought me a lot of cool DevC Leads gear that made me happy 😂.
Becoming a Developer Circles Lead has been one of the highlights of my career. Because of that, I got to know a lot of amazing people in the industry that I wouldn’t have known just being a regular student. And looking back at the last 2 years, I never imagined that I would be a full-fledged Software Engineer at 19 years old, having met friends, college mates, and coworkers with similar passions.
Also, I now have a lot of friends overseas, and had a chance to meet a lot of interesting, brilliant people from all over the world. I feel blessed and thankful because Facebook has enabled me, a young small-town Indonesian college kid, to connect with people that I normally wouldn’t have opportunities to meet with. In this sense, Facebook has truly connected me to the world. The Developer Circles program is aligned with Facebook’s core mission to connect people and build meaningful communities. For instance, did you know there is a Developer Circles in Gaza, Palestine? And they are pretty amazing too!
This wonderful experience that Facebook Developer Circles has given me has also inspired me to utilize my experience and skill set to teach and empower others. Because I now realise how powerful a community can be to shape personal experiences, and giving back to the community is what just seems right.
Software Engineer at kumparan
Before my 20th birthday, I was contacted by Thomas Diong who asked me whether I would be interested in joining the company as a full-time Software Engineer. Thomas contacted me after Andhika Ventausa, Andi Nugroho Dirgantara, and Rizki Romadhoni vouched for me. At the time, I was still not quite sure if I was ready to make this big decision — and to juggle a full time job with full time studies.
But Thomas convinced me by pointing out that Bayu Aldi Yansyah was also still a student when he joined SaleStock for the first time as a Data Scientist (they both worked at SaleStock). And at kumparan he believed that (not having) a degree (yet) doesn’t really matter as long as you deliver.
The engineering team at kumparan is small but filled with a lot of good engineers that output high quality code. As the youngest engineer at kumparan, I am grateful for the opportunity that the company gives me.
In kumparan, I’ve learned, tinkered, and built a lot of amazing stuff. Currently, I am a front-end-engineer for the mobile app team. (If you love react or react-native and have a passion in building scalable apps, don’t forget to hit me up later… maybe I can refer you, hahaha).
By the way, our new mobile app is already launched 🚀. Do make sure to check it out. The app uses react-native with a shared UIKit that renders cross platform (web and react native ). We also use react-router in conjunction with react-navigation to simplify user navigation. We don’t use Redux anymore — instead we use Apollo.
Before migrating to Apollo and GraphQL, a lot of our Redux code is based around getting, merging, and mutating the data from our REST API. With Apollo and GraphQL, we have been able to simplify this process, leaving the majority of our Redux code to be unnecessary.
Fun fact: at the F8 2018, I meet him and our CMO, Andrias Ekoyuono, for the first time.
if you are interested to join kumparan please hit me up and send your cv to: email@example.com
The reason that I made this article is to empower other students or developers to keep learning and building impactful connections with other people, and to always share your knowledge back to the community. The tech world is really not as scary as it seems. If you have the will to learn and practice you will succeed. Hard-works always pays off. And one last thing is to always be grateful and don’t waste the opportunity given to you.
Below are 6 key point that help me to become who i am today.
- Joining Developer Communities. If there is a Developer Circles in your city, make sure to join them and gain the benefit 💪.
- Investing in skills that are in high demand.
- Read books. A lot of books!
- Attends talks, conferences, and meetups. When you’re there, take the time to actually talk to people, listen to their experiences and learn from them.
- Learn to Teach, and Teach to Learn.
- Build strong relationships with other developers.
Thats all from me, and see you later.
Talent is distributed equally. Opportunity is not. So don’t waste the opportunity given to you.
Written with ❤️ from Malang Thank you for Argi Harianto, that helps me proofread this article ❤️.