Developer: an organism that turns coffee into code (Urban dictionary)
That’s the usual image of somebody who happens to be a software developer. But at Zomato, it’s not just about coffee, and it’s certainly not just about the code. There’s so much more to the overall experience of creating something, either with your team or on your own. If I were to break down the technicalities and go deeper to understand what exactly it is that I do at Zomato, it would be a happy reminder of all the reasons why I love what I do for a living.
I joined Zomato in May of 2016 as a developer in the iOS platform team. This being my first job out of college, things seemed rather daunting at first. After an initial learning curve in working with skill, determination and agility, and a few humbling experiences, the pace started to pick up.
I quickly realised that in order to prove myself, I had to push myself harder than I ever had before. Hence I started tackling just about every problem that came my way with a violent fervour, to own it and see it through without any hiccups along the way. The consequences of this paradigm shift in attitude affected not only how much I got done everyday, but also allowed me to really put my best foot forward and help others around me.
One such instance was when I had the opportunity to build a highly critical component of the tech infrastructure, which required a zero error rate. I was determined to make it not only absolutely bulletproof, but also easy to use for the rest of the team. Thanks to the learnings I had amassed alongside the guidance I always had, I was able to do this successfully. After completing such a challenging task, and seeing tremendous results both on the product side and within the team, I saw how my focused efforts were reciprocated in the most fulfilling fashion. Not only was this an incredible experience but more importantly, it showed me just how much you get back when you go the extra mile and create a real, tangible impact across the board.
The same is true when others step in to help you.
For instance, we were in the midst of a focused sprint to revamp the iOS app, with all the developers huddled in a common space and getting work done, one feature at a time. Suddenly we hit a roadblock. The performance of our home page was lacking and far from optimal due to certain components not playing well with each other on top of a complex layout. We were at an impasse, so to speak, but we were determined to deliver and get it done.
At this juncture, Gaman, the iOS team lead, and I went back to the glass wall (yes, there are glass walls and not white boards!), broke down the system to its bare bones and spent the better part of the next two days drawing and conceptualising possible solutions, use-cases and much-needed optimisations. We were throwing ideas back and forth, no matter how ludicrous they sounded, while at the same time validating the correctness of a proposed solution by playing out every use case possible.
After what seemed to be an endless struggle, we managed to re-engineer the entire home page with an absolutely flawless implementation. We shipped the new version with this implementation, and were really proud of what we’d achieved. Working together and solving complex problems with a team of amazingly talented people and having synergy running throughout the process made this easily one of the best moments of my time at Z.
In conclusion, having people depending on you and trusting your decisions right from the get-go, while having the chance to work with a diverse set of gifted and like-minded people, really makes Z stand out from the rest. It’s a place where you are given the reins and expected to make the right choices.