Much of the work that goes into linking together the world of design and technology of our SACCO management platform happens behind the scenes. At Kwara, creating the environment for everything that SACCO users see, click, and touch on our digital banking platform for SACCOs while driving efficiency, speed, and smooth functionality —is largely the role of the software engineer.
Meet Anthony Ioimo, Software Engineer of Kwara. He's an alumnus of the Stanford, a mathematician, yogi, and enthusiastic problem solver. His personal experiences in Operations influenced his career trajectory. We sat down with him to hear the full story.
I imagine it depends on who you ask. I take myself for a curious, detail-oriented, and somewhat nerdy person. I value honesty and I tend to think results speak for themselves.
My path to software engineering was not a straight line. I studied Mathematics at Stanford and this was, how should I say, very hard. I have never been more challenged than in these classes. I was impressed by the theoretical beauty of this topic, but truth be told, I longed for something a bit more tangible. Computer science and software development felt much more constructive: you could build things! In retrospect, I might have changed directions right then and there, but the way it happened, it took me a few more years before I decided to change course and retrain as a developer. Otherwise, at Stanford, I can say I had a lot of fun, met many ambitious and talented people, and it was the embarkation of a lifelong journey that I am still on today.
I loved the problem-solving aspect of operations, and learned an unbelievable amount in my previous role, including a lot of soft skills I would be woefully lacking otherwise (ha). A lot of my responsibilities were to help streamline the business processes and thinking through the details of how the business would accomplish its goals. In coming up with solutions, I worked closely with a team of devs who would actualize these plans. Although I liked what I was doing, I couldn’t help but wish I was the one who could be programming these tools. It looked fun and rewarding to me, and I was inspired to pursue it.
It was a budding interest many years in the making. As a kid, one of my friends and I would program simple games using Visual Basic. I loved it! It felt creative and the possibilities endless. Later I took the intro to Computer Science course at Stanford and was just amazed at the power of programming. That class barely scratched the surface, but it was enough to plant the seed that this is something that I wanted to do.
I had a very good impression of Kwara during the hiring process and when I got my offer I was very excited to join.
There are lots of aspects to the role. We are equal parts builders, maintainers, and (sometimes) designers. Of course, developing (programming) new features is our primary task, on another level we are responsible for reasoning through the logic of the app and making sure it is consistent. That is what attracts me to the role so much.
The best part is that we all have a voice in the decision-making process; because we are still a relatively small team, our structure isn’t too compartmentalized. I like being involved in the design process and product discussions. That said, sometimes I miss more structure that might come from a longer-established organisation.
One of our goals is to make the SACCO onboarding process more smooth, and lately, we have been developing an automated test that verifies all the configurations are correct. What once might have taken hours and a lot of nerves can soon be done automatically in a few minutes or less. This kind of direct performance boost is very exciting to me.
What an impossible question! I think in another life I would have been a dancer.
I love learning new things and challenging myself. I am grateful that my work rarely seems boring.
If the current trend continues I see Kwara becoming the obvious choice for many more SACCOs in Kenya, and possibly even abroad.