Much of the work that goes into building the core components of our SACCO management platform happens behind the scenes. At Kwara, building the backend systems that power our SACCO digital banking platform, scaling highly distributed systems, and continuously improving our engineering practices while impacting the way the Cooperatives experience going digital —is largely the role of the software engineer.
Meet Edward Karanja, Software Engineer of Kwara. He's a musician, environmentalist and a dad. His personal experiences in Customer Experiences and having worked in teams ranging from Alpha Sights to Andela influenced his career trajectory. We sat down with him to hear the full story.
Chilled, reserved and curious
I learnt how to empathise with customers to tailor solutions that address their needs by:
Which in hindsight is what we live and breathe as our Kwara Value:
I have always had a passion for technology and problem-solving. I felt that I would be in a better place building the solutions than using the solutions built to solve problems. I’d be able to combine my two passions; tech and problem-solving.
It started out of curiosity about how a computer can take user input and give some response to the user. I then realized the unlimited possibilities to build solutions there are in software development.
I’m a backend developer which means I work on the technology that users don’t get to see. I work on our digital banking platform APIs needed to power the components of the user-facing SACCO portal by coding and maintaining them up, integrating with third-party solutions and ensuring 99.99% Uptime commitment for our SACCO customers.
Working at a startup is great since the culture is not very corporate. Everyone knows everyone regardless of the department which makes collaboration very easy and smooth. The best part is the ability to have your ideas heard and tested/implemented without too much bureaucracy. The tough part is that sometimes the work gets overwhelming being that the team is small but on the flip side, it helps build resilience.
I get to work. Spend about 30 minutes looking at my schedule for the day and responding to messages.
Start work, coding.
Stand up then resume work.
When possible I spend some time pair-programming with a teammate from Nairobi or Berlin.
I spend about an hour and a half trying to learn something new or researching a topic that might have been on my mind. I then try to finish any pending work or doing some open-source work.
I close down for the day.
That’s an ideally typical day but in reality, no two days are the same.
The team. Everyone is passionate about the work we do and has bought into the vision which makes every day a joy to come to work.
We are building a secure, simple and affordable SACCO software solution that touches the lives of millions of people that have been for a long time ignored or forgotten in the financial sector and truly transforming their lives.
There are many features in the product roadmap that I can’t wait to get into the users’ hands but you’ll have to wait to see them.