Today we're chatting with Shreyas, our second youngest software engineer!
Tell me about yourself, Shreyas:
Hey, I’m Shreyas, 24 years old, and I joined Logward in April 2019 as a software engineer. I’ve lived in Bangalore for my entire life, including during my studies at the M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology. After graduating in 2017, my first step into working life started with Moonfrog Labs, a gaming startup, which was already bigger than Logward is today. That’s where I met Hari Krishna, who was my first mentor at Moonfrog and still is today at Logward. I stayed there for approximately one and a half years full of learning. However, I left to join Logward.
We'll come back to you, but since you mentioned him being a mentor, what Hari has taught you? What sticks to your mind?
I guess the main point is that being strict doesn’t represent the only way to lead. He somehow manages to motivate you to learn and develop personally without feeling pressured.
What exactly do you do at Logward?
Basically, I solve technical issues and demands as a software engineer. In the back-end function I worked for examples at the “My Quotes” section and also the invoicing process. The invoicing feature is probably one of my favorite projects so far as we built it from scratch and includes a number of components such as OCR (Optical Character Recognition), human intelligence, finance knowledge, and more.
Generally, I work on improving the quality of our software every day. Apart from coding to achieve these things I also try to learn as much as possible in interesting fields such as domain knowledge or leadership.
You’ve worked in a couple of different companies and with a lot of colleagues from university whom are working in different companies in India and elsewhere. What do you think makes working at Logward special?
I guess none of them had quite as great of opportunities as I had. Because Moonfrog meant a mountain of learning, especially because it was a startup. The same is true for Logward. I guess this depicts the major difference. I learn by or while working instead of doing a master’s degree like many of my friends are right now.
I'm working with an amazing team and there are challenges which I don’t know how to solve yet. In the end that’s what I really love: solving problems.
What’s the best and what’s the worst part of your work at Logward?
The best part is that I get to do more than just solving tech-tasks every day. For example, I help do interviews for recruiting new team members.
As for a negative, I can’t say that something really bothers me. In case there would be something, I would simply address and try to solve it. Anyway, sometimes doing things quick and flawless is very challenging and sometimes processes go too fast.
What does it take to be a good software engineer?
I guess being smart is not the main thing, but it is definitely mandatory. If there are like ten ways to solve an issue, you need to identify the best way of those possible solutions considering a variety of factors. That means you also need to understand the intricacies of the problem and the requirements and the context in which you're working. Obviously, you need to show a certain tech-affinity and enjoy trying to think through complexity with structured logic.
To take a step back, how did you end up becoming an engineer? I think I followed a bit of the Indian stereotypes. Basically, everyone wants to become either a doctor or a computer engineer. Initially, my parents and I wanted me to become a doctor but as I got closer to studying I realized it would be very expensive. Hence, I switched to engineering, the second-best option.
During my studies I was very good from the beginning, yet still not a nerd like Hari claims. Once I joined engineering and explored computer science, I progressively realized that this is something which truly fits my personality. It is a place where you can use all of your abilities and basically do whatever you want to such as creating a mobile game or a software as a service.
If you were 16 again, would you choose the same way? Yes, definitely.
What’s the difference between the gaming and logistics industry?
For me personally the biggest aspect is the pace. Gaming is a business for individual customers and here at Logward we do business to business software. Also, the load is something that matters. At Moonfrog we used to work very late. I remember coming home at four or five am every single day for at least half a year when we worked on a new game. Fortunately, that is not how it usually works here...
In terms of functionality, I don’t see a lot of difference. I mean, at Logward we try to solve 90% of the problems, because we know that we simply cannot control the other 10%. If a storm breaks out in the middle of the transportation and delays the shipment, there is basically nothing we can do other than to inform the customer. As opposed to the gaming industry, where I have everything under my control. I can basically fix every single thing or bug. So, there is nothing I would say I could not fix. When it is “my” game, the whole world and all scenarios are based on my programming.
Do you feel a different kind of pressure when it comes to keeping the customer happy either way?
There were more use cases to be considered at Moonfrog, because what we build was mainly free to play games. The assumptions are different. In gaming you expect the customer to not know anything about the game. It is way different in the logistics sector, where we face domain experts and only provide the software as a service. This raises their expectations.
Shreyas feeling the pressure of having two interviewers...
A lot of people in the logistics industry are skeptical or even concerned that digital solutions may affect their job in the future by eliminating the need for certain roles. Are you ever worried about the increasing application of machine learning and AI and how it could affect software engineering.
I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon. Even if it would, we as human have the advantage to learn machine learning. This is not something I couldn’t learn. Hence, this is not really scary for me.
Really? Take for example programs that can auto complete code. Doesn’t that actually mean that the value of higher end thinking in engineering is somewhat degraded and that you can have people who really don’t know how to code become engineers?
But then you still need someone to have those machine learning models under control. What we do is to solve problems. The computer language might change, but there will still be smart humans needed behind the software.
Away from the AI, 15 years from now, where do you want to be?
Career wise I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t know exactly what is left for me yet. My aim is to learn as much as possible, both technically and socially. I have realized that technical things are easy to learn, but there are a lot of other things that are more complex. This probably means more working on the social management component. Anyway, I want to get in a situation where I can play the entire game and take impactful decisions.
Contemplating the future of human beings
Why do you get up every day? Because there is a bug or problem I didn’t finish resolving the night before.
Going back to the beginning of our conversation...If you were a mentor to a young engineer, what advice would you give?
I would tell him to not just try fix the problem, but to fix the cause of the problem.
What about general life advice?
Talk less and only when necessary. I always thought that I talk not that much until I’ve been told the opposite.
Would you rather fight against a duck in the size of a horse or against 100 horses in the size of ducks? Against 100 horses. Due to my size I can’t compete with huge animals. If I came to visit you, what dish would you cook?
Popcorn. Honestly, I can’t cook. Therefore, I could only offer you my favorite snack.
Vacation or new computer monitor? Vacation Fruit or vegetables? Fruit Cook or order? Order
Call or text? Text
Android or IOS? Android
Logward is a Hamburg & Bangalore based logistics company.
We build software, move containers, and change mindsets.
If you have any questions or just want to say hi, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can visit us at www.logward.com.