The life of a programmer is a never-ending cycle of learning new technologies and figuring out how to implement them.Benedict Karma, A Zeevou Programmer.
Technology, computers and software make the wheel of the modern world go round, but for every piece of smart software, there’s a programmer and often programming teams. They are typically busy solving problems with intelligent codes, working out security solutions, and running major development projects behind the scenes.
Programmers’ Day is celebrated on the 256th day of every year – selected because 256 is the number of distinct values that can be represented with a byte, a matter well known to programmers. It is also the highest power of two which is less than 365. So, let’s pay homage to these digital pioneers on Programmers’ Day!
Life as a programmer is intertwined with a lot of hard work and long hours, but it can be incredibly rewarding to the right person. If you’re thinking about getting into the game yourself or simply curious to know what life as a Zeevou programmer is like, our special interview with Ben gives you a glimpse into his life and endeavours. Keep reading!
First, let us know how long you have been with Zeevou.
“Well, I started off at Zeevou as a developer in June 2017. Zeevou was a startup back then, offering an application that would run as a property manager for only one host, with an overriding ambition to keep it running for several hosts. In other words, I’ve been with Zeevou from day one.”
How do you describe your role at Zeevou, Ben?
“I’d like to call myself a developer rather than a programmer, and that is for a good reason. Everything we do, from developing the initial idea and turning it into the final product delivered to the customers, is carried out by an entire team, the development team here at Zeevou. Therefore, the term “Developer” accords quite well with the action.”
Tell us a bit about the things a Zeevou Programmer does at work.
“What we’re mainly responsible for as developers is to take the initial original idea, develop it with a computer program and produce the desired output. Well, first and foremost, it’s the analyst who comes up with the idea; the analysts carry out research on the competitors to see if other applications operate such an idea. If the competitors already do so, the analysts explore the ongoing feature’s function, advantages and disadvantages. If the idea is all brand new, we need to check and see how we can develop the idea in the first place. After all, the developer has to take care of the rest of the high road a new feature takes; it’s thinking about how to turn the idea into a program, coming about a plan and starting to code. Then the backend developers build the mechanisms of the potential feature based on the design provided by the designers. Afterwards, the content and backend developers do the coding and produce the feature.”
What big projects are you currently working on? Walk us a bit through the development team!
“One of the major projects we’ve been working on lately is improving the program speed because we had serious issues with the running speed, hurting us both at the functionality and practicality wings of the program. We’ve worked it out in two phases: First, we fixed our data bugs, the ones curbing the speed of the program. Second, we took an even more important step which excited us all: the deployment of our servers; that’s where we migrated our mobile app architecture from a single compute engine to Kubernetes. Now with this migration, we can have the servers updated with zero downtime, and we will not worry about the updates anymore, as we have to update the servers daily due to the developing nature of our system. Although this might not be something that our users use as a feature, this highly-anticipated project has been essential and exciting both for us and the customers.”
Are there other words you’d like to share with us on other new works or features?
“Yeah, sure! The other project we’re working on is related to App.Zeevou.com, where we are migrating the entire zeevou to the new app with the new design, a better UI and a greater user experience. We’ve completed the procedure up to 30% – 40% and hope we can migrate it up to about 90% by the end of 2022. This is a big thing for us. As we speak, all the development teams at Zeevou are working on this project to make it happen sooner.”
What are some of the significant challenges working as a Programmer?
“I guess we may not be able to generalise certain challenges for every developer since they can vary from one to another according to their work type, whether they work on short-term projects, etc. Also, the challenges users encounter are not directly related to the developers; they don’t communicate directly. However, Zeevou offers a platform where developers can directly connect with hosts and customers. One of the challenges we face can be put out as follows: we develop some features based on what we have in mind and the method we’ve selected; then, after we run it and our customers use it, we find out that it was not what the users needed and that they had expected another functionality. This is one of our biggest challenges. That’s why we’ve always attempted to get in touch with hosts before coding, developing or anywhere in the middle of the process. That’s why the user surveys and on-boardings matter a lot, enabling us to see what users expect from the system or would love to see on the system. Another challenge is to help the system put in advanced performance in a minimal design. Let me put it this way, offering a highly advanced feature that the user can use easily. We don’t want our users to fail in working with the system because they feel it’s complicated to use. That’s why we consider improving the user experience more than before in our work.”
What do you love most about what you do?
“I’ve always wanted to be a developer, this is what I’ve loved to be for a very long time in my life, and I don’t know where it actually came from! Developing has been my favourite job, which is really important to me; that’s why I guess I’ve made some progress in my career. Just to dig deeper into the notion, what I love about this job is that you can never fully claim that you know everything about it because computer science and IT are the kinds of disciplines that develop daily. Thereby, we are obliged to update ourselves daily and learn new technologies. Even though it makes it difficult and challenging, it’s really exciting.”
Besides all the difficulties, how rewarding do you find your job?
“Well, It’s exciting; it never gets boring. I’ve worked with Zeevou for five years, and it has never got boring. A day in the life of a developer is always an adventure. Some people hate the constant flux and change, but to a developer, it’s just another day at the office. I may not be able to say that every day has been different from the day before, but no two months in a row have been quite the same. The same truth applies to writing new features, using new technologies, implementing new techniques and learning in this journey. You know, I had to learn many of the above outside the company because the knowledge comes from the outside. You know, it’s not always created within the system. This is what I love about it, and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
How does your job as a developer fulfil bigger goals, in your opinion? What are some values you have that have helped the lives of users?
“I remember when I was studying and thinking of pursuing a job as a developer, I would always think about how I can help peoples’ lives as a developer. Would I become a developer who helps people, or would I just become a developer at its very default meaning, following the same profit-based route most businesses follow these days. At least I was pondering if I ever wrote a program, I wanted it to be helpful to people so I could earn that kind of non-material profit as well from helping people. Zeevou has set such values as well, considering how beneficial the features can be for the user, since there have been times that the features don’t turn out to be that practical or handy for users. On the other hand, the features that turn out to be users’ favourites and we see they are happy using them are really important for us and bring content to our minds and hearts. I can’t say we’ve always made users’ convenience our first priority when writing features, but we produce features intending to meet the users’ needs and make their lives and careers more convenient. We’ve aimed to meet their needs, not to create needs. That’s why I’ve found zeevou growing much aligned with my personal and career values.”
How do you define success in your role, and how do you achieve it?
“You know you’re notching up success when you see users and customers satisfied with your product. Working with technology, knowledge and science is considered another success; learning new techniques and knowing the programming languages and technologies are all counted as a success for me. Furthermore, writing an entire feature by one person is a huge success, too; that’s why I always approach and wish those developers who produce their first feature on their own a stroke of good luck. That encourages them and makes us happy because it’s a huge success.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever received from Zeevou users?
“Earlier on, we made more direct interaction with users. I remember making a very close and friendly relationship with one of our users who would come to me and open up about their problems. That was an interesting experience; we actually went deep into each other’s personal lives. They were always kind to me and expressed gratitude towards me if I’d solved any of their issues, which has been marked as a salient value to me.”
Tell us a surprising or fun fact about your work as a Programmer!
“When I looked at the programming job from the outside, I thought I would be coding and sticking to the keyboard for eight daily working hours. However, in reality, I code and work on a keyboard ⅛ or less than the former in a day. I spend more time and focus on thinking about how to implement ideas or reading several documents. Well, I found that both surprising and interesting to myself.”
Are there any interesting memories you’d like to share with us during your working experience with Zeevou?
“Actually, I have a perfect one to share. As far as I remember, we wanted to shift from Beta by the 21st of March 2020, and we were meant to have the actual release the day after. The entire last week of this project went tough. We had too much to bear, and it was excessive to endure because we had to deliver several features and release them by the deadline; I remember working up until 8 pm on the 20th of March, texted Albus saying that I was dying and I’m over it and can’t work any more :)) and then it was the moment where Na’im texted and told us that our first customer has registered and that was such an amazing moment of my career. It was terrific.”
How do you feel about your teamwork with the Zeevou development team over the years?
“Well, most of my friendships have been built on the zeevou development team; many of my friends’ circles are comprised of my colleagues. Two of my best friends were actually here. Teamwork makes us a family, so when someone leaves the company, it gives us sad feelings. For instance, one of our team members left to work somewhere else two weeks ago, and the final daily meeting, which was kind of a goodbye meeting, went very strange and unhappy. I had never thought that we would get so emotional over our bonds at work and could build such strong emotions and relationships inside the company. We always feel very close inside the development team, but that’s just the same environment you can get inside other teams at Zeevou; we all try hard for each other’s progress and success, and we help each other and grow a bond like a family.”
This interview is a tribute to the hard work of the programmers who have made significant contributions in paving the way for major technological breakthroughs in the modern world.