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Building an international startup in Yokohama: stories from 3 engineers

Hi everyone!

This is Corrine from the PR team. Today I have invited three of our young engineers, Hayato, Damian, and Mamun, to discuss the working environment at Evolany from an engineer's point of view. Hopefully this will provide insights for fresh engineers who have just joined the IT industry, or those who might be looking for a job.

Before we get started, I'd like to briefly introduce the participants.

Hayato (right in main image)

Hayato comes from New Zealand, and spent several years teaching English in Japan before deciding to pursue a career in engineering. He began his journey by attending a programming bootcamp, and worked as a teaching assistant there before being offered a job at Evolany in December 2020. He works as a full-stack developer and is currently working on Evolany's native app with Damian. On the weekend he likes to play board games and hang out with friends.

Damian (left in main image)

Damian has a similar background to Hayato. Originally from Australia, Damian joined Evolany in March 2021. He is currently a full stack developer working on Evolany's native app. Before working at Evolany, he used to work as an English/Science teacher in Japan but decided to take up programming to further expand his career. After training at an engineering bootcamp for several months, he is now part of an engineering team that supports cutting edge 'miniapp' technology. During his spare time he loves skateboarding with his friends at skateparks around Tokyo.

Mamun (middle in main image)

Joined Evolany just a few weeks ago, Mamun is a full stack engineer mainly working on the backend side of our miniapp service 'anybot'. Inspired by sci-fi movies as a child, Mamun decided to pursue a career in Computer Science and Engineering. He previously worked for a year in Bangladesh, after which he spent 1.5 years in a Japanese company before joining Evolany.

Being still fairly new to the IT industry (especially Damian and Hayato), why did you decide to join Evolany?

Damian: I decided to join Evolany because it was a great place to continue to learn and develop as an engineer while working on cool tech like miniapps in a bilingual environment. As a foreigner my Japanese isn't perfect so being able to work flexibly with other english-speakers was a must for me.

Hayato: Same goes for me.

Mamun: Previously, working in a Japanese company where all forms of communications were conducted in Japanese was very difficult for me. So naturally, when I was looking for a new job, English was very important. I also looked into startup companies because they would give me the opportunity to work in different fields and gain various work experience. I believed joining Evolany would help grow myself and my career even further.

I also just think that the product, the 'miniapp,' is impressive. I haven't seen any other company develop their own miniapps. They may have EC sites but it takes much more time and money to develop your own native app.

Hayato: Additionally, users are becoming more demanding of quick and easy-to-use technology. For example, when was the last time you used that izakaya app that you were forced to download to get a coupon? It just sits there in your phone. Basically, people these days are hesitant to download new apps, and miniapps have the potential to become the perfect solution.

(For those who want to learn about miniapps, we recently opened a media site where you can learn all about them! Feel free to check the link below.)

https://miniapps.jp/



Seems like an English working environment is a crucial aspect for all of you.

Hayato: Yes, most of our development team (9 members) are from foreign countries, and in fact, around 50% of the office is too. We also have 3 members in China who originally built the tech-stack from the ground-up and do a lot of the back-end work.

Damian: (Evolany is) definitely very non-Japanese friendly. Most people in the office can speak English.

Mamun: Yes, when compared to my previous job, my ability to catch up with work has definitely sped up.


And how has your engineering experience been at Evolany so far?

Hayato: It has definitely been full of challenges. I attended a bootcamp for six months but after starting to work at a company it felt like reality hit me. I understood the concepts of engineering but I definitely had to do in-depth learning of specific coding languages on my own.

Damian: Exactly. I've learnt and worked with 3 different coding languages in the past 3 months.

Hayato: I feel like Evolany really looks for people who are eager to learn.

Mamun: In fact, there's an engineer who came in recently with very minimal engineering experience but was offered the chance from the CEO himself to become a full-stack engineer in 3 months. Considering that Evolany is still a start-up and some engineers have trouble job-hunting, to be able to receive such an opportunity is amazing.

Damian: Yeah, there's lots of value in self-learning. Working here as a junior engineer we constantly have to be able to adapt to new languages and platforms; to learn on our own. But simultaneously, other experienced engineers are always willing to help you.



How would you explain the work environment in one phrase?

Mamun: I would say it's a "friendly environment for foreigners." As a person who has previously worked in a Japanese company with a completely different environment, it's something that I noticed right away.

Damian: For me it's "youthful and dynamic." The company itself is still very young but the people who work here are young as well, the average age could be below 30 if we calculated it, and you get to work with a variety of different tech.

Hayato: "A place that gives you space to grow personally and professionally." They give you many opportunities to learn and be included in different projects. But at the same time it's a relatively relaxed environment with flexible hours.

Mamun: Yeah, we always have BGM playing in the background. It's quite soothing.

Damian: The recent go-to is Hawaiian music. It makes me want to go bodysurfing.


Final question, what are your career aspirations for the future?

Hayato: I want to become a senior engineer. I hope to grow into a person that junior engineers can look up to. It may take a few years to achieve but I believe Evolany can provide that career opportunity for me.

Damian: I think I would be the same. I'm still a junior engineer and mainly in the 'learning' phase. I also want to gain enough experience to become a senior engineer. I think having your own team that you can guide and explain problems to sounds like an exciting prospect for the near future.

Mamun: For me, I'd like to become a software architect. A software architect is someone who does high-level design and strategic planning for new software products. They also do hardware planning, design methodology of code, and devising technical standards. There are many more responsibilities as a software architect but that's what I'm aiming for at the moment.

Thank you so much for your time today and looking forward to your further contributions as engineers!

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