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Engineering & Product

Mohammad Kashem, Engineering Team Lead at Plexure

From dreaming of becoming an astronaut to falling in love with computer games, Mohammad Kashem, Team Lead at Plexure is pretty happy about the backup career option he found as an alternative to exploring space.

We caught up with Mohammad to learn more about what initially sparked his interest to pursue a career in tech, what his day-to-day role entails, some common misconceptions about the role of Team Lead, as well as some sage career advice he has picked up along the way. 

Thanks for sharing your story, Mohammad.

“I make apps for grown-ups!”

Firstly, how would you explain to a five-year-old what it is you do?

I make apps for grown-ups! This is not entirely true, but it helps conversation going with 5-year-olds and creates interest amongst them regarding technology behind apps.

And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?

My day-to-day activity is a mixed bag between:

  • enabling the team to continue with their current stream of work and assisting them where necessary
  • project management in terms of prioritising work and managing stakeholders
  • helping my team to grow and have satisfaction with their work, while focusing on deliverables
  • maintaining/creating our work backlog
  • a little bit of people management
  • a bit of coding
  • a lot of catch-ups 
     

What are some of the common misconceptions about working as an Engineering Team Lead?

A common misconception is that I manage a team of engineers. My role is to enable the team to self-manage, guide them for self-improvement and enable them to work on exciting technical challenges.

“Eventually, I learned you can play games on it and the rest is history.”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

As a kid, I always wanted to be an astronaut (I know it is very cliché and still want to). The next best thing that happened around the mid-90s was the introduction of personal computers. My uncle had one and he would write programs on an old DOS machine. Eventually, I learned you can play games on it and the rest is history.

“We would like people who can share their battle stories and collaboratively improve each other.”

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Plexure?

My career started off in the payment industry as a developer working in a payment provider and then a bank. I have acquired knowledge and had access to very niche payment-related technologies.

During this time, I have also gained skills for software development in commercial settings and was involved big projects where I got to use the latest tech stacks for API development.

Two factors led me to apply for my initial role as a software engineer here at Plexure, a similar tech stack and coupled with the fact Plexure operates in a high scale environment (100s billions of API calls annually).

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

Never settle, always keep moving and improving!

What are the core skills required to be good in your role?

As a team lead, empathy goes a long way in understanding individual capacity and needs. As mentioned Plexure operates in a high scale environment therefore understanding distributed computing, cloud computing and their nuances goes a long way.

As we are writing code a keen eye on writing optimized code is crucial for performance (enables consumers to have a better experience and saves platform cost) in a high load environment.

Lastly, as Plexure continues to grow and evolve, what are the key traits and characteristics of people that will be well placed to work there?

We need people of all walks who are interested in enabling our clients to engage with their consumers. As this industry evolves, naturally Plexure will need people who are open-minded which will enable them to tackle upcoming challenges. We would like people who can share their battle stories and collaboratively improve each other.

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