Great inventions don’t happen overnight. They are made possible by enterprising individuals with innovative ideas. At BYJU’S, this translates into a culture of diversity and infusion, with people from different backgrounds and varied skills coming together to revolutionise the learning experience for students.
People who make BYJU’S – our brand new series on employee stories – spotlights these individuals and captures their stories of learning and growing with BYJU’S.
For Karthick Chinnathambi, Senior Software Engineer with the Android team at BYJU’S, the love affair with programming and technology began early. “I must have been in class 11 or 12 when I got hooked to computers and programming. During those days, seeing a computer itself was rad. It wasn’t so popular back then, and even the internet was quite slow, we were using a dial-up modem,” he says.
Karthick is referring to early 2004-2006. Those were the days before high-speed broadband or even Instagram and OTT platforms. Facebook was launched only in 2004, and it wasn’t until 2006 that Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, posted this – “Just setting up my twttr” – marking the first tweet ever. And it was almost a decade before either Android or Android developers had assumed a sought-after position in tech-driven career domains.
Karthick, who was finishing his matriculation around that time, was just intrigued by the possibilities of a career in technology. “I wanted to take it up seriously,” he recalls, “so I decided to pursue my B. Tech in Information Technology.” In 2010, he graduated from the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. By September, the same year, he had landed his first job as a software engineer.
The techie has since worked with two other prominent organisations, garnering valuable experience in Mobile Development, specifically in Android Application Development and Android-based SDKs for customers. With close to 10 years of experience in the domain, he currently plays a crucial role in the Android team at BYJU’S.
“Initially,” says Karthick, “I was tasked with a few new features implementation. With time, though, I have transitioned into a role that oversees many functions.” Karthick’s role has been particularly vital in the recent past. In the light of the pandemic-induced changes and resultant logistics-related challenges, these last few months have not only forced us to revisit our approach to technology but also the way we use it to make learning seamless for children.
“Because of the COVID-19 situation, we have had to re-strategize our offering for the students on our platform,” Karthick tells us. He adds he and his team have also been working on a myriad of new feature enhancements on Android, bug fixes, and reskinning of the app. These are functions that are vital for the smooth and seamless functioning of the BYJU’S learning platform. More so, in the context of the recent changes where our edtech tools and services have emerged as essential for learners across the world.
In this sense, by putting the ‘tech’ in edtech, Karthick essentially ensures that, for our students, learning remains uninterrupted.
As a programmer, the biggest satisfaction, perhaps, is to see the tech taking shape and witness how the end-result is received by the users. At BYJU’S, this means coding and creating products which directly impacts our users – the student community.
“Anything that I work on, I can see it in the market in a couple of weeks. BYJU’S is that kind of a product company,” says Karthick explaining, “anything that I code, ultimately helps children learn better, that’s what brings me satisfaction.”
He adds, “Also in BYJU’S, the product and the tech teams work in close collaboration. Whenever the product team comes up with a new feature, its development process involves everyone who is going to work on that feature. We together pour in ideas and from a pool of ideas, we take whatever is the best.”
This right-from-the-scratch collaboration, quips Karthick, eliminates hierarchical delays and complications. He says, “In other places, they come up with something, and that goes to managers… it’s not like that here in BYJU’S. Everyone gets involved here, and that’s one big plus about our tech team.”
Karthick, who comes with almost a decade’s experience in software development, in turn, brings valuable expertise to the table. Having worked with OTT-based apps before BYJU’S, he has a good understanding of video streaming technology, digital rights management, and Open Source Player libraries such as ExoPlayer.
While it is the love for all things tech that has driven Karthick through these 10-odd years of programming and creating high-end products, there is another thing that holds a soft spot in his heart. It is an unmistakable passion to learn, grow, and continue to evolve. He strongly feels that it is only when you tackle new challenges, work on innovative solutions, you can broaden your approach to problem-solving.
He says, “I have seen teams where once they develop a product, they don’t do much. But BYJU’S is doing everything end-to-end – right from generating the content to providing it to the learners, everything is managed within the company itself. And we constantly try to innovate and think about how we can better engage the students. When this constant thinking happens, you are exposed to newer challenges on a daily basis. And any new challenge will keep you excited.”
This also encourages a culture of knowledge sharing which is integral for personal growth. For every professional in the tech-driven community today, it is the only way forward to add new skills and expand one’s knowledge and expertise over a subject.
And it is particularly true for Karthick who’s coding to create an impact. The constant and self-motivated pursuit of new outcomes and possibilities is key to evolve. And to sustain.
After spending six years in newsrooms – of all shapes and sizes – Sutrishna is back to her one true love: storytelling. She strongly believes, stories have the power to inspire, encourage, and instill change. And if nothing else, bring people together through a sense of shared experiences. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Share a compelling story or just drop in a ‘hi’.
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