Engineers’ Day: How Razorpay is disrupting the fintech space with engineers at its core
Each year on September 15, India commemorates Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya’s birth anniversary as Engineers’ Day. But apart from some tweets and messages around engineers reminiscing their college days, this day is more or less like any other. But not at Razorpay.
Taking off from the likes of Google CodeJam and Facebook Hacker Cup, on September 15, almost all 300 engineers at Razorpay spent two intense hours coding, solving algorithm problem statements, coming up with solutions to fix performance issues, and more.
This gave Razorpay’s robust engineering team a platform to explore their skills in problem solving, implementing functions, and optimising solutions for problems based in the real world. A three-member team comprising software engineers - Ranjith Kotian, Janmejaya Das and Prem Kumar won this high-energy coding competition.
Recalling some of the challenging problem statements, Ranjith said his team had fun optimising the flow for a shuttle service that must reach multiple locations.
“It was a fun two hours where all engineers came together and we could learn from one another. A coding contest like this especially in these times gives you the opportunity to know how the others in your team are thinking.”
Challenging potential employees
Apart from getting its engineers to put on their thinking caps, another key objective of this coding contest was to aid in hiring. As part of the contest, each team was given 12 problem statements to solve. These problems were then used for hiring in interviews, and while hosting public hiring contests, said Raju Shetty, Head of Engineering at Razorpay.
“Engineers have the knack of implementing solutions or APIs. They like to solve challenges, and in the current scenario, where everyone is working from home, contests like these help people collaborate, participate and think out-of-the-box,” said Amit Mahbubani, Staff Engineer at Razorpay.
Disrupting fintech with engineers at the core
Engineers have always been at the core of the company. “Our engineers and product managers work together to understand how technology problems can be solved, craft features and build path-breaking solutions accordingly,” said Raju.
And this is one of the key reasons why Razorpay is disrupting the way finances are operated. “This is an amazing opportunity for engineers to discover problems and build solutions and contribute to product development. The culture here at Razorpay is very accommodative, encouraging our engineers to experiment, and try out of the box approaches which helps us differentiate from competitors. We were the first to give native OTPs, instant funds, a UPI recurring product and more,” Raju added.
Amit Mahbubani, Staff Engineer at Razorpay feels that while hackathons bring about innovation, coding contests really bring out the competitive side of engineers. “It helps us work on algorithms we learnt in college and it impacts our work as engineers daily. We are a tech-first company and our engineers are involved in every aspect of building our products. We are focussed on long-term innovation and a prime example of this is that, in 2017-18 we were among the first companies in India to have deployed Kubernetes in production.”
Adding to this, Ranjith quipped that after college and interview rounds, engineers don't experience such intense coding competitions.“Currently we have to deal with a lot of traffic and some of our products have to solve for a multitude of requests in just one second, and we want to optimise this further. Coding competitions help us prepare for challenges like these.”