A software engineer at Cadana who wears many hats – from coding to comedy. With a unique blend of skills as a chef and a young dad, Uchenna has found his niche in the world of payments. From his beginnings in customer care, his journey into software engineering was driven by a desire to contribute meaningfully.
In this conversation, Uchenna discusses the vital traits of a successful remote software engineer, emphasizing ownership and effective communication as paramount in creating exceptional user experiences.
A brief introduction about yourself and what you do here at Cadana.
My name is Uchenna Alozie, a software engineer. Depending on who you ask, I am a comedian, a chef, and a young dad.
At Cadana, I wear many hats but my domain is payments. Any and all things concerning payment, I either built, contributed to, or I’m now in charge of. I am also responsible for the internal platform we use to make the experience of our users on the Cadana, wonderful.
Did you always want to work as a software engineer and what initially attracted you to this career path?
I started my career as a customer care representative even though I majored in Engineering. I had the desire to be a software engineer and that increased after working as a customer care representative. I wanted to contribute to the system/apps customers use rather than just report bugs.
In your opinion, what are the key qualities or skills that make an outstanding remote-working software engineer?
Ownership is the most important thing in my opinion. Being the person that is responsible for a feature or department in an organization is very vital. It is not only about writing fancy code, it is about making sure the customer/user has a wonderful experience. This means that when you are called upon concerning something that is your domain/department, you should be well-equipped with answers. Another important quality I think is communication, especially for remote workers. It is very good to inform your colleagues about updates on features you are working on or even bugs you are fixing. This includes scenarios where you are no longer working on a certain feature because of some blocker.
Can you share a common challenge or problem in the software engineering role and how you overcome it?
I would say onboarding in a new organization is usually a challenge. Often times the software engineer gets a subpar onboarding and that usually sets them back or in worse cases, sets them up for failure. I didn’t have this problem because my onboarding was great but it is something I have experienced in the past.
How do you handle stress, tight deadlines, and the busy-everyday-fixes in your role?
I take it in my stride, to be honest. For me, I like to finish my task as early as possible so I can rest and do other things with my time. I am lucky to have a very accommodating boss who doesn’t set unrealistic timelines plus the fact that I work really fast helps as well.
In situations where we need features up as soon as possible, I roll up my sleeves and do what needs to be done, knowing fully well that we get a well-deserved break after the intense sprint is done.
In your opinion, what skills are most important in a team, and what is your approach to a fruitful collaboration with team members?
Mutual respect and empathy are two very important skills. Understanding that everyone who is in the organization has something to offer is vital to have at the back of one's mind. Having empathy towards the situation of team members is also crucial.
How do you stay updated with the latest trends, processes, developments and skills in your field?
Twitter for one. I follow a lot of tech enthusiasts. I also read blogs where applicable but I have learned the hard way that opinions are not facts and it is important to recognize and distinguish them.
What aspects of your job do you find most fulfilling or enjoyable?
The fact that I don’t have a lot of meetings. I have worked in organizations that in my opinion spent too much time in meetings. Here at Cadana, especially in my department, we have fewer meetings giving us time to actually do the job. I also like the fact that I have the power to fix bugs and implement features on a platform I use as well. If I am using the app and something doesn’t feel right, I can either open my laptop and fix it or reach out to the person who can, that is awesome, won’t you agree?
Haha, absolutely! 😅 Apart from your busy work life, what do you do for fun?
I love watching comedy shows and action movies. When I am not doing that, I am playing with my two children ( wife and daughter ) or planning the next African country to visit. I love traveling, just that my pocket is still catching up.
😄 What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in software engineering?
Practice. The more you practice, the better you become. Seeing errors pop up is not a bad thing, on the contrary, it will teach you more about what you are learning than if it worked without any glitch.