I had the pleasure of a chat over the web with Mr. Michael Kang, who started his career in software development 17 years ago as a software engineer. He is now the Technical Director for MYeBills Consulting Sdn. Bhd., A Malaysia based company that specializes in electronic billing and payment software. Michael had been with MYeBills since the founding years of the company, and currently leads the R&D, Professional Services, and Technical Support teams of the company.
What factors made you stay in this industry for so long?
I have had passion for computing since I was in secondary school.
What do you like about your job?
Together with my team, our job is to help businesses improve efficiency, productivity, as well as transparency; and to be more competitive in this fast-growing market.
What coding languages do you specialize in?
I started with Java programming in my career. I am still doing it in my current role sometimes. I had used C++, Visual Basic 6, Visual Basic .Net before too.
What are the contributions of your company’s solutions to the industry?
Our company's solution is focused on e-billing and we help our customers deliver their statements and e-Invoice to their customers via the web channel, mobile or email. This enables our customers to achieve their go-green efforts and cost savings.
What are the challenges that most developers face when doing their jobs? How can these challenges be overcome?
Tight deadlines and change of requirements halfway through the project affect the developers’ work and the quality of their work. Proper technical documentation will significantly improve the quality of the delivery.
Are the developers in the industry fairly compensated in general?
Yes, compensation is fair for experienced developers.
What are the most important technical skills for a developer to have? And how do they build up the skills?
Developers need to have diagnostic skill. They should do more coding as experience will be gained along the way, even from the mistakes that they made.
Other than technical skills, what are the soft skills that are crucial for a developer?
It would be logical thinking to deliver what is expected and what exception scenarios are required to be handled, either from the system or the human perspective. Teamwork and self-discipline are important too.
What are the possible career paths for a developer?
A developer can become a technical lead, an R&D lead or a project manager. Some can even become business owners if they have great ideas.
Do you see any difference between the competency or work attitude when you were a fresh graduate, and the fresh graduates today?
Yes, in my company we find that fewer fresh graduates are willing to take up employment as a developer nowadays due to long working hours.
Are the fresh graduates today equipped with the right skills and attitudes?
In fact, skills and attitudes are dependent on the individual. As long as universities keep their courses up-to-date according to the needs of the market, it would be easy for the fresh graduates to adapt to the industry.
What advice would you give a fresh graduate entering the industry as a developer?
Interest is the key to success and don’t be afraid of failure or making mistakes.