Meet Andrew — FTS Engineering
The Fulfillment and Transportation Systems (FTS) organization is at the core of Coupang’s rocket delivery technology, allowing customers to enjoy a flawless delivery experience. The organization not only develops innovative technology to ensure that orders are delivered accurately but improves the operational quality by enhancing Automation, Robotics, and more.
To learn more about the FTS organization, we sat down with Andrew who recently joined Coupang to hear about his experience as a new joiner and the global FTS team’s working culture.
Thank you for your time, Andrew. Could you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I am Andrew, a Principal Engineer in the FTS organization in Coupang. I joined recently our Mountain View, California office and currently set technical strategies and support next-generation development initiatives for the Fulfillment Centers part of FTS, including WMS product, Data Science, and Automation/Robotics engineering teams. Prior to Coupang, I worked as a Senior Staff ML (Machine Learning) Engineer at a global mobility service company that does food delivery, package delivery, and couriers development. I worked on ML and Optimization models, software supporting pricing, and surge services in the Marketplace organization. Before that, I was also a Principal Data Engineer at multinational retail’s e-commerce, leading algorithmic pricing team that was responsible for real-time pricing of the entire catalog. I also have a long track record working in transportation logistics industries with automation/robotics systems — mostly, mobile robots (AGVs - Automated Guided Vehicles and AMRs) in indoor warehouse/manufacturing environments and outdoor marine container ports. I proudly launched the very first fully robotic container ports in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Long Beach, California, USA in 2015. This project took several hundred engineers 3 years to build and launch.
You have recently joined Coupang. Could you tell us why you decided to work as an engineer at FTS?
I am really motivated by the impact of my position at Coupang. Coupang is well on track to produce a success story of e-commerce in South Korea. As a Principal Engineer in Coupang I can influence the entire technology stack for the FTS services and Coupang platforms in general. In other companies of comparable size, this impact is hard to get as engineers and their projects are very compartmentalized or siloed and this is often frustrating in the long term. I also believe that I have the experience that may benefit Coupang FTS and will help Coupang to evolve its technology and excel operationally. I would like to pass it on to the FTS engineering teams, unlock the potential that junior engineers have, help them grow professionally, and show how engineering works in world-best software companies.
As incumbents at Coupang, what are the benefits of working as a principal engineer here over another company?
I want to re-iterate that a much larger impact is one thing that differentiates a Coupang principal engineer from peers working in other big software companies. At early days, global top tech companies’ principal engineers had similar opportunities to influence technical direction at the company level and there are now widely known success stories circulating in software engineering circles. The reality is that opportunities like that are rare nowadays, but I believe Coupang is one of the companies where this is possible.
Do you closely work with engineers in Korea? Could you describe the working culture?
Although I am still a recent hire, I already visited Seoul for a business trip. I’ve been closely working with engineers in South Korea because many FTS engineers are in Seoul. I am very impressed by work ethics in Coupang, willingness to work hard and be open and friendly to new engineers joining globally, despite the language barrier challenges. Another observation that I made is that Coupang is a fast-moving company, very focused on improving business and product efficiency. I worked for 6+ different companies over my overall career track so I can speak from experience. Companies that foster this culture are more successful in the long run. Working for such companies is a win-win situation for any employee, including engineers.
Was there any positive surprise for you after joining Coupang?
I was very impressed with the warm welcome that I received on my first visit to Seoul. I was surrounded by friendly people and that helped to reduce the obvious stress that any US expat has on their first deep exposure to Asia, due to large language barrier and major culture differences. Another big positive surprise that came to me in Coupang is that I was able to meet the company top executives and be in the same meetings with them event in my very first week in Coupang and understand their strategy.
Lastly, any message you’d like to convey to the job seekers hesitant to apply to Coupang?
Coupang is in a ‘sweet spot’ on the growth curve now. More specifically, software and logistics technologies are going through a major transformation to support this growth. Despite the global economic downturn and layoffs from global companies happening over the years, the company is actively hiring new engineers to grow further. This is a good opportunity to join at the right time to participate in exciting projects to be proud of later. In particular, for engineers this is a chance to learn and experience new technologies at a scale. Please come onboard and be part of the big solutions.
The FTS organization is rapidly growing and actively seeking experienced engineers in Seoul, Mountain View, Seattle, and Shanghai. If you want to bring a meaningful impact to customers and are interested in advancing delivery technology, this is time for you to join Coupang.