Meet Atin — a developer helping drive efficiency at our Coupang FCs
Coupang has grown rapidly over the last few years, and our engineering culture is also evolving as a result.
At Coupang, everyone works to improve our culture, defining problems based on trust among colleagues, and listening to each other's opinions to continuously create for the better.
Today, we met developer Atin to learn about his work and development culture.
Hi Atin, it’s nice to meet you. Please introduce yourself.
Hello. I’m Atin, a developer who is responsible for developing a system that orders products to be purchased by Coupang customers from suppliers and efficiently distributes them to the different fulfillment centers (FCs).
Before Coupang, I was in security control system development, in charge of processing large volumes of event data from IoT devices and users. At this job, I had the opportunity to build a customizable and scalable system with large-capacity event streaming processing and rule-based user action processing technology. I also had experience working with event-based architecture and large amounts of streaming data. By bringing this experience to Coupang six years ago, I was able to help significantly improve system performance while developing mechanisms for handling user and system events of various messaging types.
Could you tell us more about your work? What kind of experiences do you get as a developer on your team?
SCM team serves as the starting point of Coupang's logistics chain. It ensures that customers have the products they need at the right time and place.
People might say that it would be easier for us to have more products stocked, thinking, “The more, the better.” However, that is certainly not the case. When a river flows in a single direction, it causes a flood. Likewise, there is a risk for FC operations to be overwhelmed with more volume than it can handle. In order to prevent this from happening, one of the main tasks is to balance out volume across the FCs by utilizing various software algorithms so that just the right amount of products that can be handled is distributed to the FCs that need them, right at the time they are needed.
Recently, we have been developing a no-code automation platform. My team consists of people from various professions. We have engineers, product managers, data scientists, business analysts, and operators on the team who all strive to play the roles expected of us to achieve a shared goal. The role we play as developers is to implement the ideas these people come up with on actual systems, and this no-Code automation platform is what helps make this role easier as it increases productivity by enabling applications to be created faster and without going through an engineer.
Then what is the team culture like?
Working in this team not only presents you with different problems but also with various opportunities to come up with ideas to solve these problems, and apply them in practice. In the course of doing so, on top of learning more about existing programming algorithms, you get to discover your own ways of addressing issues and also experience solving problems together through collaboration with data scientists, business analysts, and operators.
Thank you Atin. You must have worked on many different projects; what has been the most memorable project or experience for you at Coupang?
I’ll have to say it’s the no-code and low-code platforms for SCM Workflow, which was started by just two of us on the team as a side project. While it started small, its potential was soon recognized by the team, and it’s now evolving into a no-code web application creation platform, with more members participating.
Coupang is growing at a rapid pace, and we work hard to achieve this speed. When we come across problems, we experiment, create data, and iterate based on the data created, making sure we find better solutions through the process.
The goal we have for this platform is to help those with no programming knowledge to create and operate applications through blocks and simple scripts such as Scratch, even without the help of developers.
Recently, we applied for a patent for the system, and it was also covered in the engineering blog, giving us the chance to introduce it to more people. Many have felt the need for such a tool and have shown interest in what we’ve built.
I can already feel that Coupang has a special engineering culture. If you could summarize the time you spent in Coupang’s engineering team in one phrase, how would you describe it?
I’ll have to say, “A healthy engineering culture that fosters collective growth.” Coupang is not afraid of change. In fact, if it helps customers, we welcome such changes. This is why engineering teams at Coupang can try various development approaches despite small chances of success and are given the opportunity to actively test them out to see the impact on the customer experience. Every time we engage in such a process, each of us who are a part of Coupang takes our skills to the next level while Coupang grows further as a company, delivering a satisfying experience to a larger number of customers. This creates a virtuous cycle for individual developers, the company, and our customers. I believe the driving force behind this virtuous cycle is the robust engineering culture here at Coupang. I think all this is possible because we’re given the environment, opportunities, and freedom to do basically anything, and engineers are entrusted with leading and driving these efforts.
Based on your experiences so far, what is a special experience you can only have at Coupang?
I think it’s the globalized engineering environment. Discussing problems with product managers and data scientists in the U.S. in the morning and having development-related discussions with engineers in China in the afternoon is like an everyday routine for Coupang employees. It’s rare to have the opportunity to collaborate with various people from different countries with a professional interpretation team supporting us in our communications.
Also, in my case, I was in charge of another domain. Since there are so many different domains, I think it’s a great advantage to be able to learn and experience various new services within one company. I was able to learn a lot again by simply working in another domain as if I had joined a new company.
What personal goals would you like to achieve at Coupang?
I want to continue to develop my competence as a developer. Over time, the skills you need as an engineer change. When you are a junior, you’re asked to solve simple problems that you can solve alone, but when you get to the senior level or higher, you should be able to expand your scope and solve problems in areas that encompass various domains, teams, and team members. To this end, I think Coupang's environment is perfect to grow your career as a developer.
Lastly, please say a word to future applicants reading this interview.
For engineers, I think it’s most important to choose the right company whose growth direction coincides with yours.
One way to determine this is to look at the company’s engineering culture. I believe that companies like Coupang that have a healthy culture, where people can express their opinions regardless of their level and try things out, can help individuals grow through various experiences. When this is possible, the individual and company growth can grow together.
We are looking for those who will grow as developers with various experiences and lead Coupang’s growth. If you are interested, please apply.