This has been a fun day of basketball with the guys. I can’t find myself to sleep at this hour because after a few years of never exercising and or playing any kind of sports, I was too drained. So here I am writing a blog post about something Rama and me talked about before we played.
About a week ago, I caught up with Ariel and Okto at Setiabudi One to have some geek talks. We met up around 8 PM and as always, we lost track of time and were home early in the morning. We talked about a lot of things that we agreed and also didn’t agreed. Technical stuffs like scaling a website and also some off topics like there were no mosquitos around while we were there lol.
That night, we didn’t have any pre-arrangements about what to do or even a topic to talk about, we just talked about the awesomeness of what we do. What interests me was that there is a topic not about technicalities that we couldn’t agree more besides any other topics. The harsh realities of being an engineer in a web company in Indonesia whether it is a startup or its more mature form.
I have no usable work experience in other countries but it seems that in Indonesia, we the engineer is more often described of a handyman than anything else. My experience in several companies I worked for and with further clarify this particular stigma. Every engineer, supervisors, manager and C-Level execs know this but especially engineers. This is part of our culture to devaluate skills.
My question which I asked to the 3 guys mentioned above was:
So what is the use of making yourself even better, more aware and “smarter” than who you are right now engineers?
This question spurred different answers from different perspectives. One answer is: that particular question I asked is what actually drives talent off to fled to better opportunities with especially better remuneration. A mentality I call “Hire Me“. Even Facebook, Google, Apple and the rest of the gang is basically doing the same thing.
Another answer is rather giving but not much different from the above. This is the fact we’re living upon, either you accept it or don’t. Whichever decision doesn’t make any difference to the current state. This creates a care-free mentality of as long as the job is done as requested and meeting the deadline on time, then it’s a success.
From my perspective, it’s not just because I’m coming from a technical background but I value technical skills greatly. They’re the very foundation of being an engineer. I have the luckiest opportunity to be able to meet and be friends with great engineers. Engineers who keep redefining who they are which a direct inheritance of the discipline itself.
On the Internet, there is so much going on at any given moment in a programming world where everything is a variable and a second late is equal to being obsolete. An engineer has to absorb, conceptualize and implement abstracts like design patterns, business flows, etc into a unified product for the mass to enjoy. This comes with the occasional bumps and bruises everything you code.
Being an engineer is actually when your left and right brain really being stimulated. There’s another way of doing something more efficiently, better and faster depending on its context. Mark Zuckerberg even called Facebook’s engineering ethic as “The Hacker Way“.
With all the reality of being an engineer especially here in Indonesia, where does this place engineers? I say engineers are pretty much dumb if they don’t ask the question I asked above. As an engineer, that urge to learn something new is a basic trait to be successful as one. This is probably the ultimate reason why engineers in Indonesia can cope with the reality. An engineer’s Kryptonite: Knowledge.
Hopefully the market breaking activities of the newcomers with fat backings in Indonesia will set an example and hopefully a standard. Startups are here to make money, engineers are there to let the Startup make money. If the sentence before this reverbs eloquently over and over with C-Level execs, only then we engineers are accommodated accordingly.
Technology counts a great deal in startups, if you can’t fathom this, you probably should be doing something else or your CTO is so damn good that you never realize the kind of technology implemented supporting a startup.
I sincerely is on the positive end of this blog post, don’t take this blog post as a complaint or the sorts, this is merely being realistic yet still hopeful that Indonesia is as capable and as great as any other matured internet market in the world.
To wrap things up, I wish you a good night sleep cos this blog post is finally making me wants to sleep for the night. Gonna leave with a quote from earlier blog posts:
You’re GREAT, get used to it!