Mercari x Code Chrysalis | Training & Developing the strongest Engineers (Part 2)

6/15/2021

Code Chrysalis provided enterprise training for Mercari's software engineers.

In this previous article, we talked to the people who created the training program.

Today, we would like to ask the engineers who took the training about their attitude as engineers and their impressions of the training. Interviewee is continued by Masa, Masataka Shintoku, Head of Japanese Programs.

Masataka Shintoku | Code Chrysalis Tokyo Coding Bootcamp

The importance of soft skills to face difficult tasks

"Honestly, I didn't expect much, but I learned more than I could have ever imagined."

Kaili | Code Chrysalis Tokyo Coding Bootcamp

Kaili Mercari Engineer. New engineer employed October, 2019.

Masa: As of October, 2019 you became an employee of Mercari and joined the Code Chrysalis training program. Coming from China, what made you decide to accept the engineering position at Mercari?

Kaili: After completing my Computer Science degree, I wanted to live in Tokyo. It was simply that.

Masa: It's your first time living in Tokyo and your first job. Did you have any worries about joining Mercari?

Kaili: My only concern was about the company environment. I had heard that Japanese companies and hierarchical relationships are very strict. However, Mercari is a very flexible and international environment, and my colleagues are also from international backgrounds.

Masa: It is a wonderful environment. From what you've said, Kaili, you didn't seem to worry about your job description. Were you confident in your engineering skills?

Kaili: Yes, I was not worried about the technical aspects like programming. Since I was in college, I thought I could develop anything by myself.

That being said, I learned a lot about soft skills such as communication and presentation from the Code Chrysalis training.

Masa: I've already heard the words I wanted to hear (laughs). Did you expect soft skills from Code Chrysalis before you took the training?

Kaili: No, to be honest, I didn't have very high expectations for the training. So, the results far exceeded my expectations.

Masa: What did you learn from this training?

Kaili: That it's about communication and teamwork. Mercari is a big company, so you can't accomplish something important by yourself. You need to get all kinds of information from other people and cooperate together.

The Project training gives us the opportunity to learn this. The second half of the training was a really good exercise. We had to collaborate not only within our own team, but also with users and other teams to develop a system.

We had to collaborate with our own team as well as with users and other teams to develop the system, and the idea of exchanging the system with other teams after the first one was very innovative. But when you think about it, it happens all the time in the real world.

I'm sure there will be times in the future when we have to take over a system from someone who has retired from a company. It was a difficult training, but I think it prepared me to face the hard work I will have to do in my future career.

Masa That's exactly what I wanted everyone to learn from the project training. You said it was a difficult training, what did you find difficult?

Kaili: It was very difficult for people from different countries to communicate with each other in English. I had a lot to learn how to understand what they wanted to say and how to get them to understand myself as well, including such things as the time of meetings.

Masa: Are the things you learned in the training immediately useful in your work after your assignment?

Kaili:  The soft skills that we just talked about were immediately useful. I also learned how to give feedback to my colleagues, which I can use in my work. I think the training at Code Chrysalis was very meaningful.

Masa: Thank you very much. At a large SIer company in Japan where I worked prior to, there were many employees who lacked soft skills, but at the start-up company I later moved onto, I found the same problem with communication.

Even though we were a very small group of people, I learned that the importance of soft skills is not widely understood in all companies. That's why I came back to Code Chrysalis to convey that to the entire industry in Japan.

Kaili: I sympathize with you. I think the importance of soft skills was also overlooked in the Chinese company where I interned.

But if you really want to make a good project, teamwork is essential.

Sharing skills that can be immediately applied to practical work with colleagues. "Sitting alone coding will not produce results."

Abhi  Mercari Engineer as of 2019 October

Masa: Last, we will speak to Abhi, a new engineer from India.. I hear you are a machine learning engineer. Were you studying computer science in university?

Abhi:  Yes, I have a degree (in that field). However, I was mostly spending my time doing research work and didn't have many opportunities to actually produce on my own which is why I didn't have much confidence in my programming skills. On the flip side, I excel at human communication and presentation skills are quite polished.

Masa:  I see, that's a rare pattern…That's great, formidable, you recognized the importance of soft skills and had them down. For your research projects

Abhi: I imagined there'd be a lot of learning about Mercari's tools and technologies, in reality there were mostly technical training. What surprised me the most was the emphasis on learning product management and soft skills.

Masa: What part of the program did you enjoy the most?

Abhi: Karaoke. That was a unique and enjoyable program.

Masa: That's the one where you're suddenly handed with a slide and have to present in front of the entire class. It's my favorite too. It's a great way to develop presentation skills and courage. What did you learn from the Code Chrysalis training?

Abhi: You can't achieve results by coding alone. I was able to realize that it's important to build a good relationship with my supervisors and colleagues and communicate openly. Also, I'm thankful to have been able to learn on product management and receiving proper feedback. I wouldn't have known about user stories and scenario mapping if I hadn't taken the training.

Masa: It seems that you learned a lot from this. It'd also be ideal if these skills are useful in your daily work life, has it been?

Abhi: Yes, it's been useful. For example, to my colleagues who haven't undergone the Code Chrysalis training, I suggested that we take notes on the discussions and decisions and share them with our supervisors. This is a result of the training I received on how to proceed with my work.

Masa: Not only are you improving your own behavior, but you are also spreading the knowledge in your workplace. That is beyond our expectations. Are you able to communicate well with colleagues who have not learned the importance of soft skills?

Abhi: We have been able to work together without any problems. I also believe that communication and feedback can be applied not only at work, but also in relationships with family and friends.

Masa: Well said. When you were a student, you did data analysis and research, but were you able to handle the training for development without any problems?

Abhi: From a technical standpoint, it was difficult because there were many tools and technologies that were new to me. It is good for students who have a lot of engineering knowledge, but for people with my background, it would be better if there were some steps to acquire skills before starting development.

Masa: Thank you for your valuable feedback. You've given us a chance to improve the training for the better! We will continuously work for the benefit of the people and work hard to grow and learn together.

What did you think of this interview about the new graduate training program at Mercari? I think you could get a sense of the passion that Mercari has for training engineers.

It is Code Chrysalis' hope that all of our engineers will be blessed with good colleagues and be able to work actively. It is our pleasure to hear from them that what they learned in the training was useful for their work, and that it gave them food for thought for their careers.

How do we best train engineers? If you are in charge of training engineers at your company, please contact Code Chrysalis. Let's work together to create "the best training program for developing the best engineers"!

Code Chrysalis is a Tokyo-based 🗼 coding school providing a full-time and part-time programming courses in English and Japanese. Join us in-person or take our classes remotely. See why we are an industry leader in technical education in Japan 🗾.

We also put on free workshops and events for the community, so follow us for the latest!

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