Making a global impact as an early career software engineer

Making a global impact as an early career software engineer

Starting your career is an intense transition. There’s nothing else in life that’s quite like going from expert youth to novice adult, and it’s only getting more complicated as the newest graduates enter the workforce in a post-pandemic world. 

At Zuora, we are experts on change and transformation (see: modern business), so we sat down with Shrey Tyagi, one of our software engineers located in India who joined Zuora shortly after graduating in 2021, to talk about making the most of these early years.

Before we dive into Shrey’s story, we thought we’d catch up with one of his mentors, Tony Zhai to better understand what has enabled Shrey to quickly make a big impact at Zuora. 

When it comes to Shrey, it’s less about ‘how long’ and just simply ‘how.’

  • Passionate and active learner
    I remember when he joined Zuora—everything was new to him, but he learned very fast by taking ownership to learn the technical skill and domain knowledge.
  • Proactive problem solver
    When Shrey asks me something, he always comes with enough research to have figured out most of the problem, which is a great manner of working. He only needs one or two important points, then he figures out all the remaining things.
  • Drive to take on what’s next
    Now, I encourage him to lead projects (from small to big) and he jumps on it, always taking on new opportunities, and this is how he’ll continue to learn and grow his career.

 

Keep reading for our full conversation with Shrey as part of our Hello, ZEO series where we share the unique stories of our people, whom we call ZEOs, to celebrate their contributions to Zuora—and beyond—and why we are so proud to be on this journey with them. 

First things first, tell us about yourself!

I completed my bachelor’s in Computer Science from SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University) in 2021. I’m originally from the National Capital Region (NCR) of Uttar Pradesh and I currently live in Mumbai. Being part of a military family, I was born in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and have lived in various places such as Goa, Chennai, Mumbai, and Porbandar. In my spare time, I enjoy painting, going on strolls, watching anime, and spending quality time with my family and friends.

Tell us about your day-to-day work—what’s it like to be a software engineer at Zuora? 

My typical day starts by checking emails and updates on work items, followed by coding and engaging in discussions with teammates to determine solutions. A significant part of my work day is spent on research and optimizing solutions to problems. The life of a software engineer is filled with unexpected challenges, so I strive to stay proactive and be prepared for any potential issues.

We believe that when ZEOs own their outcomes, they’re able to catalyze what’s next for Zuora and for themselves. What are some examples of this in your work?

I have personally witnessed the positive impact of my work on improving payment processes and driving business growth.

Currently, I’m working on an exciting project  that many of our customers have been requesting, and this project is of utmost importance and is a core offering of payment orchestration. Its development impacts the success of Zuora, and it’s truly rewarding to work on something that has such a significant impact.

In my role, I have been entrusted with handling critical projects within my team, one of which involved building solutions that ensure our customers are meeting legal mandate requirements. My team specializes in gateway integrations, and we have worked on projects that enhance support for different gateways and payment methods that are now functioning for some of our largest customers. Additionally, I have been involved in real-time reconciliation of transactions where we listen to events and reconcile them in our system. I have also worked to integrate a global software company with Zuora to provide dynamic fraud protection to filter out fraudulent transactions.

Let’s switch gears from the work to the people and culture of  Zuora—what’s been a part of our #ZEOLife that stood out to you?

Participating in Zuora’s summer Hackathon was an exciting experience for me. My project that I’m proud of was the creation of a Bin Checker service. This solution addressed a major gap that hindered us from fully utilizing the power of payment orchestration. I recall joining the Hackathon at the last minute, unsure if I would complete it in time, but I proceeded nonetheless. While there were several impressive entries, I believe that my project stood out due to the simplicity and effectiveness of its explanation, highlighting the project’s impact and addressing the specific requirement.

So much of our time is spent with the people we work with. Tell us about your co-ZEOs.

Having the opportunity to collaborate with ZEOs from Chennai, Beijing, and the US is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role at Zuora. It allows me to work closely with individuals from different cultures and time zones, expanding both my professional skills and worldview. 

One person who has had a significant impact on my ZEO experience is my manager, Guo Qing, from Beijing. Additionally, I have had the privilege of collaborating with Tyler Schemmel, our team’s product manager, who is based in the US. Interacting with them has been fantastic, and their accommodating nature towards timezones exemplifies the inclusive culture we have at Zuora. 

Furthermore, my mentor and lead, Tony Zhai, and I have spent numerous hours exchanging cultural insights between China and India—I still have a list of Chinese movies he recommended that I am yet to watch, haha!

What has been the best part about your experience?

Over the past two years, working with Zuora has been instrumental in my growth. I have developed a deep understanding of how SaaS enterprise companies operate and the significant impact my work can create. Working in the payments domain has allowed me to grasp the nuances of compliance and the criticality of various aspects within the field.

Working at Zuora has been exceptional. It has provided me with much more than just a paycheck. The level of work satisfaction I have achieved, coupled with a healthy work-life balance, has been invaluable. Additionally, Zuora’s commitment to supporting my career growth through initiatives like career cash has given me the opportunity to perform at my best and continuously improve.

What’s something you learned in the workforce that you’d share with someone studying to become a software engineer?

One significant learning moment for me was the importance of being open to different opportunities. Initially, I planned to pursue frontend development based on market research, but I quickly realized the potential and the incredible team working on backend development at Zuora. By being adaptable and exploring the backend path, I gained a broader perspective and appreciation for the vastness of backend code.

Shrey, what’s your advice on creating an early career that you can be proud of?

I would emphasize the importance of following through on your commitments. It’s crucial to do what you say you will do and deliver on your promises. It will earn you autonomy, ownership, and flexibility over your tasks. This is what has allowed me to strike a healthy work-life balance. 


Interested in being a ZEO? Check out our current openings at zuora.com/careers.

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