New stimuli make for a healthy team. What it means to be leader of a multinational dev team [Dat Ta]
Dat leads the product engineering team, the members of which hail from over 24 countries.
We asked Dat about the challenging and attractive aspects of the WOVN development team.
Dat Ta / Product Engineering Department Head
April 2017: joined WOVN
After graduating from university in Vietnam, he joined an IT company. Afterwards, he came to Japan to obtain his masters degree in computer science,
and worked as a developer in a Japanese IT company after graduating.
At WOVN, he is responsible for building up and managing the product engineering team.
What is your background, and how did you get started in WOVN?
After graduating from a university in Vietnam, I got a job at a local IT company, but I didn’t feel that job was very worthwhile.
So I looked for a school where I could study computer science and improve my skills. That’s when I found a graduate school in Japan with a scholarship program.
After graduating, I joined an IT company in Ishikawa Prefecture.
I came to Japan around 10 years ago as a student. I studied computer science and wanted to become a professional in the IT field.
After graduating, I joined a local IT company. It was a great experience but I was looking for a more challenging environment and lucky enough to have stumbled across an opportunity in WOVN.
At that time, it was only a team of fewer than 10 people but I really enjoy having a team-based environment while having the freedom to manage my own tasks. The team has grown exponentially since then and I look forward to seeing the impacts of our works on WOVN products and society.
What do you do in WOVN?
I am one of the department heads responsible for the engineering team. My main focus is to make sure the projects and our team are going on the right path. My daily tasks include meetings with our engineering team, stakeholders, and sometimes other sections of the company. I also spend time meeting with candidates during the interview process to provide an accurate vision of our team dynamics.
We strive to bring value and impact to our customers and society. My job is to make sure we are marching towards that goal every day.
What do you like about working in WOVN?
The environment and flexibility - I like working in an international environment with smart people who I can count on and are willing to share ideas. Also, the company has so much room to grow, providing me with an excellent career path as an engineer. I receive lots of support from the upper management and team members.
WOVN also offers me lots of flexibility and freedom. I take ownership of my work schedule depending on the team’s needs and am able to find the work style that works best for me.
What is your personal goal and the most challenging part of your job?
My goal is to find new challenges every day and keep everyone motivated and be happy at work. I try to find new things, be it an idea to work on or new solutions to tackle problems, to keep myself excited about my daily work. And I encourage my teammates to do the same! I believe new stimulus builds a healthy team.
The most challenging part of my job right now is learning to be a good leader. I think a good manager is not just someone who gives command or advice to the team, but someone who is a good mentor that the team can trust and rely on. I spend a significant part of my time talking and understand every individual on my team.
How has WOVN changed in your time working at the company?
Since 2017, I’ve witnessed significant growth. I joined when it was only a team of a few people. The business was rather in very early stages. Now we have grown to a team with more than 120 members.
WOVN is very adaptable. We have been able to develop different products according to our client’s needs and hence the increase in demand for manpower. Although the team size has multi-folded, the core culture has not changed. The company still allows us flexibility and encourages personal and professional development. I think it’s indispensable for startups to grow exponentially.
What’s your advice to engineers applying to WOVN?
Don’t hesitate to take the first step! By meeting with us, you will get a glimpse of what we do and team dynamics. We strive to make a positive recruitment experience so sometimes you might be asked to meet with a few members of our team. I believe it’s invaluable to our candidates because you will see how we may match you and your career aspirations. I encourage you to speak with us if you have a chance!
What are some of the skills that employees can acquire by joining WOVN?
It really depends on the team he/she joins. Some teams allow team members to work on our main product, and hence craft and implement solutions for accurate translation , while other teams allow you to learn how to build a mega backend library for our clients or launch a new product for our business. But regardless of the team, you will learn how to build a scalable product with the guidance and mutual learning from each and one of the team members.
What kind of people is WOVN looking for?
Candidates that are open-minded and supportive would be our top pick! We are dealing with challenging topics all the time. We’d appreciate someone that is willing to take new challenges and work collectively with the team to provide solutions. We have been in the industry for almost 7 years, and it’s inevitable that each one of us has our daily tasks that we all account for to sustain the productivity of the team. Someone that is not hesitant to excel their daily tasks and responsibilities , as well as possessing an open mind to tackle new problems would be our ideal type of candidate.
To all WOVN members
Our products still have a lot of room for improvement, but you can rest easy knowing they are in good hands.
“Rework” by David Heinemeier Hansson (Currency)