Hello! My name is Stuart Long, and I’m in my final year of studying Computer Science at the National University of Singapore. In January 2023, I took the longest direct flight in the world and moved from Singapore to New York, to join Kisi’s New York office, and have been working in the API team as a Backend Developer Intern for 9 months to date. It has been a decision which I have not regretted, and have learnt a lot from the team and the CTO, Carl.
I am also a massive football (or soccer, as they call it here in the United States) fan and my favorite team is Manchester United. A fun fact about me is that I managed to take a photo with a player who was sold to another club for €222m. Can you guess who he is (check the image near the end to see if you're right) 😉
Being a Backend Developer Intern at Kisi
As a Backend Developer Intern at Kisi, my main responsibility is to build a highly robust and scalable public API. I had the opportunity to design, build and maintain efficient, reusable and reliable Ruby code. Additionally, I had the chance to collaborate with the Web, Mobile, Hardware and Marketplace teams and work on cutting-edge technology, solving real-world problems for users around the world.
During my internship, I was fortunate to engage in a dynamic array of projects, ranging from developing new features used by hundreds of thousands of customers, to smaller but equally important maintenance projects that Kisi employees use on a daily basis.
Solving real-world problems for access control users
One standout project I contributed to was the development of the SMS group link feature, a significant addition that has rapidly gained traction among thousands of customers. Not only did this feature enrich our service offering, but it also introduced a new revenue stream for the company.
Another exciting project that I’ve worked on was the building of the marketplace architecture, which sets the stage for future growth and expansion of Kisi. Further expanding Kisi’s global reach, I also took part in the implementation of multilingual support for the Kisi Web App, specifically adding German and Spanish language options.
In addition to these customer-facing projects, I also contributed to enhancing our integrations with third-party APIs, including platforms like Skedda and Glofox. These improvements were driven by a focus on delivering tailored features for our enterprise customers.
I was also tasked to upgrade our internal admin dashboards. This revamp significantly enhanced the overall user experience and streamlined workflow efficiency for Kisi employees and resellers.
Flat organizational structure for superb internship experience
Overall, the working experience at Kisi has been great thus far. Kisi's organizational structure promotes a flat hierarchy, affording me the opportunity to work closely with the company's founders, Bernie, Max, and Carl. The founders have shown a commitment to fostering my growth, enabling me to actively contribute to the advancement of the Kisi Web App, Readers, and Controllers.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my journey has been the positive feedback and comments from colleagues and customers who have experienced the features I've built and contributed to, now available in the market. Knowing that my work directly impacts and satisfies our users is incredibly fulfilling. Additionally, my colleagues and bosses take my comments and feedback very seriously as well, making me feel valued and heard.
Diversity fosters growth
This internship has been a rich source of learning and growth for me in several key areas. Firstly, it provided me with invaluable experience in working with cutting-edge technologies and the latest tech stacks that are currently driving the industry forward. Kisi's commitment to staying ahead of the curve allowed me to continuously familiarize myself with these state-of-the-art tools and platforms.
Furthermore, the global nature of my team exposed me to a diverse range of cultures and perspectives. Collaborating with colleagues from Sweden, France, Argentina, Nigeria, and Hungary broadened my intercultural communication skills and understanding of different cultures, widening my horizon.
Lastly, I gained a deep appreciation for the concept of "learning to learn." The geographical dispersion of team members sometimes required me to work independently due to time differences. These instances presented me with the challenge of taking the initiative to pick up new technologies and acquire new skills autonomously. This experience not only bolstered my self-reliance but also increased my confidence in adapting and picking up unfamiliar skills and knowledge easily.
All in all, this is the perfect startup experience I could ask for, offering a unique blend of hands-on learning, supportive mentors, and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the products and services that our customers rely on.
Commitment to development
I enjoy the company's commitment to feature development. The API team operates in agile two-week sprints, creating a dynamic and fast-paced development environment. This structure, along with the features we plan to release every quarter, injects a sense of excitement and fulfillment into our work. Seeing these features come to life motivates us to consistently deliver high-quality results, further driving us to push boundaries.
The competitive spirit within Kisi is another aspect I enjoy. Our team members pour their passion into every task, aiming for excellence not only within their job but also beyond. The occasional Mario Kart and FIFA competitions are a testament to this competitive drive, adding a layer of excitement to our work environment.
One of the unique highlights of my internship at Kisi is the annual hack week. In August, I had the opportunity to visit Sweden and meet the entire Product team. This was a memorable experience, especially considering Kisi's remote-first nature, which often limits in-person interactions with colleagues from the Product team.
My internship journey at Kisi was more than just a valuable learning experience; it was a chance to actively contribute to projects that have a direct and lasting impact. I hope that the exciting opportunities I had the privilege to work on will inspire future interns to join our team and be part of this dynamic, innovative environment.