Employee Spotlight: Surbhi Airan
In conversation with one of our Senior Software Engineers
How do you define your personality? Are you someone who finds peace working in your comfort zone or do you constantly seek new challenges?
In this edition of our employee spotlights, we got in conversation with Surbhi Airan who doesn’t like settling into a comfort zone. She always looks for a new challenge to keep herself motivated and on par with rapidly evolving technologies. Putting tech to use for problem-solving is what she enjoys doing the best.
Surbhi hails from Indore and did her Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from the Rajiv Gandhi University (Medi-Caps Institute of Science & Technology, Indore) and works as a Senior Software Engineer at Niyo. She’s a people person and likes to make friends for life. Surbhi enjoys travelling to explore the unexplored.
“No two days are the same and there isn’t a strict hierarchy at Niyo. My reporting manager doesn’t mind if I interact with other managers and work on tasks assigned by them. There are constant interactions to check my priorities and other opportunities I want to look forward to that aren’t just about completing a task. I can share openly if I have a career path in mind and want to proceed in a certain direction, and that’s what I love the most about Niyo.”
Q: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
A: I feel motivated when I get to learn something new. At Niyo, this happens at a rapid speed. and there are hardly any days when I’m repeating a series of activities. Even after spending more than a year in the company, I can still say that I’m learning something new each day.
Q: What has been your career path before joining Niyo?
For the next challenge, I started taking up freelance projects. They were short projects where I was constantly on the edge learning new technology regularly and keeping myself upgraded to match the ever-evolving tech industry. I freelanced for about 3 years and what I missed the most was not having a circle of colleagues. I used to mostly take up US and Europe-based projects — there was a shift difference and interaction with the team was very minimal. I used to just finish my tasks and that was just about it. I used to work from a co-working space and had friends there but I couldn’t discuss work-related matters with them. That got me looking out for my next job.
Q: How did you get your job at Niyo?
A: I had updated my resume on Naukri and a consultant reached out to me. She was connecting me with several companies and had mentioned Niyo. During a casual chat with my friends, someone brought up that Niyo is a good fintech startup and the company name just stuck with me. It so happened that the consultant said that there were a few openings at Niyo and there’s an interview scheduled for me; I looked up information about the company profile and was excited. My experience so far had been in the e-commerce domain and this was to be my first experience with fintech. I genuinely hoped that I’d crack the interview — I did and joined Niyo as a Senior Software Engineer in August 2020.
Q: What entails your typical workday?
A: I provide technical support for the Operations and Care teams. When customers come seeking help with issues related to transactions upload, account activations, etc. providing them technical support forms the major chunk of my work. By 10 or 11 AM I start getting the most requests from these teams. I start my day by checking on what I need to deliver to other teams, helping them, and later attending meetings to discuss deliverables.
I work with a small team to provide tech support. We are not an individual team but, when the Niyo Money and the MF Core teams interact, we come into the picture. We have daily scrum calls for updates and to catch up on anything new.
Q: What would be different if you were to work from the office?
A: I love interacting with people. While working from the office, one gets to share ideas quite vibrantly. In stark contrast to speaking with someone over a call, when you interact in person, you get to know them better by understanding their expressions and gestures. WFH is good but I’m done with it. We’ve done enough saving and spending time with the family; I think it’s time to get back to living life normally.
Q: What has been your favourite project so far at Niyo? Why?
A: Just 3–4 months into the company, I was allowed to build the front end for a whole new onboarding process for Niyo Money. I was the only front end developer on this assignment. There were quite hard deadlines on this project and although we had to get extensions to complete it, I cherish the trust and confidence shown in me by the seniors.
Q: What do you like about working at Niyo?
A: No two days are the same and there isn’t a strict hierarchy at Niyo. My reporting manager doesn’t mind if I interact with other managers and work on tasks assigned by them. There are constant interactions to check my priorities and other opportunities I want to look forward to that aren’t just about completing a task. I can share openly if I have a career path in mind and want to proceed in a certain direction, and that’s what I love the most about Niyo.
Q: How has your career grown since starting at Niyo?
A: It has undoubtedly been on a sharp growth curve, mainly because of the interactions I have with people and the team I work with. They have extensive knowledge and are ready to pass it on and along the way make you comfortable in understanding them. It has been a roller coaster ride and I’ve gained immense knowledge of the fintech domain.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A: My father says, “Live in the moment so you have memories to cherish.”
Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to join Team Niyo?
A: Every week, I take about 2–3 interviews and often candidates ask me what I like about the company and I tell them, “if you’re looking for an opportunity to grow, Niyo is the right place. If you want to have a steady life — 9–5 kinds, it’ll certainly be an exciting life.”
Q: What is the most inspiring part of your job?
A: Providing a solution to any problem is the most inspiring part of my job. I love solving a problem and that’s what coding is about. Whenever a problem arises, I try to find a logical solution.
Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to become a doctor but whatever I learnt about biology in 9–10th grade left me feeling that it was way too much. Since I was good at math, I decided to pursue that direction.
Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
A: I’m a good listener and people instinctively come to me and tell me anything they want to share.
Q: How do you unwind from work?
A: I love travelling. Since childhood, my family has been going on vacations at least twice a year. I have travelled to almost every state across India. These days I’m not able to join them in their plans as frequently as I used to earlier. My parents are spontaneous with their plans and leave at a short notice.
I’m a foodie and enjoy street food and love trying new cuisines. I used to be an avid reader back in college and read at least 2–3 books every month, but now I don’t get much time. That’s the reason I joined the Niyo Book Club so I could get back into the reading habit.