PhonePe University — Here’s What You Need To Know!
Today, PhonePe is India’s leading digital payments platform with the largest transacting user and merchant base in the country. In the last 3 years, PhonePe expanded to 16 new lines of product and currently has over 365+ mn registered users — that is practically every 4th Indian. Powering this juggernaut required best-in-class engineers who could think through complex problems, write model code, work with business and product stakeholders and be able to manage ambiguity through it all seamlessly. Finding ready-made talent who can do it all is technically impossible as some of these were unsolved problems with no pre-existing solutions.
From the beginning, PhonePe has invested heavily in developing engineering talent through strong mentorship, opportunity to work on new problems, and an approach to career growth that emphasizes progressive development of capability by taking on successively more complex challenges. Early in its evolution, the company adopted a flat org structure aligned to an engineering journey framework. Engineers learned to evaluate themselves against a predefined set of growth dimensions where they were competing only against themselves. Engineers received periodic feedback from their managers on their current skills & competencies, against the engineering journey, along with pointed and specific inputs on ways to move forward on the journey.
As the organization grew, so did the complexity of the problems the engineers were supposed to work on. Keeping pace with this growth required a more systematic way to enable engineering capability.
And therefore, the PhonePe University.
PhonePe University: Growth through continuous learning
The vision of PhonePe University was to curate a structured learning program that was developed specifically to cater to the learning needs of our tech talent.
We instituted the PhonePe University to build a technology talent powerhouse that accelerates learning and impact for engineers. It is a comprehensive set of programs and initiatives designed to fast track learning for engineers at every step of their journey at PhonePe.
It provides a learning framework that accelerates the path to getting better. With on-the-job, and project-based learning, engineers get systematic exposure to our most complex systems and technical frameworks, along with the opportunity to experiment, reflect and deliver results.
Some of the learning tracks are:
1. On-The-Job Project Model
Picture this — On one hand, there are a bunch of strong performers in the organization ready to take on new challenges but need hand holding; and on the other, a bunch of hard problems that need focused attention. So, when we first started defining the Project Model, we wanted to bridge this gap between the two sides.
A mentor-driven project model brings the two together and delivers impact by solving diverse problem statements. It gives mentees the confidence to take on more complex challenges, thus raising the bar at which they operate.
With that in mind, the Project Model was designed to have a mentor-mentee approach that allows engineers to solve problems with the help of a mentor right from the start of the project, till it is live in production. The focus under this learning track is to help individuals grow in specific areas by assessing their current capabilities, identifying a technically complex problem to work on, defining necessary support paths including mentorship by a senior member in the team, and skill development for end-to-end execution of projects. With periodic checkpoints and reviews by the engineering leadership team, candidates are also provided with holistic feedback both on technical and behavioral aspects throughout the project journey.
So far we have launched 18 projects, 10 of which have achieved completion while the others are a work in progress.
2. Learning Groups — The Workshop Model
This program caters to a larger group of participants undergoing a specialized training/course session together as a working group to develop expertise on a technical topic. We envisioned this program to be an amalgamation of theoretical learning and application-based problem solving facilitated by in-house subject matter experts.
So far, our subject matter experts have coached more than 160+ engineers across 8 workshops covering 7 topics, contributing to more than 10k+ learning hours. Of these, 30% of the participants signing up are repeat registrations and 72% of the participants upskilled during these workshops have been with PhonePe for less than 2 years, thereby fulfilling our mission of distributing tribal knowledge in the system.
3. The Engineering Induction
This includes a 6-week intensive induction program for campus graduates (Bootcamp For Campus Freshers), and an induction program for lateral hires (Lateral Induction Program) with technical workshops and stretch assignments via cross-domain projects. In fact, the PhonePe Engineering Bootcamp is our flagship program successfully running for the past 4 years. Both the programs provide freshers with adequate context on the organization, tech systems, and platforms including sessions on computer science fundamentals, design patterns, architecture used at PhonePe, product and business context, leadership sessions, and tech talks.
4. PhonePe Tech Scholars Program
Beyond accelerating learning for PhonePe engineers, we are also investing in opening up talent pipelines for the future. We are partnering with Crio.Do for the Tech scholars Program to accelerate learning for engineering students. The program provides opportunities for industry interface, training in CS fundamentals and live project work, along with scope for an internship and a subsequent full-time role in the company.
Women developers in the final year of their education can apply and shortlisted candidates will go through a rigorous 4–5-month work-integrated learning program powered by Crio.Do. During this online externship program, they improve their foundational skills and work on real-world PhonePe-specific problem statements. This learning opportunity is a great experience for candidates to get exposure to the practical side of things, while also getting acquainted with the PhonePe way of working.
We have successfully launched offerings on all the tracks, which have been very well received across the engineering teams. The interest levels in the offerings are a testament to the impact of the programs and we continue to improve and add more offerings.
The PhonePe university is an initiative to encourage aspiring and mid-career engineers to chart their careers with a long-term view of learning and continuous up-skilling. From solving complex problems to getting continuous feedback and mentorship, it is geared towards helping our tech talent learn and succeed.