What it's Really Like Working for a Tech Startup

Yasha's experience at TuringTech and her plans in the US in 2023.

In 2021, I left my area of work in power engineering - my most generally desired career, at least at that time, and joined a tech startup. The reasons for joining the startup were more concerned with practicality and general atmosphere in the market; COVID lockdown, companies were laying off too much of the workforce. Due to decrease in demand in 2020, I was one of the laid-off engineers from the power plant. Joining a tech startup was more of a getting over with past move. 

Turing technologies is a small startup with about 25+ team members, each one has many responsibilities upon their shoulders as did I. I started off with mainly documenting user flows, and user journeys in Notion, Figma, and Timblee. Then from there, I moved into the QA team. I was initially introduced to software development in the Quality Assurance team with Mohsin. I came to know about the terminologies and what goes behind them like merge requests, merge conflicts, code review phase, manual quality testing, GraphQL, Postman, and UX design auditing. 

In June 2022, I started my journey into backend development by integrating SendGrid APIs into our notification module for one of our projects. It was not a one-sprint thing like my previous tasks. Everything related to SendGrid was to be done from scratch since it was the first time that we were integrating our project with it. I started off with Email template designing in SendGrid, then slowly in the coming weeks I became more involved with the backend developers while integrating the APIs. I remember showing my template designs to our tech lead Sarmad Kazmi, and in return he said, "Yasha, start focusing on the integration", I thought in my mind, I would love to do that, if only I had an idea on how to do that... 

My first learning project was all to be implemented in Node.js with the Express framework. I remember when Bilal (our backend developer) was introducing me to all of this and he asked if I knew any of it before, I shook my head in negation and replied "not really". He then said, we still have to introduce you to Git commands - the most important ones. Later did I know that Git and Gitlab were going to be my favorite part of them all. JavaScript and TypeScript were used in it. The only coding languages I knew before were C, C++, and a little bit of Python. My undergrad FYP has a lot of machine learning and digital image processing involved with was mainly done in TensorFlow and MATLAB. So basically MATLAB was my go-to coding environment and language before I joined Turing Technologies.

Being a part of a tech startup has been a very steep learning curve for me. As a newbie to software technologies, there was no other way for me to get to learn and experiment with so many technologies in one place over a span of one year. Tech startups have some major advantages in the engineering sector which make it the most lucrative field like:

  1. Tech startups are skill specific and not gender specific 
  2. Your ideas will be heard and most important pushed to production with a couple of weeks! 
  3. Role fluidity and professional mobility are very much in action
  4. Picking up new skills will be an everyday happening

The only thing that would hinder some people from working in a tech startup is that it can get very much chaotic - and the chaos can last up to weeks and months maybe, but the good this is that somewhere out there (on the internet) there might be an answer of this chaos - in the form of a few lines of code.

As I move to US at the end of this year, I would take these lessons with me to enter the American job market. The most important of which is to never stop pushing yourself to learn new things.

Yasha Laila Ali

Turing Technologies