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Canva Pty Ltd

  • #4 in Technology
  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Vee Ciputra

I love my role because it’s so user-impacting, especially when releasing features that will be used by the world the next day.

What's your job about?

In simultaneously considering the 2 core missions of empowering design and doing good in the world, the company’s main goal is to build a design product so impactful that opportunities for empowerment arise on a daily basis for millions of users. My part in this contribution is to help improve and enhance the frontend for Canva’s Presentations.

Recently, I’ve specialised in enhancing the editing, viewing and presenting of Charts in presentations. This involves working alongside our team’s Product Designers and Product Managers in order to deliver the highest quality features that bring the most value to our users. It’s really rewarding that I get to interact with all kinds of people and be involved in the workflow of creating the product!

We usually start by focusing on goals for the team, and then assigning issues to whoever is keen to work on the task. During the task, there’s usually a lot of design involved, so I always bother my team’s Product Designer for some design advice and confirmations (shout out to Sam for doing such amazing work for the entire Presentations team!). Once I finish my implementation or bug fix, I create a Pull Request and get reviews on my code by other engineers. This is a great opportunity to learn about how I can improve my programming skills. Once it’s approved, I get my feature signed off, and then it goes into production to be released into the world!

What's your background?

I was born in Indonesia, but I moved to New Zealand (that’s right, not Sydney!) when I was 3, and have lived there ever since up until 2021 when I’ll start my Graduate role at Canva in Sydney.

I’d always loved computers as a kid, and I got introduced to the fundamentals of coding at the age of 9 through Neopets.com! I learnt HTML and CSS, but unfortunately never went into coding after that as I focused on my school studies. In Year 12 (this would be Year 11 in Aussie standards) I realised I was sick of Science and I regained my interest in programming. Fortunately, I was completing subjects one year ahead of my current year, so in what was meant to be Year 13 (that’s Year 12 for Aussie) I dropped out of high school to pursue Software Engineering in the University of Auckland.

Throughout my university career, I was the Marketing Coordinator for many clubs such as a Taiwanese social club (I’m not Taiwanese!) and TEDxUoA. More uniquely, my friends and I started up a brand new software club called Developers Society, which was the first non-exclusive tech club in Auckland. In the same year, we became the largest student-run tech club in New Zealand, and also won the UoA’s New Club of the Year award. I’m super proud of that! 

Canva was my dream job since I used it religiously for Marketing, so when I got an internship offer I was super stoked. Canva flew me over to Sydney and I had literally the best time, so I’m extremely excited to start my Graduate role in 2021!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

For sure! Software is so versatile and I believe you don’t even need the highest qualifications as long as you have passion to learn and programme. I think the greatest thing about Canva is that almost everyone has different backgrounds, originating from different countries, experiences and degrees. It’s all about loving problem-solving, loving people and loving the product that you’re building (and in Canva’s case, that’s a given!).

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love my role because it’s so user-impacting, especially when releasing features that will be used by the world the next day. I’ve participated in several user-testing sessions (we call them Popcorn Sessions 🍿 because they’re very entertaining!) where I can see how real users interact with Charts and Presentations. This is one of the most exciting parts of my job; seeing how real users are enjoying (or struggling from) features that we’ve personally helped implement, and then taking the next step to further enhance their experience. Work is really meaningful because our efforts are genuinely impacting real users.

What are the limitations of your job?

Programming can be tedious, especially when you get stuck on a problem for a long time. Luckily, my Presentations team is super helpful, like the rest of the company, and is always willing to help overcome any blockers we face.

Another thing is that code reviews can sometimes be very gruelling, and I feel a lot of Imposter Syndrome, almost on a daily basis. Everyone is very talented and knowledgeable that I often feel inadequate - but the team is always very accommodating about this and always ensures that we are supported in moments like these. Reviews are learning experiences that help us improve!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Build relationships and make the most of your time with your friends and family, since you might move to a different country! It’s important to enjoy your University years since you’ll never get them back. 
  2. Don’t stress about grades so much. Grades are important, but they’re not the key factors to your future and success. 
  3. Take some time to work on personal projects and explore different technologies. You’ll understand what other people are talking about a lot more, and you’ll find your interests.