Talk to a Tykling: Komal Sukhani, Go Developer

Meet the team – getting to know Komal Sukhani, Go Developer

Tyk’s team of Tyklings deliver an API and service management platform that allows businesses around the world to operate more efficiently and effectively. We inspire innovation and evolution in sectors ranging from tourism to finance.

But who are these Tyklings who commit their time and energy to making Tyk what it is? Where did we find them and what makes them tick?

Our Talk to a Tykling interview series shines a spotlight on each and every member of our talented team, providing insights into life behind the scenes at Tyk. Today, we’ve grilled Go Developer Komal Sukhani on everything from what it’s like to be the only female employee in a tech team to why so many companies struggle to trust their remote workers.

What do you do at Tyk?

I am a Go Developer at Tyk. Go is the primary language that we use for almost all of our projects. Initially my work was focused on the Tyk gateway but recently we’ve launched a new product – the Tyk Cloud – so I’m working on that right now.

Will the Tyk Cloud benefit existing users or just new users?

It will benefit everyone. New users will be onboarded on the new cloud platform, while existing users can opt to migrate to it.

Do Tyk’s developers all work in the same time zone or are you dotted around the world?

I work from India, so I’m a couple of hours ahead of the rest of the team.

Do you work remotely from home, from coffee shops or from any other locations (lockdown aside)?

Previously I was working from a co-working space, but right now I’m working from home due to the pandemic, like so many people. I am looking forward to going back to the co-working space once everything is back to normal.

What do you enjoy about being based in a co-working space?

At home, you don’t have much interaction with new people. You’re just stuck at home working and there’s no separation between your professional life and your personal life. So time just passes by and then you realise you haven’t stepped outside all day!

Is there a particular pain point in the tech industry that you would love to be able to fix?

If you consider the situation in India, you’ll see that remote working is still not very common here. Of course, right now everyone has to work from home but it’s still not really accepted by many employers. If I talk to my friends who are working from home because of the pandemic, they have to do things like stay logged into a Zoom call for the entire day. Their employers don’t trust their employees – perhaps because they’re not used to the remote working arrangement.

I wish that remote working was freely accepted so that companies didn’t feel they had to monitor their employees; so that they could just trust them. I can’t imagine having to log in at 9.30 every morning and having a meeting turned on all day. It’s creating network issues for one thing and is such an imposition on people who have to stay connected all day.

Companies aren’t used to this style of working. I wish that the situation could change and that companies could trust their employees more. When you spend so much time on your work and it’s such a major part of your life, it’s not good to feel that you’re not trusted.

How does Tyk differ from that style of remote work?

I just love working for Tyk. There is so much freedom and they think so much about their employees. If someone is working at the weekend or late at night, for example, colleagues will pop up and tell you to log off slack and enjoy some downtime. The company puts so much energy into thinking about employees and about team bonding.

It’s often very difficult in a remote job to bond with people. You can feel very lonely and not know who to talk to. In Tyk, even from the start of the onboarding process this is addressed. You have a buddy to help you settle in and you can talk to them about anything and everything. It makes for a very smooth introduction to remote working.

What tips would you give to a new starter working for a remote-first organisation for the first time?

Initially you might feel lonely, but that’s entirely normal. Talk to someone and share your problems – don’t hesitate about asking questions.

Having a schedule helps too. You can use it to take back control of your life and make the best of all that time you save through not having to commute!

Can you give us a quick run-down of your background and career to date?

I did my bachelor’s degree in India, in Kolhapur. After that I moved to another city – Pune– because there weren’t that many IT opportunities in Kolhapur. My first job wasn’t remote and was based on totally different technology than I’m working with now. After a year and a half there, I moved to another company. It was a remote company but the product that I was working on was never launched, so it wasn’t a long engagement.

My next job was with a company working on blockchain technology, which was totally new at the time. When that company was acquired by another, I found the position at Tyk on the GO Lang Slack channel. I applied for it and have now been here for nearly two years.

What do you particularly like about working at Tyk?

The freedom and the flexibility. You can choose the times that you work. I also love the way that Tyk treats people. It’s not just a series of decisions coming from a boardroom. You’re given the freedom to contribute your own ideas to the decisions that are made.

The tech industry in the UK is very male-dominated. Is that the same in India?

Definitely. When I joined my first company, there were no female techies there. There were two women in the company, but they were working on a totally different project. So on my first day I came into the office and found my manager wasn’t there. Nobody helped me to settle in or introduced me to anyone. I wasn’t even told things like what time lunch was. Nobody was interacting. They weren’t at all comfortable with the idea of there being a girl there!

My friend had a similar experience, where she was the only woman in her company. Luckily our offices were very close to each other, so we used to have lunch together. We made the best of it, but it wasn’t a very welcoming experience.

We’re helping to change things though. When I left that first company, I had impressed my manager enough that he hired a few more women to work in the office.

What are the values that drive you? What’s important to you?

I feel that you should be able to stand up to your mistakes and accept them. You won’t be able to improve unless you do.

Teamwork is also really important. Even if someone has made a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. You can scold them but you should also work with them to fix the situation. That’s important to me.

What are your three favourite books and/or podcasts?

I’m not into podcasts. In terms of books, my first choice would be Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Second would be The Kite Runner. I also read some books in my native language, so my third choice would be Swami.

Siddhartha is very spiritual. It’s about a person’s journey through Buddhism as he tries to reach God through strategies like meditation. When he feels that nothing is happening, he moves to living a normal life. Then he meets a person who is rowing a boat and spends time with him and he finds his God in the river.

The Kite Runner is about a boy who was harassed and manipulated. He was abused in front of his friend, but his friend never supported him. Then he met his son and saved him from being abused.

My third choice is a historical novel. It’s about a warrior in Maharashtra.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to go for hikes and I also enjoy doing yoga.