Interview with Ankit Tomar, Co-Founder & CTO, Bizongo

We recently met with the Co-Founder and CTO of one of India’s leading online B2B startup – Bizongo, Ankit Tomar. Ankit is an IIT-Delhi graduate and worked for 3 years with Microsoft before founding Bizongo in 2015.
Bizongo is an online B2B marketplace founded by three IITians. They specialise in supplying packaging material to medium and large businesses. Offering a simple, scalable and convenient product, Bizongo is rewriting traditional ways of operations by enabling businesses to procure packaging online and from quality manufacturers. They raised round-A funding of INR 20 crore in 2016 from IDG Ventures and Accel Partners.   
Utkarsh from the UpGrad team talked to Ankit about the importance of software development and the skill sets needed by a software developer to make it big in today’s world.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

Q. Tell us about Bizongo and what role has tech played in its growth?

Bizongo stands for “Business-on-the-go,” it is a B2B e-commerce platform to help the business function seamlessly. We started off two and a half years ago and are a “technology first” company. Particularly in B2B, we focus on packaging and are a “one-stop-shop” for any packaging material that a medium or large business may need.
Our platform and technology have played a large part in our success, as it has allowed us to drive efficiency through the entire supply chain. As packaging is largely a customised business, it breeds a lot of inefficiencies in its process. However, our technical prowess and agility have helped us to create a scalable solution to give our partner brands a better opportunity to sell and market their products.
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Q. How has software development helped you grow your business?

Software development is the essence of what we do as a company. Software development cycle helps us to drive efficiency in our operations and create new products.
Our focus on tech can be known from the fact that our software development team is the biggest and most important internal team we have, as is the case with a lot of tech companies. The 18-member team is responsible for creating momentum in business through new products and product improvements.

Q. What is the background of the software developers currently working at Bizongo?

Of the 14 software developers that we have, 10 are working on the product’s backend while 4 others are working on the front-end. In terms of team structure, we have classified developers into 3 layers based on their experience in programming:

  • Software Developer-1: Entry level developers with no prior work experience in programming.
  • Software Developer-2: Developers with 1-2 years of prior experience in programming.
  • Senior developer: Developers with 4+ years of experience in programming.

Currently, we have 3 Senior developers, 5 Software developer-2 while the rest are Software Developer-1. We primarily look for a good attitude and the programming skill set of the developer prior to recruiting them for the team.

Q. How and where do you hire for your software development team? Any particular platforms you use.

Hiring, first of all, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a company. Hiring for software development at scale is the most difficult task. The applicant’s skill set needs to match both the company culture and also align with what you are aiming to build.
Currently, we primarily use AngelList for our recruiting needs, along with a few hiring agencies from time to time. We also recruit people who apply directly to the company via our ‘careers’ page.

Q. Do you have any advice for anyone who is looking to become a full-stack developer?

I would say it’s very important for them to stick to the basics and understand the logic behind software development rather than just keep running behind learning languages and frameworks.
The aim of a software developer should be to build scalable solutions that can be used by a large number of people. To achieve that, your basics should be clear. Be it basics of computer science, basics of software development, basics of software practices and so on; once the basics are in place it is very easy to translate the code in any given language.
How to Become a Full Stack Developer: Part 1

Q. Lastly, we would love to get your thoughts on the curriculum for the UpGrad PG Diploma in Software Development program with IIIT-B. How useful do you think would it be for any aspiring full-stack developer?

I feel the curriculum is very extensive and covers everything from the basics to concepts in backend and frontend technologies. It is structured very well and would be very helpful for anyone who’s looking to start off their career as a full-stack developer if they go through the program end-to-end.

What do you mean by Business to Business?

Business-to-Business, or B2B, is a model that companies use for conducting their businesses in such a way that they create products and services for other businesses, organisations, and charities. The primary part of business includes exchange of goods and services and contract with other other businesses for raw materials needed to create and manufacture a product. These businesses form an important part of the supply chain. In the B2B model, consumers are not a direct factor in transactions and are not involved in this stage of business activities.

What does a Software Developer do?

The job of a Software Developer is primarily focused on developing and testing softwares and meeting the needs of customers and clients. They also recommend and develop upgrades for existing applications, and create models and diagrams which show programmers the codes needed for applications. Software Developers also monitor quality and performance of applications through testing and maintenance. Additionally, they document all their work for future references as working on developing softwares can be difficult without precise data to guide you.

What are the steps involved in the software development process?

The software development process is made up of a number of steps which involves selecting a methodology to establish a framework, gathering requirements to understand and document the user needs, building an architecture within which the software operates, developing a design, constructing code, and testing it with pre-planned scenarios, among other things. These steps of the software development process fit into application lifecycle management (ALM), which recycles itself to enable continuous improvement. A crucial part of the software development process is maintenance and support, without which the software may not work to the best of its capacity. For best results, each of these steps should be followed so that the chances of error can be minimised.

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