Life as a Front-End Engineer at HENNGE: An Interview with Henry Lie
At HENNGE, we believe cloud technology should be a world where inspiration and innovation happily collide. So let’s get inspired and meet Henry Lie. Hailing from the bustling city of Surabaya, Indonesia, Henry now works at HENNGE’s headquarters in Shibuya with a passion for spicy food, a knack for mechanical keyboards, and a love for the land of the rising sun, Japan!
Read on for a peek into Henry’s life as Jazman Barizi (Jazz) from the Engineering Talent Acquisition team sits down with him to get first-hand insights into what life is really like as a front-end engineer at HENNGE. Discover the collaborative culture, the freedom to innovate, and the opportunities that await should you be thinking about taking that next step in your own career.
The Role of a Front-End Engineer
Hi Henry! Let’s start with a quick intro. Where are you from and what are some fun facts about you?
Hello everyone. So I’m Henry Lie from Indonesia, specifically Surabaya city. Fun facts? Well, I love spicy food, mechanical keyboards and living in Japan!
Spicy food? Huh. That’s actually why I left Indonesia! Ok so how would you describe your job to someone that doesn’t know anything about it?
This is something I struggle with when my mom asks me what I do at work. If I just say “front-end engineer” she has no idea what that means. Basically, I’m working on the public-facing part of a website or web app. For example, every post you make on a site like Facebook or Twitter (X) is stored on a server. But as a front-end engineer I don’t work with the server. I’m focused on how that post is sent to your browser and presented to you as the user.
Front-End Engineering in a B2B Landscape
We focus on cloud security with HENNGE One, so how would you say working at HENNGE specifically affects the kinds of responsibilities your job has?
Right, it’s an important distinction. At HENNGE we’re selling a B2B product so it’s immediately a different demographic. A lot of front-end engineers will start out on B2C projects for things that need to be easily searchable by Google, but we’re working on products within HENNGE for customers who are already familiar with our product and have a contract to use our services. In practical terms, this means we’re paying closer attention to things like stability to ensure that those already relying on our services can continue to work seamlessly.
A Glimpse into the Daily Life of a Front-End Engineer
Interesting how you describe the differences between B2B and B2C for front-end engineers. What does that look like as a normal day in your life?
It typically starts with a daily stand-up meeting to catch up with team members on what we’re working on and raise any issues. We have scheduled meetings with the design and product marketing management teams to discuss longer-term goals, and then get together when it’s helpful to dive into a specific new feature.
For my software development tasks, these usually cover new feature development, updates to existing features, bugfixes, reviewing others’ code, and making weekly releases. But, by design, this varies for each team at HENNGE.
Embracing Flexibility and Knowledge Sharing
So teams have flexibility to work in different ways?
Yes. It’s about having the freedom to choose the right tools and approach that work best for each team and individual. As front-end engineers, we are not constricted to one framework. We might use Vue or React to deliver tasks like building new features or fixing bugs. The cool thing is that knowledge sharing is actively encouraged. For example, we hold monthly open discussion meetups where front-end engineers can share case studies of what has worked well in an informal way that still ensures we’re always learning, evolving, and improving. There is also another session for general knowledge sharing about technology that is open to everyone in the company, but it doesn’t have to be about work-related technology. I mentioned that I like mechanical keyboards, right? Well, I’ve also given talks about that, which often lead to some fun discussions with other mechanical keyboard users.
I remember those sessions! So if each team is free to choose and everyone has a say, who makes the decisions?
It’s a natural process. For example, maybe we’ve gotten used to doing something a certain way but a team member thinks there may be a better approach. They can pitch their idea to the whole team and if the majority agree it can be put into effect there and then. Rather than go through a lengthy approval process, we can just try it out first. If it works, we keep it. If it doesn’t, we review and adjust.
Equal Opportunity for All
And this freedom to pitch new ideas applies to everyone, even newcomers?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s most common when new team members join. They might have a totally different experience from their previous job, or if they are a new-grad they may bring a fresh perspective that we haven’t considered before. Everyone’s input has equal value from the get-go.
A Culture of Collaboration
Interesting. So it’s not a top-down structure?
Exactly. Another example that makes HENNGE different is that we also do peer reviews of each other’s code. It’s a good way to not only ensure that everything is up to standard, but also a chance to discuss openly if we have different opinions on how something can be done. This peer review works both ways. Not only will a team leader review newcomers’ code, new members also get to review the team leader’s code, so it’s definitely a flatter structure, which I feel empowers every team member to shine.
Incorporating New Technologies
How does this apply to implementing new technologies?
HENNGE has a lot of key products already serving many customers, so of course, we have to be careful before jumping into a new technology. However, the same approach applies. We will openly review the pros and cons. For example, if the team agrees to adopting a new technology but thinks that it will take too much time to finish, we try to break it up into smaller bite-size tasks. That way we can still make incremental shifts that integrate new technologies while minimizing the risk of any unforeseen errors or incompatibilities affecting he existing product. So far this has been working really well for us.
'Eating the Unripe Fruits'
This relates to HENNGE’s culture of ‘eating the unripe fruits,’ right? Just because a new technology may not be perfect today, if we keep improving it, we can reap the benefits tomorrow.
Yes! Actually, I have a story about that. We’ve always been using Vue and React, and I was asked to help bootstrap a new front-end project. I’ve been learning a lot myself about a new framework called Svelte that looked interesting. Starting a new project seemed like a good chance to try it out so I consulted with the team. After sharing why I thought it would be a good fit for the project, everyone agreed and we’re now using it successfully in this new project.
Team Mobility and Career Growth
Awesome – so now that project has become your baby! And how flexible is HENNGE when it comes to changing teams? Is it common for staff to move around if they see some new technology or project they want to get involved in?
It depends on the individual but as a company there are systems in place like the Talent Mapping survey, which includes questions to help match your skills and interests with the best team. I know a back-end engineer who wanted to try a new opportunity and was able to move to a front-end team. If there are clear benefits for both the old and new team then it can be done.
Japan's Seasons and Spicy Adventures
Alright final fun question. You said you love living in Japan, so which is your favorite season?
I would have to say either spring or fall. The city becomes extra beautiful at those times with sakura cherry blossom and red leaves, and that’s when it’s not too hot and not too cold.
And can you find that spicy food you love so much?
Well sometimes the menu says it’s spicy when it really isn’t so you have to know where to go. I guess readers will have to join, and then I’ll share the secrets!
That wraps up this glimpse into the world of front-end engineering at HENNGE through Henry's eyes, but we hope it has inspired you to consider your journey.
If you're keen to be part of a dynamic, collaborative, and innovative team, now is the time to take action. Search our front-end engineer opportunities at recruit.hennge.com/en/ today and begin your own adventure with us.
Your future awaits and who knows, next time it could be you inspiring others to take their first steps.