This Professionals series showcases talented experts who support PayPay Group’s operations.
This time, we interviewed Shinichi Kodama, a back-end engineer and leader of the System Development Department in the System Division. We discussed his reasons for choosing PayPay and the rewards he finds in his current role, among other topics.
Leader of Tech1, System Development Department, System Division, Corporate Group
After graduating from university, I worked for a SIer in my hometown of Nagano, Japan, where I spent four years developing sales management systems and production management systems. I later moved to Tokyo and spent about two and a half years primarily engaged in system development for the retail industry. From 2006 onwards, I worked at a web services company for approximately 17 years, involved in the development and operation of advertising systems and travel websites. I joined PayPay in 2022.
The challenge is to achieve a balance between speed and security
Please tell us your journey leading up to joining PayPay?
After graduating from university, I worked in system development as a SIer. However, I wanted to be involved in development closer to the service aspect, starting from the upstream processes, so in 2006 I switched jobs and joined a web services company. In my previous position, I was involved in the development and operation of advertising systems and travel websites for about 17 years.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was rethinking my work-life balance and while searching for a company where I could work remotely from my parent’s home, I was attracted to PayPay because I could use my development experience to contribute to business growth. At my previous job, I had been mainly focused on improving legacy systems, but I heard that at PayPay’s System Division, many projects are developed rapidly and from scratch. I decided to join PayPay because I wanted to gain experience in development from scratch.
What kind of work are you currently engaged in?
I am a team leader for the development of screening and risk management systems such as eKYC (a system to complete identity verification on the PayPay app), merchant screening, and filtering, among other systems related to internal operations. As the leader of Tech1, the backend engineering team of the System Development Department, I am responsible for project promotion, development practices, and operation/maintenance, while collaborating with various teams such as the product team and Salesforce.
Since we handle customer and merchant information, it is necessary to consider not only the workflow, but also the security and handling of such information in the system configuration. Speed is always required, and handling users’ personal information safely is essential. The level of difficulty is very challenging.
What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered?
The increase in screening items led to an increase in batch processing, resulting in longer release times and increased post-development workload. To address this, we reviewed the batch configuration and release procedures, allowing us to complete tasks that previously took over six hours within three hours. This reduction in post-release issues and smoother workflow amid new tasks have made a significant difference.
Understanding the system architecture
What kind of development structure and development cycle do you follow in your work?
While each person is engaged in their respective systems, we collaborate on projects while understanding the configuration and structure of each other’s system integration. If necessary, we also collaborate with the business departments to expedite development.
As for the development cycle, instead of developing rigid structures, we can work together with stakeholders to create rules for the operations of the System Development Department. While some believe that engineers should focus on development, PayPay provides an environment where they can learn a wide range of knowledge in this way.
What are the current challenges your team is facing?
With the rapid expansion of our business and the increase in new members, we feel that we need to improve our documentation, as it is easy to take time to catch up on system configuration and business knowledge. We are working on formatting, progress check flow, and gradually accumulating knowledge to establish a system that allows smooth catch-up even in a fully remote environment.
What do you find rewarding and interesting in your current job?
Being involved in system development for the operational efficiency of the services we provide, we can gain a better understanding of our services. It can also contribute to the company’s profit generation by reducing costs through improved operational efficiency. In this respect, there is a different sense of accomplishment from system development on the service user side.
It is also rewarding to be able to be involved in development that affects people’s lives in a wide range of areas, such as the eKYC system, which is not directly visible to users of the service.
An environment where you can grow with the organization and services
What do you value in your work at PayPay?
“Be Sincere To be Professional”
I think it is important to approach projects with a professional attitude, considering not only safety but also post-release operations and ongoing development without compromising on details, while valuing a sense of speed.
What would you like to accomplish or try in the future?
Various operations on the business side are often not yet systematized, or even if they are, they are often conducted by switching back and forth between various tools. I want to continue to create systems to reduce the burden on these operational staff.
As an organization, we aim to create an environment where system developers can focus on development while actively exploring new technologies.
Finally, what would you like to say to the readers?
Even if you don’t have experience in the FinTech industry, I think you can make use of your experience in system development if you break it down by system and individual function. In addition, since we are in a phase of growth both as an organization and as a service, you may be given primary responsibility for a specific system immediately after joining the company, which naturally provides many growth opportunities. We are also considering improvements to the development cycle, so you will have the opportunity to make proposals based on your experience and promote their implementation.
We are looking forward to hearing from those who want to make use of such opportunities to work independently and grow alongside the organization.
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*Recruitment status and employee affiliations are correct at the time of the interview.