The beginning

Exactly today (Janury 20th, 2020), it’s my second year at Bukalapak. This made me think back about all the experiences and knowledge that I gained.

Before working at Bukalapak, I worked at one of the FMCG companies as an IT developer for about a year. While there, I realized that I wanted to be freer to experiment or be independent in building projects that had more impact.

That moment started when my friend asked me to join Bukalapak. At that time he had joined as a mobile apps developer. He tells how the little things he does can have an impact on millions of Bukalapak users.

When I decided to leave my previous company, I started tidying up my resume and portfolio, and submitting them to their careers page. Three weeks, one online test, two pretty tough interviews, then an acceptance letter, and then I was standing at Bukalapak’s door to start the first day of the most amazing journey of my career.

Onboarding with friends who join at the same time
Onboarding with friends who join at the same time

The first day I joined, I was surprised that one of the core values at Bukalapak, going the extra mile, was actually implemented. I remember when on the second day I just joined, my product manager assigned me to fix a bug on the BPJS kesehatan payment page. Instead of fixing bugs, my seniors suggested rewriting the code of the page with the latest technology implemented in Bukalapak. I’ve never written Vue in my life. But a few days later after the code I wrote was working in local and in the staging environment, my PM said “Sip, deploy!”. At first I wasn’t sure, but after rolling out to production, I realized that I’ve just made it easier for millions of Bukalapak customers to be able to easily pay their BPJS Kesehatan premiums through our platform.

When I look back, Bukalapak’s core values make it a great and dynamic place to work for learning.

Gotong royong


Five months after I joined, Bukalapak held a hackathon for its internal employees. Not only product engineers, but all employees from various divisions are allowed to participate. For the first time, Bukalapak not only held a hackathon, but also a testathon and designathon. The three events are named Hack-a-Fun.

Hack-a-Fun which lasted for three days freed us from the routine of work to innovate. The purpose of this event is to find interesting ideas that Bukalapak can use. Even more fun, during those three days there were lots of food and fun games that brought us closer to each other.

I participated in a hackathon, and we made a bot to order one of the contemporary coffees via a telegram chat.

My first bot in telegram
My first bot in telegram

Speak up!

A few weeks after I joined, the Bukalapak frontend team held regular weekly meetings. The event can be said to be like an internal tech talk that discusses the developing frontend technology.

At the end of the session, there was an introduction session for all frontend engineers who had just joined that week.

The ogther FEs and I who introduce themselves
The ogther FEs and I who introduce themselves

Not only frontend, each engineering division also has its own regular tech-talk show. Bukalapak encourages its engineers to be able to express their opinions in public, or within their internal team.

Of course, when we express our opinions, we don’t talk carelessly. It is much better if we speak accompanied by evidence in the form of data or other things so that the discussion or conversation that occurs is constructive or leads to a solution and not looking for or cornering the party who feels wrong.

Customer obsessed

Bukalapak is here to solve the problems that are being faced by the community. Whatever is our responsibility, we must have the mindset that whatever we do is for the good of the customer. KPI numbers are important, but having empathy by placing us as startup users is equally important.

Even though I work as an engineer, Bukalapak encourages me and other employees to empathize with our customers. Bukalapak customers can come from anywhere. It could be our parents, our friends, our partners, and people who know that we work at Bukalapak. If a customer complains to us about their transaction at Bukalapak, we are obliged to escalate to the relevant channel, even though the complaint has nothing to do with our work.

Go the extra mile

The product development process here uses the agile process with the scrum method. When I first entered Bukalapak, I was quite roaming with the language and terms they used.

There are daily standups, groomings, retrospectives, and other scrum terms that are still new to my ears. From my confusion at the time, I noted a few points that I thought were important.

  • Sprints are the heart of the scrum. In Bukalapak, the time used for one sprint is two weeks.
  • At the beginning of each sprint, we do sprint planning. The goal is to plan the task or story that we will work on in the sprint.
  • In each sprint, we determine the sprint goal that should ideally be achieved in that sprint.
  • Throughout the sprint, we held daily standup meetings for approximately 15 minutes. This meeting aims to review the tasks or stories in the sprint.
  • At the end of the sprint, we do a retrospective, sprint review, and grooming.
  • In the retrospective session, we review the performance of the sprints we have gone through before. This session is expected to improve the performance of the next sprint.

Try, fail, and try again

Bukalapak engineers have the freedom to experiment. The company gives a sense of comfort to try and they also make the most of it. Even though sometimes what we do doesn’t go smoothly, at least we get a lesson from it.

Bukalapak has high standards in recruiting its engineers. So that the engineers who enter are chosen and dedicated people. They come from well-known campuses, not only in the country, even the diaspora.

The best perks built by Bukalapak are not free lunches every day, flexible work hours, entertainment budgets, or even high salaries. The best prks built in Bukalapak are the culture and freedom to learn, not to be scolded if you make a mistake, given the trust that you just graduated can make giant-scale products, and qualified co-workers who can make us learn from each other.