When you meet Alex, the first thing you will notice is his smile. In fact, when asked what he wants to be remembered for – he said “my infectious smile”. And we agree
At Least one of the things he will be remembered for.
What most people might remember Alex for is his role in providing in leading the technical delivery of a checkout solution -one of it’s kind at that time- that is powering digital payments for airlines such as Kenya Airways, Emirates and Ethiopia Airlines.
Alex joined Cellulant shortly after university as a Junior Engineer.
After getting a degree in Computer science, he wanted to go into a field where he would be able to solve problems and see the impact firsthand. This was his motivation for joining Cellulant-he says. Just a few months after joining, he was pulled into a project where he became the engineer behind the first checkout integration done for a global merchant.
This is where, as he recalls, he learned the meaning of resilience- and that no matter how talented you are, not only do you need a strong team, but resilience is your most important superpower.
Driving Towards Borderless Payments in Africa
When asked how he defines his role, Alex says he sees himself as the guy who is opening Africa’s borders by delivering a seamless payment platform.
Naturally- we leaned in a little to find out more here. This is certainly not your regular techie.
Prompted further on what he means- he says “Africa, in more ways than one, has become borderless. In return, African Consumers and businesses are continuously looking for a better way to pay and move their money across borders. This is what we need to solve for.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Growing as an engineer in Africa
Homegrown talent is key to successfully build and deliver great products that respond to the needs of both businesses and their consumers in Africa.
From a junior engineer, Alex is now a Software engineer whose missions still stands true:- to deliver borderless payments for Africa.
Asked what he would advise any engineer who wants to work in payments- he gives two tips:-
- Growth is an individual responsibility but a team sport
One scenario Alex cites as one of his best moments at Cellulant is collaborating with the global payments team and the core team to deliver payments for Airlines in Africa and the results speak for themselves.
He attributes the ability to deliver great results to the need to continually stretch yourself, upskilling and most importantly relying on the team to push you to be a better version of yourself. “I have been challenged at Cellulant to push beyond what I thought was possible. Our mantra here is “make possible” and at every turn, my skills have been utilised to deliver solutions that most days began on paper. There is no way that one is able to do this without relying on their team- and mine has been good at keeping me on my toes.”
2. Finding the right mentors
Depending on your personal and professional network, you likely have countless options for potential mentors. However, it’s best to choose someone who truly understands your area of expertise and your career path. Finding the right mentors is key to growing. Alex attributes influence to his career growth to his former lecturer Dr Elizaphan Maina who in his first year nudged him towards being more serious about software development. At work, his direct managers have been instrumental in identifying gaps and how best to work on them. “Sometimes you don’t know your own gaps, so it helps to have people around you both at work and outside of work who help you identify and work on them,” Alex says.