Software Engineers to The Power of X: Kingdom Orjiewuru

As part of the Power of X Campaign, we’re showcasing some of Andela’s software engineers and the exciting projects they’re working on for Andela’s partner companies. This series shows how the work software engineers do impacts not just the companies’ bottom line, but the lives of users. Interviews have been transcribed and edited to fit into blog posts.

Andela's team member

Kingdom Orjiewuru:

Senior Software Engineer at AndelaTech Stack: JavaScript/PRENProject: Building A Recommendation Engine for a Financial Services Company

Tell us about The Work You Did

In January 2018, I got assigned to a financial services company, headquartered in New York City, working to solve the massive student loan crisis by offering lower rates and simpler options to students looking to take out loans to finance their education. I worked with the team for one year.I was on the Frontend Engineering Team, and I worked as a distributed member of the team. Our task was to build in-house products/applications to replace the third-party tool being used for undergrad and MBA loan applications. It’s easily one of my favorite teams I’ve been a part of in my career so far, because of the bond, support and work ethic we all shared.

Shed some light on the Recommendation Engine You worked on.

While I worked on a couple of other things in that one-year period, the Recommendation Engine project was my personal favorite for a few reasons - and we’ll get to that.First off, let’s talk about how the loan application process worked before the Recommendation Engine was implemented. Applicants typically got served a variety of loan plans to choose from, based on the information that they’ve provided. For some applicants, though, there was still some element of ambiguity with regards to what the best plans are for them, given their circumstances. We had to optimize the process so that our applicants get the best plans tailored to their unique needs. That’s what the Recommendation Engine was designed to fix.Working on the Recommendation Engine was both a challenging and exciting endeavor. It was challenging in the sense that I had to go beyond working only on user stories in the task, to learning about the business - how the loan offerings were generated, how the users made loan choices and a lot of jargon associated with lending. I also had to collaborate with other engineers outside my team and work very closely with the designer to build the perfect experience for users on web and mobile. It was fairly intense work, but very exciting for me.The Recommendation Engine has since been implemented and the loan application process on the website is way more optimal than it used to be. Applicants now get served a more efficient and tailor-made list of plans based on the info they provide and preferred choices. One major noticeable effect we noticed after implementing the engine was an increase in bookings, as more applicants felt more confident about taking out loans.Each time I think of how many more people are able to, because of that project, apply for and get loans to go to college or go do an MBA, as part of a life-long dream, I always feel truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work on something that makes a lot of difference in people’s lives. I am currently working on a new team with a different Partner company, and I’m excited about the new challenges we’re working on solving for our users as well.

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