My 1st year at Rakuten Car Auction team

Hi, this is Jaycen from Car Auction team. I joined Rakuten in April 2021 and worked on Car Auction team since August 2021.

Today, I’d like to share my experience at Car Auction team as the latest comer in the team.

Introduction
I came from China and went to Osaka University in 2018, majoring in Wi-Fi location with machine learning technology. After graduating, I joined Rakuten in Tokyo. Survived from 3-month OJT, I was assigned to ECID, Car Auction team. Working until now, I feel lucky to be able to join this group.

Car Auction team is one C2B service. We have 4 roles in our service, admin, inspector, seller, and buyer. As an incubation service, currently, our first purpose is to increase the number of sellers as much as possible.

For the tech side, our team uses mainly JavaScript, Vuejs in the frontend, and Nodejs in the backend. For deploying, we use CircleCI to develop it into the Google Cloud Platform.

Figure 1: Team services overview & some tools

 

How did I get started as a newcomer?

When I first came to this team, I did not so much experience with JavaScript and GCP as my major language is Python. So, I spent the 1st month learning new things. Thanks to my mentor Jackie-san, she points me some skills I need to know. So my learning path is like learning Vuejs, Vuex, GraphQL, Jest, and so on. It’s hard to learn everything we used in our group, but it would be better if I could have a basic concept in my mind before involving in it.

 

Besides developing, we also have SRE roles in our group. As there is limited RE in our groups, our on-call shift is tiny, but thanks to GCP, it’s quite stable. For the SRE thing, the knowledge I should have it’s like, Kubernetes, Docker, Istio, GCP compute engine, and so on.

Until now, I’m still challenging myself on involved in SRE things.

 

 

What did I do this one year?

 

Figure 2: Road path since I joined the team

After around 1 month leaning of basic knowledge, I could finally be involved in the real tasks. The working styles in our team it’s more like pair working for the large ticket, and individual working for the small ticket. As a newcomer to the team, I was paired up with different members at the beginning. Thanks to this shift, I could get familiar with the other members quickly and know the strengths of each member.

After several tickets to try, I got involved in one big project, the migration project. Our tech leader builds the structure for this project and turns out we need more API and 1 more backend microservice. I’m glad that I could involve in this project, I could try my learned knowledge into practice, such as how to build a new graphQL query and how to do documents and commutate with other members. 

The second interesting ticket I got is what we called AI ranking. This project is proposed by one of our engineers, and it’s aiming for giving suggestions of our old sales to the user via mail when the users registered their car on our side. This project is quite interesting, as I could re-use Python and my ML knowledge in work. Also, Rakuten has its own data science platform, so I could try a lot of things on it. Thanks to this project, I realize it’s not the tools but the methods important to solve it matters. 

Not only the developing tickets but also involved some of our SRE tickets. In our group, we use Istio to manage the traffic to our service. As our services are developed on GCP, the node-pool version keeps updating. We need to update our Istio frequently to make it stable. However, to update Istio on GCP, the investigation and confirmation are necessary. Along with a skillful SRE member in our team, I tried multiple commands on Kubernetes and sandbox. It’s not that difficult to work but I got the basic image of our service’s workflow and know what SRE things look like. This could increase my selection for my future career path.

 

Other

Learnings

The things I learned in the past 1 year, it’s not only the hard skills, but also the soft skills, such as preparing a Confluence page to share my points of investigation, and most importantly, confirm about the spec with PDMs when you are not certain about something, or else you might do useless works. Also, the end of development is not the end of that task, you have to catch it up even after releasing it, and so on. This past year really teaches me a lot about that.

Cross Osaka and Tokyo

Even though my working position is in Tokyo, most members of our group are in Osaka. Because of that, our team uses Zoom for meeting every day. But to increase the connection between our team, we could use the business trip to the other branch. However, as we all know, because of the COVID-19 situation, the long distances could be risky, I haven’t met all other members offline yet. But I guess the chance will come soon, can’t wait to meet them in Osaka.

Non-project day

The special event in our group is that there is one day, which we called non-project day, every 2 weeks. This day, we could use the day to learn anything we want that could help us grows. This is a good chance for us to improve our skills. And at the end of the day, we report our learning on Slack. Not only learning our things but also could have a slight knowledge of the other fields by observing what others shared.

In the End

EC Incubation Development department (ECID), which my team belongs in Rakuten, is good for foreigners like me to begin their career, not only the skills that you can learn here but also the working style and atmosphere. If you want to be one of the Rakutenians, you can refer to this page to find the best position for you, we are looking forward to seeing you around.

https://japan-job-en.rakuten.careers/search-jobs/ECID/31066/1 

Last but not least, I’d like to thank everyone on my team to help me out whenever I got into some trouble. They are all been very nice and kind to me even busy with their tasks.  Thanks for taking the time to get me on board, I’ll keep catching up with the others in the future.