Apoorva Babu · May 13, 2020

Scaling to New Heights

Kevin Bheda’s journey from building gaming apps to creating impact at Gojek

After completing his 12th grade, Kevin Bheda was in a dilemma if he should take mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. The prospect of a career in computer science never even occurred to him. How would it? Growing up, he never had access to computers at home or at school. Now, a decade later he’s a Product Engineer in GoPay, one of Gojek’s core products.

What changed?

Coming from a humble background, Kevin didn’t have the luxury to attend a private school. There were no fancy classrooms or labs. Kevin never complained; he enjoyed his study time and graduated 12th grade with flying colours.

His only goal while choosing a career was to be financially independent. Would mechanical engineering do that? He was not very sure. He consulted everybody and figured Information Technology (IT) was booming irrespective of the then ongoing recession.

With no background in computer science, he took it upon his chin and decided to pursue a career in IT. He managed to get into one of the best colleges in Mumbai. To come up to speed, he joined a programming class during his first year of college. It was then that Kevin discovered Gmail, Facebook, Google and computer gaming. He was fascinated.

In college, he jumped on opportunities that promised learning. He, along with a group of friends, started building an android gaming app even before they owned a smartphone. This was the first time a group of people collaborated to write code for a single application. Albeit it didn’t work as planned, they learnt a fair deal about developing. This group went on to take a workshop on Android in college, teaching everybody what they had learnt. Over the past few months gave them a reassuring confidence boost. After this experience, he realized what he was studying in college was outdated. Classroom studying no longer gripped him.

Kevin aced all his practical exams and managed to scrape through theory. College was more than just a place to study for Kevin. He developed a passion for sports, that helped shape his overall personality.

In the third year of college, Kevin formed a group and participated in The Great Mind Challenge (TGMC) organized by IBM. They built a banking application using open source. The organizers appreciated the project, but they showed them some loopholes that needed improvement. This was his first taste of building an enterprise tech, and he knew he had to do more to make it in the real world.

Irrespective of having worked on projects, college placement was a series of disappointments. To keep busy and continue learning, Kevin took up an internship. He started applying to companies on the side, but nothing seemed to convert. He took the experience with a pinch of salt and decided to learn from the interviews. He kept at it and finally, he got an offer in a consulting startup. Here he got a chance to self learn new programming languages — Python, Linux, and also got access to AWS. This was a pivoting moment; he read books like — ‘Spring In Action’, ‘Clean Code’, among others, to strengthen his coding skills. In three years of working at the startup, he gradually mastered the art of writing clean code.

Now he was clear on what he wanted: a mentor, and a job where he can solve problems at scale. He started researching companies and stumbled upon C42 (a company acquired by Gojek) blogs. In the interview, he came to know that the company was now called Gojek. The interview process had many rounds, but he felt good. He carried home more than just a Gojek t-shirt that day: Positive feedback and a job offer.

He was the 6th person to join the GoPay team. Now, three years later he has seen the company scale to over 450+ GoTroops in India. During this time he climbed new heights not just professionally. He developed a passion for trekking and has gone on a Himalayan trek every year from when he started working at Gojek.

“Gojek gives developers a real-time experience of the impact that’s created by the products/ features you built. Seeing how your codes are changing lives, is a feeling like no other”, says Kevin.

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