Meet Kaiju: Waqas Ajaz, Lead Front-end Developer
Kaiju has provided me with full freedom to design and develop its platform. At other companies, there are restrictions that limit a developer's imagination. At Kaiju, I am able to be creative whilst solving problems.
At Kaiju Capital Management, we have what we like to call a “deep bench.” Unshackled by modern technology, we choose from the best in the world. Our professionals span multiple time zones and continents, connected at all times by a cutting-edge digital infrastructure.
In July, we introduced you to Albi Gjino, who calls Albania home. This month, we’ll shift continents and hemispheres to meet Waqaz Ajaz, who lives and works in Punjab, Pakistan. Waqas is Kaiju’s lead front-end developer and a seasoned technology professional.
Prior to his role at Kaiju, Waqas worked with the scripting language PHP and the web application framework Ruby on Rails; he developed multiple apps, trained teams, and wrote a lot of code. He also collaborated with developers and researchers to create hiring solutions powered by artificial intelligence. In August 2019, Waqas joined the Kaiju team.
We asked him to go into detail about his process, his philosophy, and why working at Kaiju gives him the opportunity to do work that really matters.
Q. Where did you grow up? What was your upbringing like?
A. I was born in the small city of Sahiwal in Pakistan. My father was a building contractor and my mother was a housewife. I have one older and two younger brothers. We were a lower-middle-class family and our resources were very limited, but my parents were very conscientious about our studies.
They provided us with the best possible education. My father taught me math and science early in the mornings before leaving for work, and I developed a sound understanding of science at a young age.
Q. How do you develop sophisticated user interfaces (UI) for traders who lack extensive technology backgrounds?
A. During my undergraduate studies, I took a course in human computer interaction, which taught me how to design user-friendly interfaces. When designing UIs for traders, my goal is to create an intuitive process, one that helps them perform their jobs more efficiently without having to learn complex new processes.
Q. How did you get into this type of work? Was it a long-term goal?
A. I wanted to study civil engineering in college, but couldn’t afford a four-year engineering program. Fortunately, I got a scholarship and received a computer science degree from the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Pakistan. After graduation, I started working for local companies.
I quickly found that I was well suited to the field. My first job was as a software engineer. I worked with a team of developers and engineers who praised my capabilities and my technological comprehension. This gave me a huge confidence boost, and I started aiming for higher goals.
Q. How did you come to Kaiju Capital Management?
A. After working at local companies for a few years, l became interested in working remotely for U.S. startups. They provide opportunities to work with the latest tools and technologies, and they pay you in U.S. dollars. This allowed me to save a lot of money, and to provide my family with a better quality of life.
In 2019, I had the opportunity to interview with Kaiju. David Schooley, the Chief Technology Officer, told me of his ambition to develop a trading platform using the latest tools and technologies. I loved the idea and took the job.
Q. Has Kaiju given you opportunities to do things that other companies might not? If so, what are they?
A. Kaiju has provided me with full freedom to design and develop its platform. At other companies, there are restrictions that limit a developer's imagination. At Kaiju, I am able to be creative whilst solving problems.
Other companies have a hierarchy of technical leads who enforce specific ways of doing things. At Kaiju, they give me the liberty to design and develop in my own way. As a result, I am able to get the best out of myself.
Q. How do you develop user interfaces (UI) for non-technical professionals? What are the key components?
A. Whilst designing the user interface (UI), I imagine myself as the end user. In this case, that would be the traders, so I try to think from their perspective. It is designed to be intuitive, so traders spend less time searching for a button or menu item and more time trading.
Q. Where do you see Kaiju headed in the next few years? What role do you envision for yourself?
A. I think Kaiju will progress rapidly. I’ve seen the company grow from two people to nearly 30. We are consistently making progress, developing solid sets of tools and technologies to predict or assess the market. These tools will help our portfolio grow and attract more investors.
Technically speaking, Kaiju’s software infrastructure will become more stable and less prone to error. As a front-end lead, I see myself building a bigger team and contributing more in other domains. Kaiju is planning to add more features to help traders become even more efficient and effective. We’re also moving toward more generic UIs which can cater to multiple operations.
Q. How do Kaiju’s practices stand out from those of other companies?
Not only does Kaiju give developers creative freedom but our management also listens to and trusts employees. Kaiju does not put pressure on us to do things quickly, but focuses always on quality over quantity.
Photo by Ricky Flores
Daniel Bukszpan's reporting and commentary on finance, technology, and politics has been published in Fortune, The Daily Beast, CNBC.com, and other outlets. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.