Maddy is a UI/UX Engineer in the Leisure Product Department.
About my current role
Working in the Leisure Product Department, I’m in charge of front-end development for Rakuten Horse Racing. I primarily use three different coding languages while renewing parts of our site to make it even easier to use.
As a UI/UX engineer I need to translate designs into code, so it is important for me to have basic design knowledge, as well as ensure smooth communication with the members of the design team. The combination of both the technical and the creative is what makes this work so exciting for me.
I also have a secondary position on the Event Facilitator Team. In this role I emcee the weekly company-wide meetings (which are known as Asakai), as well as a variety of other company events.
Sharpening my skills
My team has weekly meetings where we share things we have recently learned, and sometimes we implement the newly acquired knowledge into actual projects. This enables us to improve our skills while working alongside our colleagues. There are also online learning platforms which we have free access to, so I often take advantage of those as well. My field is constantly evolving, so it’s invigorating for me to be able to update my skills in a way that lets me keep up with those changes.
Also, because my team members come from a variety of nationalities, backgrounds and fields, I think it’s important to convey my ideas in such a way that anyone can easily understand. So I’m also working on my communication skills.
I want to continuously strive for the next level, not just as an engineer, but as an engineer who is adept at communicating in both Japanese and English.
What makes working at Rakuten special?
I’m given freedom to get creative at work, and am able to be true to myself, so there are many opportunities for me to use my unique skills to their full potential. For example, I transfer the public speaking skills I gain from my emcee work into my engineering work as well.
As one of the speakers at our internal Front-end Conference, I was able to share my knowledge across the whole company. The event sparked multiple horizontal connections between engineers, and I consider it to be one of the most interesting and meaningful experiences of my career so far.
Also, as a member of the Rakuten LGBT+ Network*, I participated in the 2019 Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade. Over 100 Rakuten employees joined us to show their support! I couldn’t stop smiling, because I was filled with pride – not only as an LGBT individual, but also as a Rakuten employee.
Careers at Rakuten
My aim is to become a front-end expert, well-known both within and outside of Rakuten. I want to strengthen support for web accessibility** across Rakuten, creating web services that are easy for everyone to use. I would also like to be seen as an engineer who is trusted not just for my technical acumen but for my communication skills as well.
I often consult with my manager and team members about my career. Human Resources readily assisted me when I transferred departments to further develop my career and when I applied for permanent residency in Japan. The work culture at Rakuten makes it easy to reach out to people anytime, and because of that, I feel like I have a strong support system in place.
How many projects do you handle in a given year?
Approximately 10 to 20. The projects can take anywhere from a month to a whole year to complete, depending on the size of the project.
Compared to companies you’ve worked for in the past, how is Rakuten different?
Rakuten offers more opportunities for career advancement. Also, the importance placed on diversity was one of the major factors in my decision to work at Rakuten. As a woman, a foreign resident and a member of the LGBT community, I feel that Rakuten is a comfortable place to work.
Do you participate in any Rakuten clubs or networks?
I’m an active member of the LGBT+ Network and the Outdoor Club.
* The affiliation and contents of the article are based on the contents at the time of the interview.
* LGBT: abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. While “LGBT+” was selected for the network’s name, it is inclusive of sexual orientations and gender identities.
**Web content designed and developed to be accessible for people with disabilities.
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