Women at Rakuten: Kaya
A.I. Product Supervision Department
Technology Services Division
Experiencing the satisfaction of being an engineer in an interactive environment on a daily basis
As a member of the Search Service Group, I oversee the implementation of measures that support the search engine (GSP) used in Rakuten services and improve search results. My main duties are consulting on the optimization of our search engine, but I also create and edit settings files and verify the effects of changes to those files. Since we handle data for the myriad of services offered by Rakuten, not just the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace but also Rakuten Books and Rakuten Rakuma, I collaborate closely with many different business teams.
In my previous job, I oversaw the implementation of search engines in a company with around ten employees. I decided to make the move to Rakuten because I only had partial involvement in operations. For me, the chance to handle the Rakuten Ecosystem’s dynamic data and tackle projects while communicating with various departments was a major draw.
Rakuten takes a proactive approach to leaving things to the discretion of its employees. For example, for the periodic upgrades that we make to the GSP, I was able to lead performance checks when setting up new engine versions after only six months at the company. Having the entire process left in my hands, from service roll-out to post-release analysis, is challenging but satisfying. Being able to grow as an engineer through my work and enhancing my career are attractive benefits of working at Rakuten.
Search functionality is an integral process in the measures we deploy on websites. However, when analyzing KPIs relating to search functionality, interpretations of the definition and tracking of KPIs can differ from service to service. The department that oversees analysis and the duties involved often tend to be vague. Search functionality considerably affects user experience (UX). My current goal is to become an employee who can take the valuable data accumulated by the Rakuten Group and use it to contribute to search-related analysis.
A full range of support programs that enrich our work environment
Rakuten is a place where there is no shortage of “learning.” There is a full range of support programs such as online learning services that provide opportunities for study. I am currently working on improving my analytical skills by using those programs. The corporate culture at Rakuten, which fosters an environment where both company and teams come together to support employees’ personal growth, is very reassuring.
Another support program I frequently use is “R-Social,” through which the company provides monetary assistance for holding team-building events. Thanks to R-Social, I have been able to build great relations with my team, despite us not always working in the office at the same time.
Bouldering is a personal passion of mine. R-Social helped me to enjoy this sport with a colleague who was also interested. We continue to enjoy it two to three times a week. As a sport, bouldering simultaneously requires stamina, physical strength, balance and flexibility. As it requires you to use your entire body, it is a highly refreshing activity.
Your physical build also plays a role. Where my relatively tall colleague is able to make climbs smoothly, I climb while taking a few extra steps using the holds. The greatest draw of bouldering is you feel the same sense of accomplishment when reaching the goal, even if the methods and routes used to get there may differ. I like how it is an individual competition that can also be enjoyed with others by sharing opinions on the routes that you and fellow climbers chose.
The multinational menu at Rakuten’s cafeteria is another part of its diversity
Diversity initiatives are considerably advanced at Rakuten, which is home to many non-Japanese employees. The environment here enables anyone to play an active role while demonstrating their own individuality. Much consideration has also been given to dietary culture as well. When eating together at restaurants with colleagues with dietary requirements due to religious reasons or allergies, it can be difficult finding restaurants due to the lack of information on ingredients and cooking methods used. Rakuten’s impressive cafeteria addresses this issue by offering cuisine to accommodate many types of diets. Given that people come from all over the world to work at Rakuten, it is comforting to know that the company considers the culture of all its employees.
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