Since joining the #iKTribe in 2018, Deepak has committed himself to building software systems that prioritise data security and integrity. As with most who endeavour to explore the tech landscape, his journey came with a steep learning curve.
Charged with developing systems for the Shaker Solo card machine that protect iKhokha’s high volume traders, one might expect Deepak to be on edge. Far from it. Cool and calm under pressure and with a background in military-grade security and encryption to boot, Deepak plays a pivotal role in the efficacy of iKhokha’s best-in-class card machine.
In at the Deep End
Deepak is the first to admit that his journey at iKhokha hasn’t been easy. As iKhokha started a new chapter in 2018 and previous engineers left the organisation, rapidly upskilling became a necessity.
“When I joined iKhokha, they gave me an opportunity to learn and gave me full control of the whole development process,” says Deepak.
He took the challenge in his stride, leaning new systems such as Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) and tirelessly rebuilding iKhokha’s legacy systems.
“The amount of work I’ve done in the last two years is equivalent to the last five years of my previous career,” he says. “It’s one of the strong points of iKhokha. They give you the freedom to innovate and learn, and they place a lot of trust in you.”
In Deepak’s case, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words couldn’t ring truer: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”.
While his career in the #iKTribe may have started as a baptism of fire, his contributions to engineering, design and liaisons with modem manufacturers, SIM card providers and hardware manufacturers to date are invaluable to South Africa’s fastest-growing fintech.
“It’s one of the strong points of iKhokha. They give you the freedom to innovate and learn, and they place a lot of trust in you.”
An avid traveller, Deepak was attracted to iKhokha for similar reasons to his passion for globetrotting, innovation and the desire for new experiences.
“I remember reading an article in Data Week about iKhokha’s first plug-in card reader,” he says. “I was inspired by the technology. For a South African-based company to develop a card-reader of that nature. I thought that was very impressive.”
And since joining in 2018, he has watched iKhokha’s explosive growth to 150 employees from the frontline of the fintech industry.
“At that time, iKhokha was about 50 people. I never envisioned the company growing so fast. It’s genuine growth. It’s merchants transacting with the devices. Genuine, organic growth which is very encouraging.”
For Deepak, iKhokha’s trajectory seems set for the summit of the fintech space with new technologies opening a world of possibilities.
“I’m excited about the future of contactless transactions,” he continues. “I definitely think that all transactions will become NFC contactless. It’s proving to be very secure, and I think we’re in the right place at the right time, at iKhokha.”
For a South African-based company to develop a card-reader of that nature. I thought that was very impressive.”
Growing Towards Greatness
In a competitive industry, he believes the team’s attitude is pivotal to iKhokha’s competitive advantage.
“We have a great bunch of guys. They are very approachable. I’d say the same thing about the management team. They have an open-door policy, and they are down to Earth – which I haven’t experienced in my previous companies.”
Aside from a humble and open team, Deepak’s passion for yoga and meditation helps him deal with the rigours of life in security software development. Having travelled to the Far East on numerous occasions, his study of mindfulness and meditation influences how he approaches his work every day.
“In broad strokes, being calm will help in any work environment. Focus techniques also help with work. If you can focus on one thing, you can achieve a lot,” he says.
“I sound like a guru now,” he adds with a smile.
The Next Generation
A senior member of the iKhokha team, Deepak has undoubtedly earned his stripes. As he continues to work with the team to develop new technologies and innovations, he’s looking forward to welcoming new members to his corner of the #iKTribe.
“Just work hard,” he advises. “In engineering and software, you can get very far, very fast if you’re willing to put in the extra hours. I’m a good example of that. If you work hard, you’ll gain more experience and responsibility. It’s very rewarding at the end of the day.”