What Makes a Good Lead: Sharings from Bitkub’s Software Development Team Lead


My Name is Nattapol Chitinsiyanon (Ai), currently a Software Development Team Lead at Bitkub. I majored in Computer Science for my Masters and finished my PhD, doing Biomedical Engineering.

Unexpected Starting Point

Actually I started my higher education with a bachelor’s degree in the Department of Psychology, which could have led me to the other path. But I felt like I did not really enjoy nor did well in that course which was also one of the turning points that led me to a master’s degree in Computer Science. Fortunately, my decision had shown me my actual path and what I enjoyed.

What Were Your Work Experiences Before Meeting Bitkub? 

During my time at school, I had the opportunity to work for a hospital as a programmer. I developed a website and many other things which turned out to be a very valuable experience to my first steps. 

I also ended up receiving a scholarship to study Ph.D to continue my passion but I have to admit that it was harder than expected. After that, I have been persuaded by friends to join a HealthTech Startup together as Developers. Over time, Bitkub took over the company where I became the team lead. Honestly, this gives the opportunity to lead the younger members in the team and this is where my psychology degree came into hand.

What Were the Differences When You Were in Healthtech to Blockchain? 

Basically no difference. As a developer, we all have to have a similar understanding of the Fundamentals even if we are working with another model or another language/ framework in development. Everything is no different, as long as our fundamentals are tight, we can always move. What I meant by fundamentals is the structure and the design pattern. Do we really understand that when we look back, problems can be solved and can also be used to solve. On the other hand, if we have a tight hold on fundamentals, we will be able to first see the pain point, where we are lacking, and which technology we can use to solve this pain point.

“Sometimes there will be several pain points that might only require simple programming, but if we focus on the fundamentals and the technology from the beginning, we will probably be able to build a big system that will fix small problems as well.”

What Should We Know About Being a Leader?

“A good lead is not someone who is a good dev or a complicated dev, but a good lead is someone who someone who can take care the hearts of the team members”

The reason for this is because the process of hiring someone or adding a member is a very long, detailed and tiring process. It also requires a lot of team members’ efforts as well. Both the interviewer and interviewee will have to go through many interviews, tests. If we do not take good care or keep their motivations up, they will eventually end up burning out and we will have to go into the process of finding new joiners again. This will end up being an endless cycle that not only uses a lot of resources, but also demotivates other members of the team as well. 

What are the Developers’ Focus at Bitkub?

Currently I am in charge of 3 teams. The teams are focusing on both iOS and Android which will be developing a whole new architecture, focusing on easing its scalability, maintenance. 

Since the application is getting bigger, the working process will definitely get longer. What our team and Bitkub is focusing on is avoiding “Technical debt.” In this case it means; the ongoing compilation of issues that will come with our rushed work since the quality and accuracy was not made from the start. This is known as a ‘debt’ that we owe for the development of a program and if not quickly fixed, it will result in a system-wide mess.

The Ideal Team Environment to Work With in Your Perspective?

Majority of the people as well as textbooks will suggest a team environment to be close like family. However, I do believe that we should not build a relationship that will tumble down because of emotions and that it will depend on relationships rather than being professional and just as close as friends. 

“Despite the fact that we just get to see the world before someone, doesn’t mean that we will always know more than them. We can always learn from someone who has less experience.”

This might sound controversial, but because the family-like teams will be full of hesitations from being too considerate to the point all of them do not have the courage to talk or raise any problems to avoid conflict. But if we work as a professional or just as close as a friend, everyone will be viewed equally where we will all be able to express our opinions more freely.

How About the Technical Aspects? What are the Important Skills for Programming?

When it comes to code quality, many people will say that good code is code that is easy to read. However, it is more important to know whether code that is easy to read must take into account naming, what function and class design should be which then links to it being available for a “unit test.” What I want to emphasize is the fundamentals that will reflect in the code quality which will lead to a positive unit test because these things really require full understanding but cannot be learnt through Google.

“No matter how beautiful the code we write or how clean it is written. But if that set of code can’t be tested, I can tell that that set of code is useless.”

How Do You See Blockchain in the next 5-10 years? 

Blockchain will seamlessly enter every aspect of human life. From verifying the security of assets. The reason why I chose this example is because blockchain will be an innovation that really level ups the ability to trace. This will definitely make a change in the market of high valuables; keeping and inspecting the product’s value as well as preventing theft of assets. Another important change would be related to elections. Blockchain will help verify ballot papers, will have to prevent the modifications of data and maybe to the point that they can display real time data for transparency. 

Any Advice for the Software Developer Aspirings? 

To be honest, the most frequent advice you will hear is to always be looking and updating for new knowledge because what we know today, it may not be applicable anymore tomorrow. Even though you will be hearing this every time, I will be repeating it again because it is that important, especially in this industry. 

In addition, we should also be open to people’s views and opinions. As I have mentioned, no matter whether they are a senior or a junior who might be completely new to work, their youngness may bring something new to the table. Which also applies to the fresh grads.

“Do not be afraid to count yourself in because your newness will bring the (positive) other side to your team”