Hello, Kamba! Let’s get straight into it - tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Kamba Abudu (you can call me KA) and I’m originally from Ghana, a beautiful tropical country which is just a few degrees North of the Equator.
I think I’ve always been an intrepid traveller at heart, as I moved between a few countries while I was growing up and that perhaps sparked my thirst for exploration. I came to the United Kingdom, specifically Scotland in 2006 to grab a couple of University degrees and I never looked back!
I’m Head of Engineering at Venditan, working predominantly in software and infrastructure, but have a passion for other facets of engineering. In short, you can say it’s my responsibility to ensure that the technical direction of the company makes sense, I and the rest of the engineering team continue to push boundaries, innovate pragmatically and keep the engine running smoothly for our patrons.
I’ve been in the software engineering space, predominantly Retail and eCommerce for over 14 years. Although my foray into software engineering began much earlier in 2003 when I tinkered with Macromedia Dreamweaver. (I’m showing my age here!)
I’ve been with Venditan for just over 12 years at the time of writing. I first stepped through the doors as a Senior Web Developer and I have worked my way through various roles and experiences, emerging as Head of Engineering.
What’s one thing that people may not know about you?
There was a period in my life when I had a passion for show business and music. I self-produced many beats, rifts, instrumentals and songs–including vocals–and produced music for other aspiring artists.
Other interesting facts are that I once auditioned to be a television news presenter, I took part in a music contest once, and I’m not shabby on the dance floor! I’ve given the Manchester nightlife a show or two over the years.
What does your average day at Venditan look like?
As some of my colleagues have said in their Q&As, I start the day by getting a lay of the land. I check my calendar, emails and other communication channels to catch any new messages and set priorities for the day ahead.
I then review our resource schedule to understand where the team's efforts are directed for the day, week and/or month ahead. I also scour updates from our Github account to get some details about what the wider team has been working on.
A portion of my day will be spent in meetings and engaging with other senior leaders where required. I evaluate the status and progress of the various engineering pillars of the business, including but not limited to short-term goals, projects, professional development and the training needs of the team.
If that isn’t enough to keep me busy, then you can still find me writing some code and building systems where required, and sometimes being a good old fashioned codemonkey.
What is the best advice you could give to someone starting in engineering?
Stay curious, keep learning, push boundaries and get out of your comfort zone.
Technical ability is key to succeeding in engineering, but in my opinion, attitude is everything, as attitude ensures you’ll have the passion to drive forward and maintain momentum.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and favour pragmatism over academia where it makes sense to do so.
Are there any eCommerce or retail trends that you find particularly interesting for the year ahead?
Generative AI and its complementary functionality, and how that will pioneer and shape retail and eCommerce for decades to come.
With advancements in AI, AR and VR may gain traction in the industry.
Read: AI in eCommerce - Productivity or problematic?
Give us an example of something you have learned over your 12 years at Venditan.
The success or failure of any endeavour boils down to one very important skill: communication.
No matter how you chop and change it, it always comes down to communication as human interaction is the very foundation of everything we do.
What does a typical weekend look like in the life of Kamba?
Spending time with family and friends, either doing some form of outdoor activity like taking a road trip, hiking and walking, or just binge-watching series and cooking.
There’s also the unavoidable domestic chores, such as groceries and cleaning; someone’s got to do them!