Talk to a Tykling: Furkan Şenharputlu, Software Engineer

Meet the team – getting to know Furkan Şenharputlu, Software Engineer

Plenty of businesses are familiar with the benefits of Tyk’s product, but how many know about the talented individuals operating behind the scenes? Tyk wouldn’t be what it is without them, so we’re interviewing each and every team member in order to celebrate their brilliance.

In this Talk to a Tykling interview, we catch up with Furkan Şenharputlu, covering everything from exciting new Tyk projects to the importance of family values. Here’s what Furkan had to say.

What do you do at Tyk?

I work as a Software Engineer at Tyk – a Go Engineer. I work on the Tyk Gateway, Dashboard and Pump, as well as other side projects. Right now, I’m also in the GraphQL team – we’re working on a new feature to add into Tyk.

I’m involved in all of the development lifecycles, writing code, tests, documentation and code reviews. I also provide support for our customers.

The focus changes over time – most recently the GraphQL project has been my main priority.

Do you work remotely? Whereabouts are you based? 

I work mostly from home, which is in Konya, Turkey. Before the coronavirus pandemic I worked from all sorts of places – sometimes coffee shops, sometimes my brother’s workshop, sometimes my friend’s office… but from home right now! 

What is your background? What brought you to Tyk? 

I grew up in Konya and went to high school here, then went to study Computer Engineering at Bogazici University in Istanbul. I took a one-year preparation school and then a four-year department. 

I worked as an intern at TURKSAT, which is a satellite company in Ankara, then took my second internship at Hazelcast – an open source in-memory data grid project based in Silicon Valley. I worked remotely for them, maintaining Hazelcast’s Go and Node.js clients. 

After that I wanted to focus on a Go project and I saw that Tyk was open source, with lots of users, so I applied. The flexible, remote working structure was a key part of the appeal. 

What do you enjoy about working remotely?

I love my family and I don’t want to spend my life in another city instead of my home town (Konya) or stuck in an office without seeing them. I like being close to them while working remotely and being able to have lunch with them. 

What do you particularly like about working at Tyk?

The flexibility and freedom! 

Tyk exists to solve a problem. Thinking about the tech sector more widely, what problem do you wish you could fix?

To be able to get remote work easily, you usually need five to seven years’ experience in order to land a role. Companies tend not to trust younger remote workers very much, which means it’s hard for younger people to find remote jobs. 

I can understand the reason for this. There are so many people who want to work remotely, but not enough remote jobs to go around. It makes it difficult for younger workers though, so I wish I could fix that. 

What tips would you give to a new starter when it comes to working in a remote-first organisation?

Pay attention to the way you communicate with your teammates and remember to collaborate with them. If you’re facing a problem and feel stuck with it on your own, remember that asking questions of your colleagues can help you to move things forward. Never be afraid of putting questions to anyone!

What does Tyk do to encourage remote workers to communicate fully across the organisation?

Tyk’s culture is focused on helping others. When you ask a question, if the person you’re asking is swamped, they’ll still make sure they have time to respond to you quickly and don’t ignore you. If they can’t solve the issue through a chat on Slack, they’ll jump on a call to ensure that they can help find a solution to your problem. 

What are the values that drive you? What’s important to you? 

My faith is the most important thing for me – I’m Muslim – and I believe that work shouldn’t interfere with your beliefs. Tyk is very supportive on this topic. Every Friday, for example, Muslims go to Mosque for Friday prayer. When I mentioned this to my team lead, he said I didn’t even need to mention these kind of small breaks in my working day – it’s a very supportive culture. 

Also, for me, one of the most important things in the world is family, which means it’s important to achieve a good work/life balance. Missing out on spending time with my family just doesn’t work for me, so it’s important that my working life takes that into consideration.

It sounds like Tyk fits very well with your personal values – has that been your experience with other employers?

One of the companies I worked for was based in Istanbul, so all the employees were Muslims, meaning that Friday prayers were very much part of the routine there. However, this is the first time I’ve worked as part of such an international team and there are perhaps one or two of us who go to Mosque. In such an environment, it is something that has to be factored in. 

What are your three favourite books and/or podcasts? 

The Quran would be my top choice.

When it comes to other books, Ya Tahammül Ya Sefer is on my list of favourites. It’s a story about a group of young people at university who are trying to create a library. Everyone makes promises to complete big tasks, but by graduation everyone has forgotten about the project and the group has become smaller and smaller. Eventually, the library closes. Additionally, I really liked The Paul Street Boys, it reminds me of my childhood.

In terms of podcasts, I’m a fan of Turkish art music and sufi music.

When you’re not working, what will we find you doing? How do you relax?

I love to walk. After work, I go out and walk in order to relax. Sometimes I walk to the station and hop on a random bus and try to find a coffee shop there. 

I also spend a lot of my spare time with my cousins, going out, playing PlayStation, having picnics if the weather is suitable. We have a garden out of the city and my family can go there and be undisturbed. Recently I helped my father to build the walls there. I found it relaxing to get stuck in and help.