Time at KisanHub
Your First Job is always special, dive into a personal journey from college dreams to a thriving career at KisanHub. A story of passion, adaptation, and finding success in the tech-agriculture world.
~ 23 min read
In my final year of college, I hardly applied to any of the companies that came to campus because I always wanted to open a startup. I started Cotanz, a platform aimed at helping students reach their goals by providing the necessary support. We organized workshops and guidance sessions, among other things. However, towards the end of the year, it became clear that Cotanz was not going to progress further. I then started applying for jobs and came across KisanHub, a company that perfectly aligned with my thoughts, motivations, and aspirations. I applied and fortunately, they sent me an assignment to complete, which was great because I was never good at tests but excelled in practical work. I finished the development assignment and sent it back, and within a couple of days, I received a call for an on-site interview.
When they asked me to come to their office, I was in Agra. I confirmed that I would come by train, hesitating to mention the cost of plane tickets since I had never traveled by plane before. However, they suggested that I come by plane and assured me that they would reimburse the expense. I prepared for the interview by revising Python, Angular, and my strong areas at the time, HTML and CSS. I reached the airport and called my brother, staying on the phone with him constantly. I wasn't sure what to do. I checked in, went through security checks, and waited for the flight. I double-checked all the addresses and tasks I needed to complete after landing. It was my first time traveling alone to a big city, Pune. I was extremely excited.
After landing, I changed clothes at the airport and booked a cab directly to the KisanHub office. I had 3-4 interviews, with a focus on my frontend skills and design abilities. They liked it, and Sachin gave me another assignment - to sketch out the farm app. I met Navin, Pratik, Umesh, Harshal, DJ, and Shridhar there. It was an awesome experience. By the time my interview was over, it was already 6 PM, and my flight was at 7 PM. Unfortunately, my phone battery had died, so I couldn't book a cab. Shridhar kindly booked a cab for me, but due to heavy traffic in Pune during the evening, I was late to the airport by about 20 minutes.
I was in a hurry and handed the cab driver a 500 rupee note, as I didn't have change. To complicate matters, he also didn't have change. After looking around, we agreed that I would transfer the money to him once I reached Delhi. He wrote down his number on a piece of paper. I was nervous and wanted to complete the transfer as soon as possible after reaching Delhi because the Ola cab was booked by Shridhar. I was worried that if the driver called him back, it would reflect poorly on me. When I reached Delhi, I got into the cab waiting at the airport exit, and the driver was ready to go. However, due to the chaotic situation, the cab got a flat tire halfway through the journey at night. It was my first time alone in a taxi on an empty street with a total stranger and in a city like Delhi. I was afraid, although I was confident enough that I could handle any situation. Eventually, he changed the tire and dropped me off at home. After reaching home, I freshened up, had some food, and went to sleep.
The next morning, the first thing I did was call the driver and get his account details to transfer the money. I completed the transfer that day. After a couple of days, I received the response that I had been selected for the position at KisanHub. I was ecstatic, feeling on top of the world. That was the day when I formed new dreams and left behind a few others. KisanHub was a Cambridge-based Agri-tech SaaS product that helped large organizations coordinate with farmers and guide them through the process using advanced data visualization and AI/ML.
After finishing college, I went to Pune and stayed at the Army guest house. The next day, I went to an area near the office and found a house broker who showed me 3-6 PGs (paying guest accommodations). I liked one and finalized it. There, I made a few close friends whom I am still in touch with.
The office life began the next day. I arrived early and found Sachin (CEO) as the only person there. He was setting up our PCs and instructed me to set up my own. I assembled the CPU, monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and installed Linux ( Ubuntu) on the system. This was my first time working with Linux extensively. I had previously experimented with it on my personal computer, but never for more than a month.
I just installed Chrome 😅, nothing else.
At that time, everyone else had already arrived at the office. We held a standup meeting where we introduced ourselves. There were four additional new joiners, including three developers (myself, Rohit, and two others) and one person in a management role. As time went on, Rohit became one of my closest friends.
We received the full schedule of onboarding sessions. We were given a walkthrough of every app by the developer who mainly focused on that app. I liked this culture of assigning full ownership of each app to one particular developer. By "app," I mean one part of the platform. It gave the person who owned it full responsibility for all the thinking, improvements, and maintenance. If any app became bigger, we would add another resource to that area. For example, in KisanHub, weather was only handled by Dharmendra Jindal, aka DJ, and then Rohit joined his area to help with weather station integrations and many more improvements to the weather app. I joined to work with Naveen to handle the core parts (settings, authentication flows, frontend components, and guiding everyone in design) of the platform and the articles app. The articles app was used by farmers to share articles within the farming community and by organizations to publish reports and guide farmers with written steps and guides.
I was very happy to be a part of this group of talented people. They helped me set up my development fundamentals.
The setup and culture at our previous workplace were perfect. We diligently followed best practices, with the concepts always at our fingertips. We enthusiastically shared informative articles, best practices, useful shortcuts, and emerging technologies with each other.
I used to sit beside Naveen and I admired the way he skillfully used his keyboard, like a drunken master. I was always captivated by watching him work, learning a lot just by observing how he approached development and problem-solving. In my first project, I was tasked with integrating Freshdesk into the platform to make it easier for users to reach us and access how-to articles. I completed this story quickly.
The second project was a major one: migrating the entire platform from Django templates to AngularJS. AngularJS was a popular frontend framework at the time, and the decision to use it had already been made before I joined. As someone new to the world of frontend frameworks, I took the time to review AngularJS and ensure that I followed best practices to develop it in the most effective way. Naveen had already done the initial proof of concept for the migration. Since Naveen and I were responsible for design and frontend development in the company, we spent 2-3 weeks finalizing the designs and establishing the system to follow for the new development.
Once we were ready, we began working on components. I was initially slower in Angular, but I found it easier to get into the flow when working on the HTML and CSS parts. We created the first few components, and my first major component was the side-nav. Sachin was working on the backend for it, and once he was done, I dedicated a weekend to completing the frontend of it. It was one of the first fully interactive components I had ever designed, featuring expandable and collapsible sub-apps within each app, and completed with animated transitions.
At that time, I was solely focused on creating and fully immersed in the process, not concerning myself with the future or other parts. I was living in the present and learning to the best of my ability.
To this day, I can confidently say that those were the best days, when I was in a state of flow and gave my all.
Working at KisanHub was an experience that felt like running my own company. From the moment I joined, I felt a strong attachment to the organization, and I believe this sentiment is shared by everyone with their first company. I was not just an employee, but a passionate advocate for KisanHub's success. My goal was for it to reach new heights and become the go-to platform for farmers in need. I wanted KisanHub to be the first thing that came to mind whenever farmers required assistance, guidance, or support.
The motivation behind my drive for KisanHub's success stemmed from the sense of ownership I felt towards the company. It was a place where I could invest my time, energy, and ideas, and I wanted to see it flourish beyond expectations. I had a vision of KisanHub becoming the ultimate platform for farmers, providing them with the tools, resources, and solutions they needed to thrive in their agricultural endeavours.
Every day, I approached my work with dedication and enthusiasm, knowing that my contributions were making a difference. I wanted to ensure that KisanHub was not just another platform, but a trusted companion for farmers. It was more than just a job; it was a mission to empower farmers and revolutionize the way they accessed information, connected with experts, and solved their problems.
Throughout my tenure at KisanHub, I remained focused on the goal of making it the first choice for farmers. I worked tirelessly to improve the platform, enhance its features, and provide a seamless user experience. I constantly sought ways to innovate and stay ahead of the curve, bringing new ideas and technologies to the table. I collaborated with my colleagues, shared best practices, and learned from each other's experiences to ensure that KisanHub remained at the forefront of agricultural technology.
Looking back, I can confidently say that my time at KisanHub was not just a job, but a labor of love. The motivation to see it succeed and become the go-to platform for farmers fueled my work ethic and commitment. I am proud to have been a part of KisanHub's journey and will always cherish the memories and lessons I gained during my time there.
During my time at KisanHub, five individuals named Naveen, Sachin, Piers, DJ, and Rohit played a significant role in my professional growth and development. Their guidance and support were invaluable, as they showed me the path to success.
Naveen, with his exceptional skills and expertise, was a constant source of inspiration for me. Sitting beside him, I had the privilege of observing his masterful keyboard techniques, akin to that of a drunken master. He had a unique way of approaching development and problem-solving, and I learned a great deal simply by watching him work.
Sachin was one of the most influential figures in my professional growth. From the beginning, when he set up our PCs, to later stages of my tenure, Sachin provided constant guidance and support. His trust in my abilities allowed me to take ownership of my work and thrive in my role. He not only provided technical guidance but also mentored me, helping me grow professionally and personally.
Sachin also fostered a culture of collaboration and teamwork. He encouraged open communication and shared best practices, creating a positive and supportive work environment.
I have collaborated with Piers for a significant period, specifically focusing on certain aspects of the Potato Dashboard. His code reviews were excellent, as he provided valuable feedback on enhancing code quality, improving performance, and writing comprehensive unit tests during my work on rewriting the Articles app. I learned a lot from him. Additionally, he offered valuable support when I was addressing the cache problem of Django-AngularJS in the frontend. Once I had resolved it, he gave me the nickname AKS (Abhishek the Kache Slayer) 😅.
DJ (Dharmendra Jindal), Umesh, and Rohit had a significant impact on my professional journey at KisanHub. Our discussions on maintaining mental peace, achieving work-life balance, self-improvement, side projects, and ideas for Kisanhub were invaluable. They also taught me many other valuable life lessons.
Together, Naveen, Sachin, Piers, Rohit, and DJ helped me navigate the technical aspects of my role and provided guidance on professional growth and personal development. Their mentorship and support were crucial in shaping my career at KisanHub. Their willingness to share knowledge, best practices, and new technologies created a culture of continuous learning within our team. I am forever grateful for the relationships we built, and I strive to pay forward their guidance by helping others in their journey, just as they did for me.
The culture at KisanHub was truly exceptional and one of the best that any company could have. It fostered an environment of collaboration, creativity, and growth. However, I also learned firsthand how fragile a culture can be and how it can be easily disrupted by the actions of just one person. It's like a butterfly effect, where a small change can have a ripple effect throughout the entire organization.
I witnessed how companies can quickly unravel and fall apart when the culture is not nurtured and protected. Every part of the company, and every person within it, plays a key role in maintaining a healthy and thriving culture. It requires constant vigilance and attention to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.
In my experience, the success of a company is deeply intertwined with its culture. A positive and supportive culture encourages teamwork, innovation, and employee satisfaction. It creates an atmosphere where individuals feel valued and motivated to give their best. Conversely, a toxic culture can lead to disengagement, conflicts, and ultimately, the downfall of the organization.
At KisanHub, I was fortunate to be a part of a team that not only understood the importance of culture but also actively worked to cultivate and preserve it. We had a shared sense of purpose and a strong commitment to our mission of helping farmers. The culture was built on trust, open communication, and a willingness to learn and grow together.
We embraced the concept of ownership, where each individual took responsibility for their work and contributed to the overall success of the company. This sense of ownership created a sense of accountability and empowered us to take initiative and make a real impact.
Moreover, the culture at KisanHub was characterized by a continuous exchange of knowledge and best practices. We had a culture of learning, where everyone was encouraged to share their insights, articles, and new technologies. This collaborative approach fostered personal and professional growth, allowing us to stay at the forefront of our field.
In conclusion, the culture at KisanHub was truly exceptional and played a pivotal role in shaping my experience and growth within the company. I witnessed firsthand the impact that a positive culture can have on individual performance, team dynamics, and overall organizational success. It serves as a reminder of the importance of nurturing and protecting culture in any company, as it is the foundation upon which everything else is built.
During my time at KisanHub, I had the opportunity to work on a range of exciting projects that allowed me to grow and expand my skills. Here are some of the project highlights:
One of the major projects I worked on involved migrating the entire platform from Django templates to AngularJS. This was a complex task that required careful planning and coordination. By utilizing the power of AngularJS, we were able to create a more dynamic and interactive user experience.
During my time at KisanHub, the migration project had a significant impact on my professional growth. It taught me the importance of removing unnecessary code to improve efficiency and maintainability. I also gained experience in creating new features and functionalities from scratch, which enhanced my problem-solving abilities and creativity. Furthermore, the project gave me expertise in transforming existing code, revolutionizing data processing and transmission.
In addition, we established best practices for APIs to ensure consistency and efficiency in the development process. I also had the opportunity to explore design principles such as the 3-click rule and eye patterns, which further improved my understanding. Lastly, I gained a comprehensive understanding of Django best practices, which enabled me to develop robust applications.
Overall, the migration project equipped me with valuable skills and knowledge, shaping my professional journey and driving innovation.
To enhance the visual appeal and usability of the platform, we migrated to Google Material Design. This involved implementing design principles and components to create a cohesive and modern look and feel.
The Articles App was a crucial component of the platform, utilized by farmers and organizations for sharing and publishing articles. I enhanced its performance by rebuilding it completely from scratch. This revamp aimed to provide users with a seamless and efficient experience, while also improving overall performance. To achieve this, I followed best coding practices and leveraged the capabilities of Django, utilizing Managers and Querysets to effectively filter content based on user preferences.
The Settings App allows users to personalize their experience on the platform. We have enhanced its functionality to simplify navigation and configuration of settings. It also enables users to onboard team members and manage multiple teams and groups with specific permissions, which can be utilized across the platform.
As the platform grew, we refactored and improved the core parts of Django. This involved reevaluating the architecture and codebase, implementing best practices, and streamlining the backend processes.
I had the opportunity to design the KisanHub's mobile app from the ground up. This involved creating wireframes, designing the user interface, and coordinating and guiding mobile developers to implement the necessary functionalities.
In addition to the mobile app, we also prioritized enhancing the web design. This included giving the platform a fresh look and feel, as well as enhancing the user interface.
The Weather App provided real-time weather information to farmers. DJ and Rohit were responsible for the weather aspect. I collaborated with them to completely redesign the app, with a focus on improving its visual appeal, user-friendliness, and intuitiveness. Additionally, I developed various design components for the new version. I particularly enjoyed working with DJ on designing the weather icons, where we divided the weather components and mixed and matched them based on the weather type.
To enable seamless transactions and secure payments, we successfully implemented a payment gateway. This involved integrating with the third-party payment provider Stripe. Although integrating Stripe is now hassle-free, it was not at the time. Our main focus was ensuring the security and reliability of the payment system. Sid (Siddharth) and I collaborated on this challenging project from start to finish. We dedicated numerous nights to it, only going home to shower and change. Due to an upcoming farmers conference, we had tight timelines to work with, and there were always some missing pieces. The atmosphere was chaotic, with cold drinks, pizzas, late nights, music, and keyboards. Despite the challenges, we ultimately delivered the project successfully. This experience provided me with valuable insights and knowledge.
These projects offered valuable opportunities for growth and learning. I utilized my skills in Angular, Django, and design to develop impactful solutions that enhanced the user experience and functionality of the platform. It was a fulfilling experience to be involved in these projects and contribute to the success of KisanHub.
As part of my work at Kisanhub, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to some amazing places. One of the highlights was a trip to Cambridge, where I got to experience the rich history and prestigious academic atmosphere of the city. Exploring the beautiful college campuses, visiting the famous King's College Chapel, and wandering along the picturesque River Cam were truly unforgettable experiences.
Another exciting adventure was my visit to London. The bustling city, with its iconic landmarks like Big Ben, the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace, was a sight to behold. I had the chance to immerse myself in the vibrant culture, visit world-class museums and galleries, and indulge in delicious food from diverse cuisines.
But perhaps the most memorable part of my travels was the trip to Scotland. From the breathtaking landscapes of the Highlands to the historic streets of Edinburgh, every moment was filled with awe and wonder. I explored the majestic castles and even had a taste of traditional Scottish cuisine.
and many team outings in Pune. These team outings and travel experiences not only allowed me to see new places and broaden my horizons, but they also provided valuable opportunities to bond with my colleagues and create lasting memories. It was a unique blend of work and adventure, and I am grateful for the chance to have such incredible experiences through my work at Kisanhub.
Ever since I was a child, I have been captivated by the world of design. However, during that time, there was no formal education available in India to pursue this passion. Undeterred by the lack of resources, I embarked on a journey to explore design in my professional career. I yearned to delve deeper into this field and gain a comprehensive understanding of its principles and practices. With this goal in mind, after two years of development career, I approached Sachin, and to my delight, he agreed to support me in this endeavour.
To make the most of this opportunity, I enrolled in various online courses, devoured countless books on design, and took on numerous design implementation projects. I was determined to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to become a proficient designer. My primary objective was to gain a taste of what it means to be a skilled designer, to truly understand the needs of users, and to observe their behaviour in order to create the best possible user experiences.
During this immersive year of exploration, I also focused on honing my research skills. I delved into the intricacies of both quantitative and qualitative data, understanding their unique benefits and applications. I realized that by conducting thorough research, I would be equipped with valuable insights to inform my design decisions and ensure that my creations catered to the specific needs and preferences of users.
Furthermore, I recognized the immense value that design could bring to my future pursuits in development and product creation. By immersing myself in the world of design, I aimed to gain a holistic perspective on the entire product development process. This included understanding the importance of seamless user experiences, effective research methodologies, and the significance of data-driven decision-making.
Ultimately, my year-long exploration of UI/UX design provided me with invaluable insights and knowledge that continue to shape my approach to development and product creation. I now possess a deeper appreciation for the importance of user-centric design and the power it holds in shaping successful products. I am confident that the skills and experiences I gained during this immersive journey will propel me towards achieving my bigger goals and making a meaningful impact in the world of technology.
After spending a year in the design field, I was ready to switch back to development. This one-year experience in design proved to be extremely beneficial in several ways. It not only provided me with the opportunity to approach design from a developer's perspective but also offered me a comprehensive understanding of the feasibility of various design concepts. This knowledge has proven to be invaluable even after transitioning back to development. It allows me to actively contribute to the design process by providing valuable inputs to designers. Additionally, I can now assist fellow developers in creating a better user experience by leveraging my design knowledge. Most importantly, my time in design has highlighted the significance of following a structured process.
In the past, I used to dive straight into development without a clear plan. I would figure things out along the way, which often resulted in inefficiencies and suboptimal outcomes. However, my experience in design has taught me the importance of following a step-by-step process. Not only does this approach save time, but it also ensures better results at each stage of development.
My experience at KisanHub was truly amazing. It was a time of growth, learning, and building strong relationships with talented individuals. From working on exciting projects to traveling to new places, every moment was filled with awe and wonder. The culture at KisanHub fostered collaboration, creativity, and personal development, creating an environment where everyone thrived. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such a remarkable company and will always cherish the memories and lessons I gained during my time there.
Now, Repeat after me:
"I will not get overly attached to my code."
Do you have any questions, or simply wish to contact me privately? Don't hesitate to shoot me a DM on Twitter.
Have a wonderful day.