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Interview | Steve, Head of Dev&ops

HR team, Datahunt
Interview | Steve, Head of Dev&ops

As a fast follower in the industry, DataHunt has become the hottest rookie in town. We're excited to announce that we have a new maestro and captain at the helm of our developers, and while we've been running on the sheer talent of our developers, it's time for our Head of Dev&ops to bring his years of experience to the table. We caught up with our Head of Dev&ops to find out more about the upcoming growth ofDataHunt and what the future holds for DataHunt.


How did you first meet Datahunt, and what's your story so far?


Q Hello, Mr. Song.Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Can you start by introducing yourself?


A Hi. I'm a soft engineer with about 10 years of experience. I've been specializing in backend software and DevOps for my entire career, and I've just joined DataHunt.


Before joining DataHunt, I was working as a senior engineer at a well-known fintech startup inSingapore called Endow us. I was in Singapore for about a year and a half.Before that, I also worked in the platform team of EA, a well-known American gaming company in Korea. More recently, I've been working in mid-sized companies, mostly on the backend and DevOps side, but I've also had some startup experience. At an American startup called Aware, I was mainly responsible for developing software embedded in hardware and developing a monitoring server.

데이터헌트 Head of dev&ops 송승화 인터뷰

Q You have such a diverse background, none of which seems to be directly related to data processing. Was there a reason you decided to join Datahunt?


A Yes. As you may have heard, I've never been a domain-specific engineer - I'm more of a generalist engineer than a specialist in one area - and after some thought, I decided that my next career move would be to work with AI and data.


I thought it would be fun to work at Data Hunt, where I could gain experience in system architecture and backend server development for AI solutions and software-as-a-service(SaaS) platforms. AI has already become an irresistible trend that can't be defined as a trend, it's already touched our lives, and the needs of the market are only getting bigger and bigger. I think there's a lot that DataHunt can do at this stage where we are actively utilizing AI in our lives and businesses.


Part of my personality is that I like to challenge myself in new areas. I've always been interested in AI, and even though I'm a little late to the game, I'm challenged to use my skills to build DataHunt into a great AI company.


Q What have you been working on lately within Datahunt?


A First of all, we are currently in the process of improving our systems technically.


We are mainly working on improving the architectural design to make the system more scalable to stably handle the rapidly increasing number of customers and massive data traffic, and to increase the reliability and stability of the system.

This is very important in order to satisfy both AI SaaS Platform and On-premise (customers who want to utilize their own data center) customers in the future.

As a startup is a fast-growing organization, the development process is often unstructured and focused on development speed, but as the number of customers and traffic increases, the quality of service becomes more important. Therefore, it is necessary to organize a systematic and highly productive development process.One of my roles is to lead the development team, so I've been organizing and automating the development process while paying attention to all development processes and product quality. It's important to increase productivity so that developers can focus more on their work, and as the company grows and the team grows, it's important to organize the development culture.

I also collaborate with the AI team on technical validation and design to commercialize the various AI solutions developed at DataHunt. It is also important for us to provide the AI models developed by the AI team in a platform that can be easily used by end users. We are currently discussing collaborations with domestic and international cloud companies.

In addition, we serve as a communication channel between engineers, PMs, and operations teams so that they can communicate smoothly. You can say that we are backing up our developers so that they can focus on their technical capabilities.

We just completed our move to a new building on October 25th, and what started out as a shared office now has the headcount to match. The organization is building a long-term foundation for future growth, and I guess you could say I'm helping to smooth the way.

데이터헌트 Head of dev&ops 송승화 인터뷰

Q You mentioned that you've been with DataHunt for a month now, what do you remember about your first impressions of the team?


A. I thought I was a very lucky person, I had a one-on-one meeting with the engineers as soon as I joined. I started working remotely since I was in Singapore, but I got the impression that everyone in the organization was very passionate and willing to learn.

I think a lot of people do things passively, but I don't think that's the way it should be in a startup, you have to find problems and solve them yourself, have fierce discussions, sometimes heated ones, and respect each other's opinions, which is very important. I have no doubt that the people who are in this organization now will have grown tremendously in the next few years, whether they're at Datahunt or elsewhere.



How an AI startup works today at Datahunt


Q Since this is your first foray into AI technology, what do you hope to accomplish within Datahunt?


Our biggest goal is to commercialize various AI solutions developed by Datahunt by applying them to our SaaS platform and providing them as a platform service. Developing technology and providing a service that users can use are two different things.There are already a lot of AI solutions out there, but they don't meet the needs of all customers. For example, if you want to detect a croissant in a photo, you can't just use a model that's been trained on existing breads. It's going to be good at finding breads, but there's definitely a need to find croissants. So I think there's still a lot we can do.

We're still a small startup. If you can't deliver a product to your customers, that's a death sentence for a startup, so completing the development of the service and fulfilling the needs of our customers is our most important goal.

And as a head engineer, I'm personally very interested in what our development team is doing. I've worked in quite a few companies and organizations, so I'm also very empathetic to what individual developers want. Knowing how much you're contributing to the company is a huge motivator, and I want to make sure that all of our developers feel that rush.


Q One of the most interesting things about the Datahunt culture is the way we communicate, what are your thoughts on that?


A. I don't think communication is something you can just create a position for, it's more about the culture itself. Traditionally, in Korean companies, decisions are made at the executive level and trickle down, so employees often work without a complete understanding of the business challenges. However, it's interesting that we have town hall meetings where leaders and employees share the current state of the company, future goals and strategies, and make sure everyone has along-term view of the future.


Maybe it's because of the horizontal culture at Datahunt, you know, we're a subsidiary of FiscalNote, which is an American company, and there's a lot of similarities in our culture, and a horizontal culture starts with respect for each other, so we're all trying to create a good, healthy corporate culture.


데이터헌트 Head of dev&ops 송승화 인터뷰

Q You mentioned that you plan to operate Datahunt with 25 core employees by next year. I'd like to ask about your future hiring plans.


A We are currently hiring both backend, frontend, and AI engineers, and we are actively conducting interviews, but as you said, we are trying to hire only the best engineers. We have a very specific and systematic hiring process, and we want to make sure that we're bringing in people who are not only talented, but also have the right mindset.



Thoughts from datahunt leader and senior developer


Q I'm curious about the kind of person you're looking for as a team leader.


A We have a lot of work to do, so I'm looking for someone who is proactive in finding problems and struggling to solve them. I want someone who can use these experiences as a foundation for personal growth, and someone who is willing to take on challenges that others haven't done yet. Technologically, we still have a lot of mountains to climb, so I want someone who has a "I think I can do this" mindset rather than a "I've done this before" mindset.

I've been through a lot of companies, and I think that's the only difference between people who succeed and people who don't. I tend to focus on people's attitudes more than their technical skills. Most of the problems that companies are facing can only be solved with creativity, so it's important to have the ability to solve problems and the attitude to do it before you have the ability to excel.


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