Entrepreneur

16 Notable M'sian Software Ninjas Who Work Behind The Scenes To Build Amazing Things

Software developers are renowned for their ability to convert long hours of work, sleepless nights, and copious amounts of coffee, into lines of code that empowers all the software that we directly or indirectly interact with. These days almost every startup and corporation employs a squad of software developers, programmers, and coders, who work around the clock to make sure we enjoy the luxury of getting things done by pressing a button on our devices.

While we often credit the leaders of such corporations and startups for their uncanny ability to solve and address real life issues, we often fail to appreciate all the effort that the developers put in behind the scenes.

In an era of brain drain where most of our talent is moving overseas, we thought it would be fit to highlight some of the notable and skilled software developers, programmers and coders that are busy creating interesting products for mobile, web, gaming and systems platforms in Malaysia.

Here’s a list of notable developers (no particular order) in Malaysia.

1. Iszuddin Ismail

He’s been actively sharpening his coding skills from the time he graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in 2001. He lists E-Sentral.com, an e-commerce portal for e-books as the coolest project he worked on till date.

He also worked on UPLOADnSELL.com and he’s currently working on a project called Projek Buku Git, a collaborative effort to write a book on the topic of a version control system called Git. He’s also working on project management software similar to Github for the management and development of interactive e-books.

Speaking about the industry he said, “If you approach the community or experts in the industry in the right way, you will be amazed how people are so friendly and willing to teach one another. And you are also amazed with the amazing skill sets and talent pool we have right here in our country.”

2. Jimmy Ngu

Over the span of 12 years, he built an Automated Bitcoin Trader, a customised Google Spreadsheet clone and he also designed and implemented site deployment scripts on multi-server clusters.

When asked about the most challenging project he ever worked on he ambitiously said, “Hopefully the next project, and the next project after that, and the next.”

“What I love the most in my industry is the ‘open source’ mentality you see everywhere. Everyone loves sharing what they’ve learnt and we take pride in attending our geeky meetups,” he said. “Promoting and spreading the joy of programming is something that I hold dear to my heart.”

Other than working a day job, he’s also an avid Ruby language evangelist. He co-founded the KL Ruby Brigade in 2013 and they’ve been hosting their monthly meetups (Ruby Tuesdays) since.

3. Dr.Lau CherHan

Lau CherHan has worked on numerous projects over the span of two decades. He built his own startup in Australia called JoinHappen.com and he also contributed to a notable project called myBanjir.com.

He undertook one of his most challenging projects when he worked on a bird detection project at the Microsoft e-research center. They used Nokia smartphones as sensors and deployed them in rural areas to record the birds call, and analyse it using machine learning to detect the presence of birds.

He enjoys applying technology to non-tech based problems and enjoys seeing the various ways technology makes everyone’s life easier. He’s currently working on a series of data science courses that aims to make the process of learning data science fun and easy for everyone. He also conducts courses to promote JavaScripts and other modern programming stacks to help local startups in rapidly developing their prototypes.

4. Tan Aik Keong

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Tan Aik Keong loves using technology to improve people’s life and he worked on an app called “My Ovulation Calculator” that helps women get pregnant with a scientific approach. He also worked on the Doctor2U app, NextProperty app and a creative social polling app called Pollbook. He’s been in the industry for the past 8 years and he lists his work on a cloud-based app builder for celebrities and a football team for the Chinese market as one of his challenging projects.

He’s currently working on projects that target the travel industry and the healthcare industry.

5. Teck Wai Saw

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Coming from a chemical engineering background, he taught himself Objective-C (iOS App Development) by relying on platforms like teamtreehouse.com, stackoverflow.com and github.com. He’s been in the industry for about 4 years and he’s currently responsible for Gaption’s mobile app.

6. Shawn Beck

He worked on more than a dozen gaming projects over a period of 4 years. He lists Velocibox (hardcore, perspective-twisting endless runner), SHIFT (minimalistic narrative first person shooter), Super SteamPuff (upcoming game focused on bringing competitive action games to mobile) as his most beloved projects.

Speaking on game development he said, “Making a game feels like more of an art form than making innovations in tech. The part I love the most about being in games is being able to feed off the enthusiasm of passionate and astoundingly creative peers.”

He divides his time working on his own game, Super SteamPuff and running community events for IGDA Malaysia, and he also organises game jams and hackathons for Game Jam Collective Malaysia.

7. Mohammad Nurdin

Driven by his passion for Artificial Intelligence and his belief that one day Super Artificial Intelligence will assist humanity while solving real world problems, he started his own A.I. company called Intelliji. He’s been in the industry for the past 5 years and during this time he worked on a complex Sniper app game that makes use of OpenCV technology. The purpose of the game is to “shoot” someone using the phone’s camera and the app would track the users face through facial recognition and through a machine learning technique.

He developed M2U Pay, a hybrid app for iOS and android platforms for Maybank Bhd, and other numerous mobile apps for his various clients.

8. Mior Muhammad Zaki

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Mior Muhammad Zaki has been a professional in the industry since 2005 and since then he’s worked on numerous complex and challenging projects. He worked on HeliOffice, an all-in-one aviation software for flight operation, and it was used to manage flight planning and pilot flight duty reports which included calculating the fuel, weight, balance, etc., for each flight. He’s also currently responsible for the work on Katsana platform and for building the GPS tracking and analytic software for consumer and businesses.

He has a knack for web development and he lists Laravel and Vue.js as his favourite frameworks. In fact, he was also mentioned as one of the prominent contributors to the Laravel Framework and he started developing an open source web application framework on top of the Laravel PHP Framework called Orchestra Platform.

9. Muhammad Hanafiah

He’s been in the industry for 10 years and he loves Software as a Service (SaaS) products and web apps. He worked on a complex tracking and analytics project called Linktrackr that helps online marketers and helps them track their campaigns. He had the challenge of ensuring that their architecture was able to handle huge traffic (million of records per day) and to automatically scale up and down during peak periods.

He also worked on other projects like an instant site builder called Nichify and an affiliate network called Ashadee. He currently spends his time working on an unreleased WordPress plugin called ShortyWP that helps marketers shorten long URLs and cloak affiliate links.

10. Khalid Hilaby

“One of the coolest things I did was to take the Instagram engineering challenge, the task was to assemble a shredded image and put it back together as one image programmatically, that was not only pushing my skills in programming, it also made me start recalling all of my math lessons I took in high school and university so that I can put them to use,” he said.

Having been in the industry for nearly 2 decades, Khalid usually builds middleware (software that connects software components) and his most recent projects happen to be banking applications for clients like ambank.com.my, machbyhongeleong.com and also for HSBCs web assets such as sp.hsbc.com.my.

He’s inspired by the fact that technology makes the world seem smaller and it makes communities a lot more accessible. “You see people on StackOverflow sharing their solutions and problem solving skills for free just to help out a random stranger across the world, and they do it for nothing in return.”

“And because of the open source community, most of the mundane problems are solved with a couple of lines so you can focus on the more interesting problems,” he added.

11. Fung Wei

Although Fung Wei dabbled in web development code when he was in high school. He picked up Ruby on Rails last October, and since then he co-founded and built an improved version of GoGet, where he’s the current CTO.

Also, he has been heavily involved in product development and project management for tech products for the last 4.5 years. In that time, he worked for Yes 4G, YTL Communications where he led the development team that built the YesWorld news and content portal, and he was also part of the team that managed YesLife.

12. Devan Singaram

Devan has been in the industry for the past 17 years and he enjoys building products from scratch, and delivering great value to a group of people. He said, “The most challenging projects have rarely been for technical reasons. The challenging part is realising a couple of weeks later that the product and business requirements did not meet.’”

He lists Elevyn, siteforum and a marketplace called TribeHired that helps developers get hired quickly, as some of the coolest projects he has worked on till date. He’s currently spending his time working on a way to help nomads get hired quickly in cities that they travel to. He mentioned that his team is still in the first phase of the project but they’ve seen quite a few people get hired within a week through this tool.

13. Yin See

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Driven by his passion to build things for mass consumption, Tan Yin See currently holds a full-time position at SmartShopper Malaysia. He began SmartShopper, an app that helps shoppers save money by comparing different product prices, as a pet project in 2012. Since then, the app has been downloaded over 300,000 times.

He also built Tiny Planets PRO, an app that takes any picture and renders it as a stereographic image. He’s been in the industry for over 20 years and he also helps a few local startups with their development during his free time.

14. Linda Aidiel

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With about 15 years of experience under her belt, she’s worked on different platforms like Joota.com (social content curating platform), Halal speed dating and Jooblii (an e-commerce site).

She said that working on Joota helped her grow the most, as she had to address many technical challenges pertaining to infrastructure and development. She’s fascinated by the endless changes that the industry often goes through, and she enjoys the process and challenge of learning new things.

15. Akif Rabbani

Akif spent over four months developing an exploit for HyppTV set-top-box that would allow Android apps to be installed onto the platform. However, TM quickly patched things up and he didn’t have time to maintain the exploit because of his studies.

His most notable project is a parcel-tracking platform called trackback.my that combines all the tracking systems of major couriers in Malaysia, and it notifies the user as soon as there’s an update. He’s been developing for the past 10 years, and he’s currently working to launch a prototype of his Internet-of-Things (IoT) startup.

16. Zulfa Juniadi

According to GitHub, Zulfa Juniadi is currently the No. 2 PHP developer in Kuala Lumpur and he juggles his hectic schedule between coding and meetings clients. Given his workload, he created Laravel Base, a code generator that scaffolds boilerplate code so that programmers can focus more on the application’s business logic rather than writing mundane code.

He’s also a member and the admin of a local Facebook group with nearly 12,000 programmers called Programming Laman Web UI/UX (JOMWEB). A few members of the group are currently working on an OpenSource project that uses Raspberry PI to stream video and audio sermons.

Even though he’s a college dropout (like most notable techies), he’s been in the industry since 2007 and he’s worked on complex projects like developing a real time dashboard for the public during Malaysia’s 13th General Election. The platform served verified information to more than 8 million visitors during that period but unfortunately, it was decommissioned after the election.

Given that the tech industry is quite vast in Malaysia, I’m sure that this list barely scratches the surface and it doesn’t represent everyone’s achievements to the fullest. In fact, when I asked for names to be nominated by some people in the tech industry, the nominations made up such an extensive list that took ages to shortlist them. However, if you know any other notable software developer, programmer or a coder in Malaysia, feel free to mention them in the comments below—because they, like the CEOs and founders, deserve recognition too.

This list of developers was curated with the help of Heislyc Loh (AngelHack KL), Iszuddin Ismail, Aj Sangwan (TribeHired) and Desmond Lee (Appxplore).

 

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