Meet the Software Development Interns Behind the Launch of Send4x

SINGAPORE

31 July 2019

Send4x is a comparison platform for remittance fees that was recently launched in June 2019. While unique in terms of the value it brings to users and remittance companies, it also has an interesting backstory about the team behind its launch. Send4x is the third platform in a line of products designed specifically to drive price transparency in the money services industry by 4xLabs, but the first to be launched with the help of a team of software development interns.

Our software development interns, Kenneth, Yi Ern and Wang Lu!
Our software development interns, Kenneth, Yi Ern and Wang Lu!

Meet Kenneth Chua, Yi Ern Lim and Wang Lu. They are computer science undergraduates from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and from May to July 2019, they were also software development interns at 4xLabs. Together with Bavithra Rajendran, B2C product manager and Sowmiya Seshadri, the lead developer, they formed part of the core Send4x development team that was the driving force behind its official launch. The team also worked on Get4x, a comparison site for cash exchange rates after the launch of Send4x.

Kenneth, Wang Lu and Yi Ern share their thoughts about the pros and cons of being a software development intern at 4xLabs, as well as what they have learnt from their experience.

Describe some of the projects and tasks you worked on during your internship.

Kenneth:

I worked on two products of 4xLabs, Send4x and Get4x. Both projects are very interesting and challenging - they require me to learn programming languages that I am not very familiar with. As Send4x is heavy on web components, I was tasked to create them and look into the compatibility of web components with different browsers. Page speed optimization was another task assigned to me. Using different tools, we were able to investigate what caused the web or mobile application to perform badly in terms of speed. With those results, we used different techniques such as image minifying to optimize the web page’s performance. Other tasks also include UI fixes, bug fixes, and creating a widget of Send4x to be integrated into the Get4x platform to drive web traffic.

Yi Ern:

I worked on two products - Send4x and Get4x. On Send4x, my friends and I got to work together with the lead developer of the project using an agile development methodology. During this internship, I learnt how to optimize page speeds, how page speed actually impacts users, and gained the opportunity to implement different user interfaces. On top of finding and fixing bugs on the website, I also had the chance to work on the Send4x widget with my friends. On Get4x, I worked on implementing some minor UX improvements.

Wang Lu:

I worked on the Send4x project which is a website that helps users to find the best rates for transferring money online. I was assigned to several tasks such as the automation of JSON input to reduce development effort and increase the code and site’s maintainability. Furthermore, I worked on speed optimisation of the website to improve the page speed scoring by Google PageSpeed Insights from around 60% to 92%. In addition, I fixed minor bugs of the website and developed a web component widget for the Send4x project to allow it to be integrated into other websites.

The most memorable moment of my internship was...

Kenneth:

I was working with a ticket related to web component compatibility with Microsoft and Internet Explorer. I tried many different methods and posted several questions online and gained a significant amount of knowledge on web components.

Yi Ern:

Being able to work with my friends in the same project, not in a school project, but on a real-world product. This excites me as the things we worked on will be deployed in a production environment in the future. I also gained more insights on front-end development.

Wang Lu:

Working on front-end development. In school, I worked on back-end and database for all my projects and have little knowledge and experience with front-end. Through the Send4x project, I have learnt so much about front-end development which is quite interesting as well.

The most significant achievement during this internship is...

Kenneth:

The extent of development on Send4x since the day that we entered 4xLabs. All the effort we put into improving the website was acknowledged.

Yi Ern:

The deployment of Send4x, as we worked to make incremental enhancements. Every completed task can be seen on the live website, and the site is constantly improving since the first day of launch.

Wang Lu:

The deployment of Send4x with a nice user interface and good functionality. The website has greatly improved from the first day of our internship.

From the internship, I learnt...

Kenneth:

… how to use Web Components. As part of my school curriculum, we are taught traditional frameworks such as Model-View-Controller (MVC) and do not have the chance to work with other frameworks, such as utilizing web components as it is highly reusable. Working with five other programmers also taught me how to use my source control version application better. This internship has taught me the importance of how I write my program as it will have a very significant impact on my page performance. For example, a good page performance on the website might not necessarily mean a good page performance on the mobile application. Lastly, this internship allowed us to experience the agile development lifecycle as it wasn’t as easy to practice it in school with many different modules and assignments running concurrently.

Yi Ern:

… how to improve page speed and work in a rapid agile development lifecycle. Additionally, I have gained more knowledge and experience of front-end development for Send4x, as well as how a company actually manages the different versions of a product through a version control system using branches. Although we get to learn how a version control system works in school, we work with a lot more people during this project, which made me realize the importance of using such a system when many developers are involved.

Wang Lu:

… more about Python automation which can automate many tedious tasks to make developers’ lives easier. I also learnt more about front-end development from our very friendly and patient lead developer, Sowmiya. In addition, I learnt how to optimise a website’s page speed to load the page faster, gain more users and provide a better user experience. In addition, I learnt more about how Bitbucket is being used as a version control system to manage different stages of the project. Last but not least, I have learnt to work in a rapid agile development lifecycle.

What did you like most about the internship?

Kenneth:

I achieved the goal of learning new things that I set for myself before the internship. I also made new friends that are willing to guide and mentor me throughout my time with 4xLabs.

Yi Ern:

The internship is enjoyable and I met many people here who are approachable. We were guided by a very nice lead developer of Send4x, Sowmiya. She is very patient in guiding us when we are in doubt.

Wang Lu:

The people here are friendly, especially our lead developer for the Send4x project, Sowmiya, who is very patient and helpful in guiding us along during the internship. She is very approachable and is always there to help us whenever we are in doubt.

(Top row) Yi Ern, Bavithra and Wang Lu (Second row) Sowmiya and Kenneth
(Top row) Yi Ern, Bavithra and Wang Lu (Second row) Sowmiya and Kenneth

Reflecting back on their experience, the interns suggested having more than one full-time programmer for backend and database development, as it was very difficult for Sowmiya to mentor and guide all of them during the internship.

We’d like to thank Kenneth, Wang Lu and Yi Ern for sharing their experience at 4xLabs, as well as their hard work in both preparing Send4x for launch and improving the platform after launch. If you are seeking a meaningful internship with real-world impact, write in to us at hr@4xlabs.co. We are always on the lookout for product, software development and marketing interns!

About 4xLabs

4xLabs is a Singapore fintech that develops technology solutions for financial and professional services. In 2012, the company launched an online app for comparing money changing rates known as Get4x, which has a growing community of 260,000 users, and is available in 22 cities. In 2016, it launched an online integrated platform for money services business to manage all aspects of their business, known as Biz4x. Biz4x is used in more than 35 countries today. The latest innovation from 4xLabs is Send4x, a platform that compares and breaks down the cost of remittance.