How Gojek Design Helped Me Find My Own ‘Rome’

Here’s my journey being a part of Gojek’s design team, and everything that led to it.

How Gojek Design Helped Me Find My Own ‘Rome’

By Alfian Imanuddin

The journey began right after I graduated from a Computer and Network Engineering Vocational School in 2016. At that time, I was rejected from every college I applied to, didn’t think there was any chance I could get into my dream college. And even if I did, my financial constraints wouldn’t allow me to go there.

While I thought success costs money, my father told me something that made me ponder over my approach to things.

“All roads lead to Rome.”

I didn’t like it when he said that, maybe because he was right. I realised I might have spent too much time on something that didn’t really matter, instead of finding my own way to make my dreams come true, despite limitations surrounding me.

Where it all started

One day in early 2017, my dad offered me a job in his office as a layouter and graphic designer for a local newspaper in my hometown. I had nothing to lose, so I took the job. But, little did I know that this was going to be my first step to get to my Rome.

After working for a while, I finally had enough money to pay for college tuition. Although it wasn’t for my dream college, I still took my chance to go there. I went to study economics at a private university for half a semester, before I finally quit as I was unable to juggle with studies and work at the same time.

Going to college was something I really wanted, but apparently it wasn’t something I really needed. So I figured college wasn’t my Rome.

In early 2018, a friend from high school suggested I work as a front-end developer for a local startup company. Although, I still had pretty much nothing to lose, I was a bit hesitant this time as I had no idea about what it was. But he talked me into taking it and ensured I’d fit the job just fine. So I took it.

I’d be lying if I said it was a cake walk. The first few days was full of new things to learn since it was an uncharted territory for me. But I had a good feeling it was going to be something I like.

Part of my job as a front-end developer at that time was to design the user interface for a mobile app. In a relatively short time, I found myself really hooked to this part of the job.

I was amazed by how design can solve the problem of many people and realised why user experience (UX) design exists in the first place.

I finally knew UX design was something I wanted and needed to do better. So I set my new goal. I wanted to dig deeper and switch my career into it. Though self learning had been going well for me, I knew that it wasn’t enough. I had to learn from as many resources I could find.

Luckily, my job allowed me not only to travel and live in bigger cities like Bandung and Surabaya, but also to get closer to the resources I needed. And I, indeed, used the best of my time to get to know many things about UX while I was there. I joined many workshops, a 3-month Bootcamp, and met the experts who then became my mentors. Just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, I was wrong, and I’m glad I was!

At the end of my Bootcamp, I figured Gojek Design was looking for new talents through a roadshow event called ‘Gojek Design Keliling’ in Bandung.

Still being the nothing-to-lose guy that I was, I signed up for the event by sending my portfolio. Never try never know, right?

The silver and golden tickets

A few days later, I received an email along with a silver ticket, which meant I had the chance to present my portfolio to the team. There was excitement, but I didn’t get ahead of myself because it was an early step in a loooong journey. I had to set my expectation low and focus on thinking about the opportunity to showcase my work and get as much feedback as possible.

The team liked my presentation and gave me the golden ticket for a case study session at the Gojek Head Office a few weeks after the event.

Gojek Design Keliling Bandung, from left, Tri Nugraha, Galih Pambudi, Anton Chandra & Reza Novriansyah
It’s me, with the golden ticket! ❤

The interview…and much more

Unlike the previous interview, this time the team was not just asking me questions, but also assigning me to collaborate with them in a case study session. I was given a problem statement and had to return with some solutions within 5 days.

Long story short, I was able to find some solutions for the problem and returned to the team just in time. The presentation, which I thought will only be attended by the panelists, turned out to be more crowded than I expected.

I was really nervous about it and that feeling didn’t go away until the end of the session, which made it rather difficult to explain my design solutions. I ended up making some minor mistakes and got anxious whether or not I could make it to the next round.

I could see Rome from a distance, but could I get there?

One day after that session, the recruiter informed me that I could proceed to the final interview with the Vice President of Gojek Design, Abhinit Tiwari.

In that final interview, I was asked about my working experience, thoughts on design, favourite books, and other things that weren’t as intimidating as in the previous interviews. 😅

It went well and it was a blissfully fulfilling interview. A few days later, I got my offer letter from Gojek, and that’s how I set foot in my own Rome.

Oh, I was never asked about my college degree throughout the interview! Wild? Not so much in Gojek. 🤷‍♂️

The whole process made me realise Gojek is focussed more on what one can do as an individual, rather than what’s attached to them.

This journey taught me a few things:

1. Have a growth mindset

This can help one to believe that we can always learn new things in life and be a better person, despite having multiple challenges blocking our way.

2. Make mistakes and learn from them

As scary and embarrassing as they are, it’s important to just embrace the fact that sometimes we can’t avoid making mistakes and failure. Instead of refraining from it, take what you can learn out of it and analyse what to do to not repeat the same mistakes.

3. Seek for experience

Focus the intention on what best can be done at the moment, not on what we earn from doing it. This will help us set priorities and achieve goals better.

Never get discouraged by limitations. Like we at Gojek say: #ThereIsAlwaysAWay

Click here for more stories about GoTroop journeys and how we build our Gojek #SuperApp. 💚