Channa Ly: Star of the Month and the Man Behind the Code

August 30, 2023

Star of the Month Channa Ly has over a decade of experience in the software world and a passion for work-life balance. Dive in with us as we explore his journey from local Cambodian software developer to his profound impact at OTGS, celebrating his achievements and getting a glimpse of his daily life.

At the national park in Cambodia

What do you like about working at OTGS?

OnTheGoSystems offers a great environment to work and grow my career, promoting a healthy work-life balance. Here at OTGS, I work with great people, great teams from different time zones and cultures.

What were you doing before joining OTGS?

Before working for OTGS, I used to work as a senior software developer for a local company here in Cambodia, specializing in PHP development for 3 years. I primarily worked on Joomla CMS, an E-commerce platform called OS-commerce, and the CakePHP framework. During my work with CakePHP, I discovered RubyOnRails.

Later on, I joined a US tech organization that develops software for local and regional NGOs and governments, utilizing RubyOnRails and Cloud technologies. I spent 6 years helping their partners build software for critical missions. I learned a lot during this time, including technologies like RubyOnRails, functional languages like Erlang, Elasticsearch, mobile app development, and Cloud deployment.

Right before joining OTGS, I worked for startups for more than 7 years in Cambodia, the US, and Canada.

What is your current role at OTGS?

I am part of the Translation Proxy (TP) team. In the TP team, we manage a set of web applications and APIs that power WPML and the WPML linkage with translation services. My role involves ensuring these applications are maintainable in a healthy environment and implementing new requirements. I also gather feedback from WPML customers and translation services.

I am also a core team member of the SSO project, which aims to improve WPML customers’ login experience and security by reducing login to one set of credentials across the company’s portfolios.

What are the challenges you’ve faced and are proud to have overcome during your time at OTGS?

Before joining, the main challenges I was concerned about were communication, team management, and culture. Most companies claim to have a remote-first culture with a healthy environment for teams to grow. I was a bit skeptical about that.

After spending one week with the team, I would give everyone a thumbs-up for their exceptional skills and their willingness to lend a hand to help you get up to speed quickly. The onboarding experience was very clear and easy to follow.

From a technical perspective, at OTGS and the TP team in particular, we use a lot of microservices. Each app communicates with the others, making things harder to debug and presenting a bit of a challenge for anyone who hasn’t worked with this kind of setup before.

With some help and tricks from my colleagues, things started to become more natural, easier to maintain, and decoupled.

What is your typical day like?

Cambodia is located in the Indochina Time (GMT+7), and some of the teams are in Africa and Europe. To align with the team, I start my day at 11 a.m. and end at 9 p.m. with a two-hour gap. Sometimes I have critical cases to handle with the team, so I work a bit longer.

How do you stay focused on your tasks when working remotely?

I normally try to stay motivated by having a set of things in my everyday to-do list:

  • Cleaning up my email inbox
  • Reviewing merge requests
  • Reading YT tickets that need my feedback
  • Working on my assigned TY tickets

If I am asked to work on certain tickets while I am in the middle of another task, I have to check the severity of the issue and compare it with my current priority. Then, I communicate with my colleagues to let them know when I will work on the requested tickets. My rule of thumb is to stay focused on my in-progress tasks, work on high-priority tasks first, and make sure that I don’t block others.

How do you unwind after a busy day?

Since I don’t have to commute back home, I have time to play with my little daughter after work, take her for a short walk, and then go for a run around my house to get some exercise. In my personal time, I enjoy watching movies, learning new things by reading e-books, and following YouTube tutorials.

A holiday trip to a resort in Kep province, Cambodia

What led you to choose remote work?

Remote work is a global trend, and I think it is a valuable skill for career development. Additionally, I have the opportunity to work with diverse and talented people from different cultures, languages, and backgrounds around the world.

As a personal preference, I appreciate the freedom to create a workspace that makes me comfortable and productive. I also enjoy the flexibility, autonomy, and empowerment that remote work provides. In terms of daily life, I appreciate not having to commute and deal with traffic, which contributes to my overall well-being.

Visiting a Safari in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A family trip during a public holiday

Come Work With Us

Are you interested in working with a globally distributed team that encourages growth and advancement? Are you ready to harness the power of technology for a better future?