November 28, 2021

Meet the Airteam: Jaik - CTO

To help you get to know the Airteam a little better, we're putting them on the hot seat with a Q&A.

Next up is Jaik, our CTO!

Firstly, what is your role at Airtime Rewards and what are your main responsibilities?

Chief Technology Officer.

My day to day work is quite varied, but my ultimate responsibility is to ensure technology is deployed in the best possible way across the business, and to make sure the technical teams have everything they need to do their jobs.

Can you tell us about your background and your Airtime Rewards journey? 

My background is in web development, having worked in some capacity in the industry since 2001 when I was still in school and dealing with a lot of e-commerce projects. In the few years prior to joining Airtime Rewards, I’d worked in more broad technical problem-solving roles, as a solutions architect at a large e-commerce business and working with another startup to get their tech off the ground.

I joined Airtime Rewards in 2016 as the first permanent employee after a conversation with Adam, our CEO and co-founder. The business was very much a startup at that point but had a working proof-of-concept, strong connections and the financial backing it needed, so the potential was very clear.

Things have changed a lot in the last five years, growing from 3 to 30-something members of staff and from 4,000 to 1,500,000 members using our product.

What does a typical day as a CTO look like?

I spend a lot of my time working with the leads from our development, devops and data teams, figuring out how we build and evolve our software as the business grows and changes. That could be brainstorming on greenfield projects, planning how to rework something we’ve used for years, or working on our processes and standards.

I also sit on monthly board meetings, act as a member of the security management team, talk with internal and external stakeholders throughout projects, deliver training, and an endless list of other tasks.

What’s your favourite thing about the role?

As a self-confessed tech nerd, it’s fantastic to see the quality of work the technical teams put out. My favourite times are when the less-experienced and “more junior” members put me in my place and teach me something new about a technology I’ve been using for decades. Having the talent and working environment where that can happen is a rare and rewarding thing.

What project are you most proud of in your 5 years at Airtime?

The one that springs to mind is one that no one outside the business would otherwise ever know about. In the latter half of 2020, we were running into some issues with how our retailer offers were being allocated, causing slowdown to our members, problems managing the offers and considerable cost overheads for servers.

We built a new software platform behind the scenes that used a completely different set of technology and design methods to tackle the problem from a different angle, migrated all historic and current data over to it, and rolled it out to our live systems in a couple of months. Those few weeks of intense and experimental work improved our product considerably for our members, our retail partners and ourselves. And it has contributed to considerable ongoing cost-saving and has informed how a number of upcoming projects will be delivered technically.

Can you give us any hints on future projects?

There’s not much I can talk about right now, but there are some exciting things being worked on for 2022.

Keep your eyes peeled 👀

What’s your main piece of advice for someone looking to get into a tech role?

It’s all about self-learning. Technology and the industry move so quickly that anything you learn in an academic setting will become out of date amazingly quickly, and you’ll constantly be learning new things throughout your career. Think of something you’d like to build, go online and learn how to build it; the tutorials, resources and people willing to give up their time to help nowadays are endless.

When not working at Airtime, what do you like to do in your free time?

I’m a huge petrolhead, so anything related to cars. I compete in a national sprint series and spend most of my downtime either designing, producing and fitting parts to the race car, or learning about the nerdy side of racing; aerodynamics, suspension design and engine management. My next projects for the winter are fitting a roll cage, upgrading all the electronics, and doing a full rewire.

And finally, why should everyone be using Airtime Rewards?

Because it makes all of our hard work worthwhile when we see how much our members are saving.

Go on then, listen to Jaik. Download Airtime Rewards here, if you haven't already!

Quick-fire Questions 🔥

1. Favourite Airtime feature?

Frictionless tracking of your purchases, with no annoying links to click or QR codes to scan.

2. Other than Airtime, what is your favourite app?

It’s a tie between Ebay and AutoTrader. I love browsing for knackered old cars to clutter my drive with.

3. Spender or Saver? 

I’m quite the fiscal butterfly and flit between the two.

4. First Job?

Web development for an old video games website based in the US, at the age of 15.

5. Best thing about working at Airtime? 

I gave an earnest answer above, so I’ll be shallow and say the amount of coffee, cake and office dog visits we have.

6. Which retailer have you earned the most rewards with?

Halfords, buying tools to fix the cars from question 2!

7. Favourite food? 

One of everything off a tapas menu.

8. Dogs or Cats? 

Cats.

9. What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

The first commercial project I worked on was a website for a swingers club. I was 15 at the time and had to give the client written permission from my mum to work on it.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know our Chief Technology Officer, Jaik! 

Keep an eye out for future Meet the Team blogs and opportunities to join the Airteam on our LinkedIn page.

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