This month, we’re spotlighting some of the amazing Kivans who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make Kiva possible.

Let’s start with two of the incredible folks who build and maintain the Kiva website and all the technical systems we rely on: Amy and Aswin!

Q&A with Amy Rish, Engineering Manager at Kiva:

What do you do at Kiva? 
I am responsible for systems software development for Kiva's main database, Kiva’s reporting warehouse, and Kiva’s financial systems. I also monitor the integrity test process, which ensures that our millions of transactions are correct.

What part of your job do you enjoy most?  
The coolest part of my job is coming up with ways to scale Kiva's software architecture to 10x – 100x its current capacity while making sure all of the numbers in the system remain correct. We're gradually replacing core pieces of our software with more flexible ones that will provide new capabilities and let us grow as an organization. It’s very important to make sure that the system runs correctly throughout the process of migrating to the new software.

What was the hardest project you’ve worked on at Kiva?  
The preparation for the first audit of Kiva User Funds - it took over a year to make sure we had the transactions, accounting process and financial details right – we were working with six years worth of data! No single part of the project was really difficult, but the length and sheer number of details were challenging.

What’s one of your favorite memories that involves Kiva?  
I love that wearing my Kiva shirt always leads to interesting conversations with passionate lenders and borrowers; it really shows that the Kiva family is everywhere!

I was in the Portland airport early one morning and wearing my Kiva shirt. As I was boarding my flight, I met another passenger who was excited to talk to talk about Kiva with me. It turned out she was a longtime neighbor and friend of Chelsa’s, Kiva’s senior director of Marketing & Community!


Q&A with Aswin Venkata, Software Engineer at Kiva:

What do you do at Kiva?
I help build and fix features on the main website. During innovation iterations, the time dedicated to working on new and innovative projects or features, I build tools to help Kiva’s engineering process. I'm also involved in building and supporting mobile initiatives led by Kiva. 

What part of your job do you enjoy most?
I love innovation iteration. Engineers at Kiva have 20% of our time blocked off to work on new products we want to build.

The people in the Kiva community - employees, borrowers, partners, and lenders - are amazingly passionate and intelligent, and they inspire me everyday. In every innovation iteration, I try to build cool stuff for our lenders as a "thank you" for the awesome stuff they do. 

What was the hardest project you’ve worked on at Kiva?
The new "Category Lend Pages" Kiva has been experimenting with is the hardest project I have worked on so far. Architecturally, the new pages are a huge shift from how we have traditionally developed web applications. The amount of innovation combined with the tight timeline has made this project one of the most challenging, but also one of the most exciting and satisfying.

What’s one of your favorite memories that involves Kiva?
It's hard to choose just one moment; for the past four years at Kiva, every day has been epic. Although I especially enjoy when I receive "Kiva Love" (our way of showing appreciation for our coworkers) at our monthly Kiva All Hands meeting or when I get treats from my fellow Kivans for the stuff I build in innovation iteration.
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