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Is Amazon Prime Saving Delivery Charges? Amazon Seller Comments with inside details.

· 2 min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

Disclaimer: Amazon is used as a reference only, the issue of delivery charges is omnipresent in the ecommerce world. Treat the below article as an education material only.

On Amazon marketplace, the delivery charges or logistics charges are unavoidable because the amazon products are to be delivered to the customer by Amazon itself.

Amazon charges for the delivery directly and indirectly

Amazon marketplace makes money from both sides.

  1. Money from Customers who buy on Amazon
  2. Money from Sellers who sell on Amazon

This is when things turn awry for me. As a seller I pay delivery charges based on multiple factors like location of the seller and how far the location is relative to the seller location. As a seller I have no visibility on if the customer is a prime member or not. Neither any discounts on prime are shown to me. As a seller, I have to factor in the delivery charges in the MRP or collect separate delivery fees. As a amazon prime member if I buy the product, I am already paying for the delivery charge which is factored into the pricing by the seller.

If a non amazon prime member does the purchase below the threshold, then the amazon customer has to pay delivery charges twice because the seller has already factored in, the delivery charges along with the cost price and profit.

But Amazon prime members are not really given any "Free Delivery" as promised, its just a waive off of an platform charge associated with Amazon. The 1499 per year is not a discount voucher for delivery charges. In fact, you might have noticed that some products are less than 50 INR in physical stores like pens but on Amazon they are 150Rs etc because of the delivery charges.

Overall the delivery charges are unavoidable on any ecommerce platform and diminishes the value of the sales if the shopper is not careful. To be careful, the shopper need to be aware of the prices in the real world.

Summary

  1. Both Amazon Prime and Non Prime members bear the shipping charges directly and indirectly
  2. As a online shopper, think of the value of the shopping transaction before you close the purchase along with myriad other quality and other concerns.

Price is what you pay, value is what you get.

From Home Comforts to Office, the end of episode WFH

· 5 min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

In the army, the personnel are called soldiers. In tech companies, the personnel are called resources. The army trains in camps and carries weapons. Resources work in offices, GCC, and carry laptops. In 2020 due to covid pandemic outbreak, the resources were asked to work from home. Thats how the resources experienced work from home lifestyle, the episode started. Fast forward 2024, the resources are asked to leave behind the work from home and come back to office marking the end of episode work from home, lovingly called the WFH.

Some companies went the extra mile and allowed the resources to work from anywhere forever. In a similar time frame, I wrote an article about work from home vs remote working. The key takeaway was that working from home was a temporary fix unless the company adopted the culture mentioned in the book Remote, Office Not Required.

Fast forward to the start of 2024, almost all companies have given a first call, second call, or in some cases, a final call asking resources to get back to working from the office. This means that the comfort of working from home and the associated lifestyle is no more. But there have to be a few reasons why the back-to-office movement is happening. Of course, there are many reasons; here are a few as quoted by management.

Reasons to get back to the office

  1. Covid is out of the picture; we can get back to the old way of working from the office. Our senior management is already doing it.
  2. Operating in silos or as small teams won't boost the morale of the team or the culture of the company.
  3. Use the office as a space to build your personal brand.
  4. Please come to the office and use the building; we have purchased or leased it already for the long term. We have made it better in the recent renovation.
  5. The economy depends on your return to the office; the cab drivers, janitors, and realtors need you.

If you ask me, except for the first reason, the others should not be taken seriously.

How management is pulling resources back to the office

  1. The company-wide call announcing mandatory work from the office for a minimum of 3 days.
  2. Check if employees have punched into the office for a minimum of 3 days or 50% of working days.
  3. Bring in a policy that allows reduced pay for people working remotely.
  4. Bring in another policy that values presence in the office. No promotion if not working from the office. Personally, this statement is dangerous. Companies pay higher salaries to retain employees and not out of obligation. Having said that, more salary reduction could mean being on the layoff list.
  5. In-office meetings and not having the option for online participation from WFH resources.

My reaction to the back-to-office episode

  1. In late 2020, after analyzing the implementation of WFH, it was clear that this was a temporary arrangement.
  2. I condemn the press statements and town hall speeches by the management of tech companies in favor of working from anywhere. Everyone believed that working from home would continue forever.
  3. Later in 2023, the management was the first to step into the office, followed by their immediate teams. This set an example for the whole company that working from the office is the way to conduct business.
  4. Working from the office could mean perks like team lunches and client visits happening soon. Good for those with passports ready.
  5. Companies need to be mindful about the transition and set the deadlines accordingly. Some employees were working in their pyjamas for long hours at home. In the work-from-office arrangement, they will waste time commuting, etc.
  6. I am surprised when no management person said that working from the office is an opportunity for osmosis of ideas, easy to mentor juniors, or have fun moments. It looks like none of these happen at the workplace anymore or have been forgotten because of insufficient use.

Don't go to extremes

One person got into an argument where he refused to take the laptop home in the work-from-office arrangement, which led to tensions at the workplace. Accept that no system is perfect and software has bugs. In a long career span of 40 years, anything can happen. Many trends come and go.

We lived the WFH moment; it's time to move on.

Exploring the Capgemini UI Director Role, A Deep Dive

· 4 min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

When we delve into the realm of frontend engineering, the position of a Director of UI Frontend Architects emerges not just as a job but as a beacon on the intricate career ladder of frontend engineers. The intrigue deepens as we unravel the specifics of this captivating role, as posted by Capgemini on Linkedin Jobs. Let's embark on this exploration.

Exploring the Job Landscape

Location: Mumbai

Company: Capgemini

Department: Not mentioned

Subjects: Lead other frontend architects

Position: Director

Experience: 18-22 years

Decoding the Director's Role

The role of a Director of Frontend typically involves overseeing and leading the frontend development team within a company.

  1. Lead and manage a team of frontend architects, providing guidance, mentorship, and support.

  2. Collaborate with other departments, such as product management and design, to understand business goals and translate them into frontend development strategies.

  3. Evaluate and make decisions on the adoption of new technologies to improve the frontend development process.

  4. Foster collaboration and communication between different teams to achieve common goals.

  5. Drive a culture of continuous improvement within the frontend team, encouraging learning, experimentation, and innovation.

  6. Ensure that frontend projects are delivered on time, within scope, and meet the specified requirements.

  7. Work with QA teams to establish and maintain testing processes for frontend applications, ensuring high-quality and bug-free releases.

TLDR - Technical leadership + Frontend experience = Director of frontend

Job Prerequisites

The Director of Frontend is not merely a manager; it is a leadership role that entails steering the frontend development team within a company.

  • Team Leadership: Guide and manage a team of frontend architects, offering mentorship and support.

  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Collaborate with other departments, such as product management and design, to align frontend development with business goals.

  • Technological Decision-Making: Evaluate and make decisions regarding the adoption of new technologies to enhance the frontend development process.

  • Team Collaboration: Foster collaboration and communication between diverse teams to achieve shared objectives.

  • Continuous Improvement Advocate: Instill a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging learning, experimentation, and innovation within the frontend team.

  • Project Delivery Assurance: Ensure timely delivery of frontend projects within scope and meeting specified requirements.

  • Quality Assurance: Collaborate with QA teams to establish and maintain testing processes for frontend applications, ensuring high-quality, bug-free releases.

TLDR - Technical Leadership + Frontend Expertise = Director of Frontend

Qualifications

The qualifications listed for this role encompass:

  • Experience: Proven track record in frontend and mobile technologies.

  • Business Contribution: Demonstrated contribution to sales and profit & loss (P&L).

  • Tech Acumen: Good understanding of Metaverse, XR, and GenAI.

  • Project Management: Managed deliveries of large and complex engagements as a Frontend/Enterprise architect.

  • Pre-sales and Business Development: Proficiency in presales and business development activities across geographies as a technical solution architect.

My Insight

This mid-senior level position implies that the Director of UI could potentially be at the helm of a research division, horizontal team, or internal team. Responsibilities include coordinating with frontend architects and presenting clients with tailored business solutions. The role demands awareness of cutting-edge technologies like the Metaverse and GenAI.

Preparation for this role leans heavily on job experience (60%), networking for referrals (20%), and the remaining 30% can be attributed to strategic preparation.

In Conclusion

The emergence of frontend job roles for professionals with two decades of experience is intriguing. A commanding grasp of frontend intricacies, coupled with business domain knowledge, excellent communication skills, and self-confidence, is imperative for the Director of Frontend.

Reference

Capgemini, Director frontend Job Ad

Exploring the Amazon Design Technologist Role, A Deep Dive

· 4 min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

In the vast landscape of job opportunities in the Indian subcontinent, the niche role of design technologists remains as elusive as the majestic tigers that roam the region. Job postings for design technologists are a rarity, and it's not every day that one comes across such an opportunity. Recently, I stumbled upon a job posting from Amazon Bangalore for the position of Design Technologist. As a lead design technologist, I feel compelled to delve into the contours of this intriguing job opportunity.

Contour of the Job

Location: Bangalore

Company: Amazon

Department: Amazon Ads Design Team

Subjects: Digital Advertising, Multi-channel Ads, E-commerce

Position: Design Technologist

Team: Design Leaders

Defining Design Technologist

The role of a design technologist lacks a universally accepted definition in the job market, prompting the Amazon recruiter to articulate their interpretation. As a Design Technologist at Amazon, one is expected to strike a balance between technical execution and design strategy, contributing to the creation of innovative landing pages and digital ad solutions. The ideal candidate possesses a passion for both design and development, demonstrating strong front-end proficiency, creative problem-solving skills, and a discerning eye for world-class functional design.

TLDR: Design and Technical Leadership = Design Technologist

The core attributes of a design technologist encompass conveying design strategy through code, proficiency in front-end technologies, UX patterns, and best practices, building prototypes with vanilla JS and CSS, attention to detail in library maintenance, and the ability to work on multiple projects while creatively solving business challenges.

Job Requirements

The Amazon recruiter has outlined several unique requirements for the design technologist role:

  • Web development experience across multiple devices, web-views, and browsers.
  • Delivery of functional prototypes on new devices.
  • Full participation in the lifecycle of design and development.
  • Inclusion of an online portfolio with process examples.
  • Ability to develop ad campaign strategy, use cases, and technical requirements.

Qualifications

Beyond the common prerequisites such as end-to-end ownership and web/mobile app development experience, the unique qualifications include:

  • Development of visually polished, engaging, and highly fluid UX prototypes using Figma/Sketch.
  • Previous experience in complex UI animations, with an emphasis on understanding webGL, React Spring, and Framer Motion.
  • Familiarity with Tensorflow and ThreeJS, along with prior experience as a UX/Interaction designer.

My Observation

The job requirements clearly emphasize mastery in frontend development, design, and UI with a focus on animations. An ideal candidate may have undergone a career transition from UX to Frontend or vice versa at some point. This role may not align with the skill set of full-stack engineers.

Rigorous preparation is paramount for applicants aiming to stand out in a competitive landscape. The scarcity of job openings necessitates a 10x effort in interview preparation, with priority often given to candidates from top colleges, those with resumes from reputed companies, and those with referrals. Design technologist roles demand intensive preparation, as exemplified by the specifics outlined in the discussed Amazon job posting.

Conclusion

In a scenario where job openings are scarce, candidates must elevate their interview preparation to tenfold levels due to heightened competition. The discussed design technologist job at Amazon provides a comprehensive overview of the responsibilities, qualifications, and desirable skills, serving as a guide for professionals aspiring to thrive in this specialized field.

Reference

Amazon Bangalore, Design Technologist Job Ad

Insights from Principle Frontend Job Descriptions - Week 2, 2024

· 3 min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

Welcome back to our ongoing series, "Insights from Job Boards." In this week's edition, we delve into the crucial job market requirements for senior-level Frontend Managers. These insights are gathered from the second week of 2024, shedding light on the skills and expertise demanded by today's dynamic professional landscape. More posts related to this series can be found with hash-tag job-descriptions.

  1. Extensive Experience and Academic Prowess: Senior Frontend Managers are expected to bring over a decade of hands-on experience to the table, coupled with a valid Computer Science degree. Proficiency in application architecture, software R&D, product engineering, and full-stack development is paramount.

  2. Mastery of Architectural Paradigms: Candidates should exhibit proficiency in both monolith and micro frontend architectures, showcasing their adaptability to diverse technological frameworks.

  3. Proficiency in Key Frontend Technologies: A prerequisite for the role is proficiency in React and Redux, complemented by expertise in at least one MV* framework such as Angular. This ensures a well-rounded skill set in the rapidly evolving frontend landscape.

  4. Embrace of Testing and CI/CD Best Practices: Senior Frontend Managers must be well-versed in testing tools and the setup of Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) processes. The expectation is to design and deploy robust frameworks and governance structures for SaaS engineering.

  5. Leadership and Project Management Skills: Successful candidates will have a proven track record of leading large development teams, crafting elegant solutions, managing engineering scope, schedules, and costs. Additionally, they should be adept at assessing developer productivity and ensuring comprehensive technical documentation.

  6. Expertise in Data Visualization: Experience in contributing to interactive dashboards, visualization platforms, and GIS applications is highly desirable. This reflects the growing importance of data representation and user engagement in modern web development.

  7. Continuous Learning and Thought Leadership: A commitment to staying abreast of the latest software engineering developments is crucial. Candidates are expected to establish reference architectures, generate thought leadership, and contribute to high-end intellectual property generation.

  8. Accessibility Awareness: Strong familiarity with Web Accessibility standards is a must. Knowledge of tools and libraries like Canvas, SVG, and others is an added advantage, showcasing a commitment to inclusive and user-friendly design.

  9. Holistic Understanding of Software Engineering Practices: Candidates should possess knowledge in Agile/Scrum methodologies, API Lifecycle Management, DevOps, Microservices, and SaaS/PaaS engineering. Exposure to major cloud platforms (preferably GCP), Open Source projects, and industry best practices is essential.

  10. Advanced Scripting Skills: Proficiency in scripting languages such as Python, Perl, TCL, UNIX shells, or equivalent is expected. Familiarity with public cloud providers (AWS, GCP, Azure), as well as container technologies like Docker and Kubernetes, is a valuable asset in the modern tech landscape.

In conclusion, the role of a Senior Frontend Manager in 2024 demands a comprehensive skill set that spans technology, leadership, and innovation. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying at the forefront of these requirements will be key to thriving in the competitive job market.

3 step process to keep your NPM packages updated in VS Code

· One min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

Here is a short post detailing the methodology used by me to keep the npm packages up to date.

  1. Install vs-code extension called package-json-upgrade which will give information about the latest version available.

Extension ID of the extension - codeandstuff.package-json-upgrade

  1. Use package-json-upgrade extension tooltip to update the package.

  2. Run npm update to update the packages and modify the package-lock.json

Once updates are performed, check if the application can build successfully.

Pitfalls of Standing Instructions, Techies Guide to Avoiding Unwanted Charges

· 4 min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

As a techie, managing digital spending has come with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to managing finances and subscriptions. One recurring issue that has cost me money on multiple occasions is the use of standing instructions for payments, where entering credit card details during free trials can lead to unforeseen financial consequences. In this blog post, I will share three instances where standing instructions resulted in financial loss and discuss strategies to mitigate these risks.

Google Cloud: The Silent Bill Accumulator

Same can happen on any cloud services aggregator

Google Cloud's free tier is a playground for developers, offering a range of services to experiment with. However, the requirement to enter credit card information exposes users to potential financial risks. Some dormant services can accumulate bills, and unpaid amounts accrue interest at a hefty 30% per annum. To avoid an unpleasant surprise, it is crucial for developers to actively monitor their Google Cloud billing section, even when services are in a dormant stage. While setting budgets can help control costs, it's imperative to note that alerts alone may not prevent services from running over the set limit.

Netflix and Allies: The Subscription Renewal Trap

Managing media consumption subscriptions can be challenging, especially when juggling multiple platforms. To optimize costs, my family cycles through apps every two months to watch all available titles without paying for them simultaneously. The challenge lies in remembering to cancel subscriptions before they auto-renew. Forgetting to do so results in wasted money. Vigilance and regular subscription audits are essential to avoid unnecessary charges.

Overcharging after Subscription Renewal

Yearly renewing subscriptions often come with an unwelcome surprise—the increased subscription price. Unfortunately, standing instructions automatically accept the higher cost, even if the renewed service may no longer be worth the investment. To prevent this, it's crucial to reassess the value of the service before allowing standing instructions to renew it automatically.

How to Avoid Unwanted Charges

  1. Maintain a Detailed Record: Create and regularly update an Excel sheet containing all websites where you've authorized standing instructions for payments. This centralized record will serve as a quick reference and aid in monitoring financial commitments.

  2. Stay Informed: Actively monitor notifications and emails related to payments and billing. Ignoring these alerts can lead to unintended financial consequences. Stay informed to take timely action. In India we have sihub website where we can see all the autopay instructions in one place.

  3. Seek Remedies: In case of discrepancies or unexpected charges, don't hesitate to seek help from customer support. Engage with the respective platforms to find a suitable remedy, which might include closing an account or modifying standing instructions.

Conclusion

As a techie, navigating the world of standing instructions requires diligence and strategic planning. By learning from my experiences with Google Cloud, media subscriptions, and renewal surprises, you can implement proactive strategies to avoid financial losses. Maintain meticulous records, stay informed, and don't hesitate to seek help when needed. With these precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of standing instructions without falling victim to their potential pitfalls.

Introducing Developer Social Responsibility (DSR), A New Avenue for Impactful Blogging

· 3 min read
D Balaji
Lead Design Technologist

In the ever-evolving landscape of technical blogs, where discussions often revolve around technology trends, career advice, and personal life hacks, there emerges a new wave of content – one rooted in societal impact. Enter DSR, or Developer Social Responsibility, a concept akin to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) undertaken by companies.

Traditionally, major corporations like Tata Consultancy Services (TCSL) allocate a portion of their resources towards community-centric initiatives through CSR. In a similar vein, I, as a developer, am embarking on a novel journey – utilizing my platform to craft posts that serve the local community or residents of my locality. The underlying ethos of DSR is to provide valuable information that may not be readily available in the public domain, thereby bridging knowledge gaps and fostering a sense of community support.

Understanding the Principles of DSR Posts:

  1. Conciseness is Key: DSR posts will embody brevity without compromising on substance. By distilling information into concise and digestible content, the aim is to deliver maximum value in a minimal timeframe. This ensures that readers can easily assimilate the information and apply it to their lives.

  2. Positive Tone: DSR posts will steer clear of a complaining or negative tone. The objective is to inspire and uplift, offering solutions and insights that empower readers rather than dwelling on issues. This positive approach not only resonates better with the audience but also aligns with the constructive spirit of social responsibility.

  3. Limited Social Media Promotion: Unlike conventional blog posts that often rely heavily on social media channels for promotion, DSR posts will take a different route. By abstaining from aggressive promotion on platforms, the focus remains on organic reach and genuine engagement. This approach ensures that the content reaches those genuinely interested in community-centric information.

In adopting the DSR framework, the intention is clear: to create content that transcends the digital realm and makes a tangible impact on the lives of individuals within the community. This initiative seeks to foster a sense of responsibility among developers, urging them to leverage their skills and knowledge for the betterment of society.

As the DSR journey unfolds, the commitment to concise, positive, and community-centric content remains steadfast. By embracing this unique approach, developers can play an active role in shaping a more informed, empowered, and connected society, one blog post at a time.