Development – the engine of PayFast

A PayFast developer working

At the heart of PayFast is its people; the people who work behind the scenes to make sure that our online payment processing solution meets all of our merchants and their customers expectations. Following on from our Customer Services blog, in this second instalment of our ‘behind the scenes’ series we are showcasing the important work that our Development team are doing on a daily basis to ensure that your online payments are processed securely on the PayFast payments engine. 

PayFast devs are a special breed of individuals. Their expertise and dedication to ensuring that the PayFast payments engine runs without a hitch is only matched by their love of coffee and their unique sense of humour. Whether they’ve been at the company for a decade or only a few months, every dev plays an integral role in making PayFast a successful leader in the South African payments processing space. 

The PayFast Development Department is split into separate teams who work on concurrent projects. Each dev team consists of junior, mid and senior devs, as well as a Team Lead. Team Leads play a vital role in their team as they are required to have an excellent understanding of PayFast from the inside out, know our tech stack and, just as importantly, to be trusted and respected by the rest of their team.

Our QA Team also falls under the Development Department. They play a crucial role in reviewing the functionally of all system updates before they are released to ensure no bugs are deployed. 

Reliable technology and processes 

PayFast is growing rapidly, especially due to the increasing popularity of contactless payments and online shopping in response to the social-distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Currently there are over 70,000 merchants (and counting!) who are using PayFast as their secure payment gateway. Therefore, the main on-going priority for our devs is scaling the PayFast system and developing and maintaining important PayFast features such as Split Payments and Merchant Refund

To facilitate an optimal working environment, when joining PayFast each developer is provided with a laptop and additional monitor. All devs have Ubuntu installed and can use any IDE of their choice. Our tech stack is PHP and Laravel and, as per best-practice, the dev teams follow Scrum in two-week sprints.

Flexibility and individuality promotes productivity

At PayFast we are against conformity and encourage individuality. PayFast has no formal dress code, so to every dev’s delight they are welcome to don their signature hoody or even rock up to the office barefoot in shorts – a big plus of living and working in Cape Town! 

Another big attraction for devs joining PayFast is the flexible working hours. Devs can choose when to start and end their eight-hour working day, just as long as it’s around the core hours of 9:00-15:30. PayFast also understands the importance of a good work-life balance, so if an employee needs to leave early for a family or medical emergency then they can, just as long as they work in the missed hours.

Pre-COVID-19, after six months of employment devs were allowed to work remotely three days a week, as long as there were no meetings on those days. Of course in our current reality, everyone who is able to is encouraged to work from home to ensure social-distancing. PayFast recognises the benefits of remote work, and is confident that even once things return to normal employees will still be encouraged to work from home at least a few days a week.   

Upskilling and self-improvement is a priority

PayFast is only as strong as the people who work at the company. To inspire personal and career growth, PayFast devs are encouraged to upskill themselves with company sponsored online courses and to attend relevant meetups and events to share knowledge with like-minded techies. Popular events among our devs are DevConf and Women in Tech.

All of our devs can agree that other than the chill working vibe and office culture, ‘Own Days’ are one of the biggest benefits of working at PayFast. Every second Friday (i.e. one Friday per Sprint), each dev has an ‘Own Day’, during which time they can work on whatever they like, as long as it upskills them in their role as a PayFast dev. Every Monday starts with a casual dev meeting where everyone is given an opportunity to present what they learnt or did during their ‘Own Day’. Some examples of ‘Own Days’ that our devs have embarked on include PayFast tshirt designs, designing a PayFast app and learning a new code library. 

Developing your dev career with PayFast 

Being a PayFast dev can be a challenging and rewarding experience because of the complicated and evolving nature of the payments industry. If you are interested in growing your dev career with South Africa’s most recognised online payment solution, and being compensated with a competitive salary, then send your CV to jobs@payfast.co.ca to find out more about starting your PayFast journey.

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