Our story starts in the countryside of Sóc Trăng, a province of Vietnam known for its pagodas, and the hometown of Sieng Ly. At the age of eleven, Sieng left Vietnam for Los Angeles, California with his family, ready to embrace a new life in the United States and to take advantage of new opportunities. Sieng’s love for technology developed at a young age. His interest evolved from playing games to the technology that created them. Inspired by his passion, Sieng went to the University of California San Diego, where he studied Human-Computer Interaction with a minor in Computer Science. Immediately following his graduation, Sieng kick-started his FinTech career at MK Decision as a User Interface Engineer.
Where do you live? How do you like it?
I lived in San Diego for three years and recently moved to Texas. I felt this was the perfect opportunity to be with family and purchase a new home with my girlfriend. The weather here is similar to Vietnam; it is very comforting.
What do you like to do on the weekends?
Since I moved, my weekends have consisted of house hunting and purchasing furniture. In my free time, I like to hike, go to the beach, play basketball, and hang out with friends and family.
Growing up, who had the most influence on you?
Definitely, my parents; they are my biggest motivation. They have a tremendous work ethic. My parents worked so hard to give me better opportunities and gave up everything to move to the United States. I was always taught to never give up and to be the best version of myself.
What is your role at MK Decision?
Initially, I was hired as a User Interface Engineer, where I worked on the frontend interfaces of MK’s products. As I grew to be more experienced, I transitioned to working on the backend as well. Full-stack development is awesome because you can see how the front and back work together and how they integrate with third-party providers.
What are some of your responsibilities as a User Interface Engineer?
When we onboard new clients, they provide us with documents, and my role is to digitize them in a format that can be included in their environment. I also fix bugs in the code and implement new product features for MK.
How would you describe your job to a child?
I take design and translate it into code for computers to understand and display whatever you can imagine.
When did you realize this was what you wanted to do?
In Vietnam, I lived next to a computer gaming store and would go after school to play video games. I was always interested in how video games were designed, which sparked my interest in computers. When I moved to the United States, I started learning about coding at my community college and fell in love with it.
Since starting your position with MK, what changes have you seen within the company?
In my time at MK, I have seen improved documentation and better project planning for customers and core product development. In addition, our tasks are well documented with requirements, and we are taking more time to map how we will store the data and incorporate it from Moqui.
Has your role changed at all since you started?
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My pets! My cat would scratch on the door until I fed him, and my dog would bark until I took her outside. I have a third dog, a husky, but he is pretty mellow.
How did you know MK was the right fit for you?
MK’s mission drew me in; I wanted to be a part of their team and help community financial institutions thrive. I have always done community work, and this goes along with my personal values of community service. Plus, there is an opportunity for more responsibilities and growth within the company.
What are some challenges you face in your current position? How do you overcome them?
Understanding the user experience from the point of view of bankers or the users is always a challenge. As an engineer, I take into consideration how they’re going to use the product that I am building. It needs to be intuitive, and I must pay close attention to small details, like colors and font size.
What is your proudest moment at MK Decision?
Recently, I worked on our Indirect Loan Origination System (ILOS) financial summary document. It is one of the most important documents in the lenders’ loan application process and includes information on an applicant’s assets, income, and income expenses. Knowing that our customers are going to be using the feature I created is a great feeling.
What’s the most important thing you learned at MK?
Every day you will be faced with a new challenge. Give it a shot and try it out to get the ball rolling. If I ever feel blocked, I always ask for help from my team. If I receive a task I am unsure of, all I need to do is think it through, create an action plan, and tackle it. MK has taught me there is a way through every block.