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EPAM India’s Dojo Culture

In Japan, a DOJO is a place to train, compete and achieve ranks in martial arts. In our case, the DOJO is where programmers become stronger by exchanging knowledge and just having a good time. Coding DOJO can take different forms. One example is how developers get together to do kata – simple tasks for improving their engineering mastery. Another form is Codenjoy, or coding for fun, where participants create bots and compete in simple games. Coding DOJO at EPAM is something much bigger than just fun meetups. At EPAM India Coding DOJO needed only six months to become a large-scale practice. We did a total of 16 events with about 800 participants in 2019!

India now has about 25 senseis who are actively growing the community and acting as mentors and coaches for game participants. One such sensei is engineer Varma Datla says,  “Coding DOJO is three hours of fun, where you get away from your daily grind, meet people from other projects or even accounts, look at technical problems ‘right here, right now’ and straightaway get to solving them. It’s a competition where you see your and others’ results right at the end of the game, and you’re always curious about your colleagues’ algorithms and strategies.

“From the engineer’s perspective, Coding DOJO is fun — and that makes it good from the business perspective. When we were just starting to conduct these meetups, we had only a few participants. But word of mouth got out, and we’ve grown quickly. We bring in new games and mix up players who know different technologies to keep their interest.”

Community manager Sameena Ali says, “Under the Engineering Excellence program in India, we work with various platforms, especially Coding DOJO. Indians love to communicate, experiment with new things and improve their skills. It’s just a part of our culture. We are trying to build a Culture of Togetherness to promote a spirit of teamwork amongst our employees. We got started in March of this year and conduct at least two meetings a month. The entire EPAM India team is grouped into 6 'houses', who participated in a string of friendly competitions to win the Best House of the year. Amongst these competitions, ENGX Coding Dojo was one of the major tournaments. Over 12 weeks, 600 employees from 6 houses participated and cheered their teams in this tournament. The tournament was won by Aishwarya Bommisetty, Praveen Mustepally, and Rajeev Marrapu.” 

In its classical Japanese sense, a dojo is a place for developing martial arts skills — for everyone, from toddlers to the highest-ranking masters. Coding DOJO does the same thing, only with engineering mastery. It’s a virtual environment where engineers perfect their programming skills. As with martial arts dojos, Coding DOJO welcomes developers of all levels, from newcomers to seasoned professionals.

This is important for EPAM, because we create complex solutions that are constantly changing — and the platforms, languages, methodologies and industries change along with them. It is critical that we, in turn, constantly improve our skills.