Eight Years as a Software Engineer

By February 18th 2018, finished eight years in the industry (including Internship), Being a Hotel management and a chemistry graduate, later doing masters in computer applications, and turning into software engineer, feeling like came a long way. I still vividly remember the moment when i first received Internship confirmation mail from Symphony services. I was on top of the world. It was a moment to start a journey to utilize all my skills acquired in college.

Internship Confirmation mail from HR

Internship:

At Symphony services, got a chance to work on an intranet application using .NET technologies, and by the time i joined, there was already good bunch of project trainees working, so it became more easy to work along and hang out. I acquired most of my .NET skills (ASP.NET web farms and C#) on the job. It was a wonderful experience completely learning by doing (make mistakes, learn, and rectify), which enormously helped later in my career.

Thanks to my cousin Srikanth, and my manager Hareesh, without their help i would have not got the internship opportunity.

Symphony Retreat

Oakdene/Babel Systems:

Even though, i passed my masters degree in distinction, unfortunately i was not allowed to sit in campus placements, as, i didn’t have good grades in my graduation. (In India, if you are having good grades throughout 10th, +2, degree, and masters degree, then only you are allowed to sit for most of the campus placements. This is the same case now as well.) Luckily i was able to get multiple job offers from small companies, thanks to my internship experience, i had the knowledge to clear .NET fresher job interviews. Among the multiple offers, i had chosen to join Oakdene India. I was with them for over 3.7 years(after 7 months of joining, my team was made into a separate company called Babel Systems India, which is a development center for Babel Systems UK).

Working on a single product for three and half years, taught me lot of things, understanding the requirements, planning for the implementations, full coding experience, troubleshooting, and refactoring. Here, i was lucky enough to touch most aspects of the software development. There was no training as such, so most of the time, you are expected to learn on the job. This turns out to be a good opportunity to read seniors code, learn and understand from it. This has become most useful habit in the coming years, now also i love to read code, and learn from it. I still feel initial years of experience is very much crucial foundation for the future work.

We were around 20 members team, so for one or other module, i ended up working closely with most of the team mates. Lot of learning, parties, outings, and it was fun.

Thanks to Manish Sharma, for giving me the wonderful opportunity, i would say he is the best technical manager, i have ever worked with. Special thanks to Sree HarshavardhanaVictor Joseph and thanks to all the team mates from whom i learned a lot.

Diwali party at office

NTT DATA:

After working on Babelsys project for three and half years, around February 2014, i had moved to NTT Data. Although i did my internship at big organization, but working as a full time employee is altogether a different experience. That was the one of the main reasons joined NTT Data, and i was mainly recruited to work for Fidelity Investments Offshore Development Center (ODC). Working with financial institution and from inside ODC, would be quite challenging, with all the restricted access. (no camera mobiles, and no papers allowed to work area, etc.) Here i mainly worked on Fidelity intranet applications, even though i was only here for one and half year, got a chance to work on many different projects, as most of them are small applications. First time implemented a solution, and executed completely from scratch, it was quite a good learning experience. .NET web tech stack was already moving to ASP.NET MVC, here got the opportunity to learn, and implement different solutions on MVC. This is the only place I ever got chance to work with complete freshers, It was good experience working with them.

Thanks to Varun NandishTamilarasu, Shobhiyaa and other team mates for all their help.

Odd man out 🙂

Verndale:

After working for one and half years at NTT data, i had good mix of exposure working for both product, and services. It was time for me to explore other avenues, when i plan to switch, this time i had got 6 to 7 opportunities, it was difficult for me to choose, as all are good, somehow my gut said, let’s try something new, Verndale is new kind of company for me, and about Sitecore, i had never even heard that name. But at-last after lot of thinking decided to join Verndale. Now thinking back, it turned out to be one of the best career decision.

Verndale is not the company which suits freshers, it’s always for experienced professionals. And day in and day out you have to be on top of your game, that’s the reason they say digital agency work is not for everyone.

Among all the companies i had worked with, i would say Verndale work is the most challenging and demanding. Previously used to work, with day level estimates, but in Verndale it is always on hourly estimates. Initially I was not so comfortable with it, but slowly I started liking it. Now it has been two and half years, whatever i know about Sitecore, learned everything in Verndale. I had put all my efforts in improving my knowledge and contributing to the projects. I even started writing blog posts, presenting, and organizing user group meetup’s and sharing knowledge in lot of different avenues. For all the contributions i made, Sitecore has awarded me, Technology MVP title for 2018.

MVP 2018
Technology MVP 2018

I was fortunate enough to work with lot of strong technical people from whom learned a lot over the years. Thanks to AbdelShabeerAnkit and Sandy Foleyfor helping me.

Thanks to Bill Cronin, for sharing insights from his experience, he is the one I reach out for any critical challenges.

Thanks to Andrea Love, she is the best project manager with whom I ever worked with.

At last special thanks to Haribabu, my good friend, with whom i talk daily, and i value his suggestions more than anything.

With my buddy Haribabu
My First ever presentation (Webinar)

Never let success get to your head, never let failure get to your heart.

Money: Started career with ₹15k per month, initial 6 years was not earning much, but last 2 years i am making very good amount of money. Initial years it’s all about experience, if you gain that, money will eventually come.

Overall it is a roller coaster ride for past 8 years, but there is a long way to go, and lot to learn. But it is good to look back, and see how far we have come.

My main daily validation would be, is that enthusiasm for work still present or not? If I get up and be dejected about the work ahead, and if it happens continuously, that would be the time to seriously think about some career change. Until then, there is lot to learn, and lot to achieve.

Thanks to my wife Bhargavi, she is the biggest asset, always push me to push my boundaries, and encourage me in everything i do. (Lucky me, she is also an engineer.)

Suggestions to my younger self:

  1. Don’t worry too much about those missed opportunities, there is something big waiting in the future.
  2. Don’t waste lot of time to write that perfect line of code, finish the implementation, and then refactor.
  3. Don’t try to read technical books from cover to cover, put down that and start practicing along.
  4. Start blogging, and give technical talks as early as possible in career.
  5. Start saving money as early as possible.
  6. Don’t bother about on-site opportunities, it comes when it come.
  7. Never feel you are in-experienced for a role. Eventually you will gain the experience, may be on the job.
  8. Don’t forget your biggest asset, which is “learning how to learn”.
  9. Don’t bother too much about, what your peers are thinking about you, and don’t try to please your manager.
  10. Help yourself by helping someone, that will eventually come to you in an unexpected manner.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quote, My Verndale colleagues know where they see this one daily 🙂

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” — Calvin Coolidge

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