Sunday, March 29, 2015

Traits of a S/w engineer

“You have to be good at logic and math”. This was a common phrase I used to hear during my college days in order to get hired in any of the S/w companies and to be a successful S/w engineer. I don’t deny the fact about good logical thinking being an essential skill, but there is more to it than only logic

One fine day [Jul 2002], when I came to work at Tantra, I was told that I might be deputed to a different organization to work on a project. During that week, Mahesh [owner of Tantra] and myself went to Knoxware’s office at Indiranagar. It was a fairly big office but I could see only handful of people working there. I was told by Mahesh that there would be an interview and only if I clear the interview there would be deputation. I was seated in the lobby area while Mahesh was having a conversation with Santosh Kejriwal [owner of Knox]. Later I was called to meet with Santosh for a brief chat and this was to be followed by a technical discussion with Satish Bhat

I did have the privilege to work with brilliant people while at Knoxware. The experiences and knowledge I had gained by working with them had been truly invaluable. Among the many important things that I learnt there, few that stands out would be commitment, temperament, communication, articulation, honesty, integrity. These are not in any order of importance, but 2 more traits would have to be added, programming and logical thinking. Probably these would occupy middle to last positions. From being a person who used to hear about math and logic as primary qualities for a S/w engineer, I discovered that these are “also” traits that an engineer has to possess

Satish Bhat had been an integral part of Knox and a very good friend of Santosh. He was the brain behind the technical architecture of the project I was supposed to work on. The first impression about Satish was that of a person who could articulate things extremely well and who made complicated stuff look easy. He was a master at various technologies and had great learning abilities. Working with him was like getting a master’s degree every day and on new things. Even though I had worked with him only for 3 months, the learning I’ve had was immense and they are staying with me even today and probably for ever after. It has been more than 13 years since I have met/worked with Satish. I hope our paths cross in the future as well

The technical interview at Knox was a brief one and focused on OOPs and C++. It was my first meeting with Satish and my first technical interview as well. It was a fairly nervous moment and Satish recognized that instantly. He made me feel comfortable and then started to probe me on C++. I was not very good at that technology and Satish got a feel of that instantly. I felt happy and embarrassed at the same time. Happy as I did not have to answer any more questions on C++ and embarrassed as I was not sure about the outcome of the interview. The discussion then focused on work I had done at Tantra and I was able to answer them pretty well

After about 20 mins of discussion, we went to meet Santosh. Mahesh had been seated with Santosh as well. To my astonishment, Satish accepted my candidature. He mentioned that though I’m weak at C++, he liked the way I looked at things and put them to work. I could barely understand what he had meant by that. But then, job was accomplished

When I look back at this moment today, I’m able to put the things into perspective and recognize why I was selected in the interview. The interview focused on many things apart from technology and that is where I believe the selection was made

It was very hard work during my tenure at Knox. Even though we were only 3 engineers and 1 architect working on the project, Satish provided mentorship to all of us and stood behind like a rock during times of crisis. It is another matter that due to the strict timelines, every day was a crisis

I used to see a gentleman who occasionally [couple of times a week and usually for about an hr’s time] used to visit Knox’s office and meet with Santosh and Satish. Later I realized that the gentleman was Harsha Kollaramajalu and happened to be the Chief Technology Officer [CTO] of Knox. My other friends at Knox told me that Harsha is the mentor/guide for Satish and is a technologist par excellence. Well, I could not imagine how would it like to be working with Harsha. Little did I realize that in the very near future, I would be working with him directly


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