Right from the beginning, I have been extremely fond of mathematics. Consequently, I planned to get into Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry (MPC) in intermediate (11th and 12th grades). However, I was discouraged to get into MPC because of my visual impairment and there was no provision for the college to support me with the lab work. Of course, I was disappointed and I decided to go to Commerce, Economics and Civics (CEC) since I believed that Economics would certainly have math in it.
I completed my bachelor's degree in Economics. Then, I looked for the management career in XLRI, IRMA and IIM. All three institutes claimed that they did not have a provision for a visually impaired dude! Then, I decided to go for master's degree in Economics from the University of Hyderabad. Later, I spent one year in ISI. Then, I secured my Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Davis.
I joined the University of Colorado at Denver as a faculty member and continued in that position for the next seven years. During my stint in the University of Colorado, I realized that everyone was making more money in the field of Information Technology than I was with my university job! I switched careers and went into computer sciences. For the last eleven years, I have been with this industry.
In conclusion, I did not really choose the path that I have been walking. In other words, I am not one of those heroes that you find in the writings of Ayn Rand! At the same time, I wholeheartedly tell you that I have no regrets at all.
Current Job Profile:
For the last one year, I have been with Java Technology Center (JTC). I have been working on Apache Open Source project called Harmony (the alternative class library). Once again, I am planning to head back to Research because of one more interesting opportunity with MIOP.
Q. What has your career journey been like? How did you get started?
A. To some extent, I answered this question in the introduction. In IT, I commenced my career with a bunch of E-Commerce projects. I used application servers like BroadVision and ATG Dynamo. Then, I joined SAP Labs. For the next five years, I worked on various aspects of NetWeaver. Roughly three years ago, I got into IBM Research.
Q. You were once an Economist, how challenging is the role of an IBM Researcher for you?
A. I did not face any problem in terms of research methodology but I did have challenges to develop a research agenda in the area of computers. While I was with research division, I focused on Service sciences, Software Engineering, Mobile Computing and Social Networks.
Q. How do you keep yourself updated on technologies? Are there any favorite websites, books, journals or blogs you follow?
A. I read lots of books. Currently, I am reading Domain-Driven Design. I strongly recommend it. I also follow the blogs. My favorite ones are DeveloperWorks, TechCrunch and Harvard Business Review.
Q. Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on?
A. It changes from time to time. Currently, my hero is Kent Beck.
Q. How do you find DeveloperWorks/My developerWorks useful?
A. For over six years, I have been working only in Java. In my view, there is no better source than DeveloperWorks. However, I am still a figuring out My DeveloperWorks.
Q. What is your advice to the future aspirants ?
A. Keep nurturing the love for technology. Money alone cannot make us happy.
Q. What motivates you?
A. The previous answer makes sense here too. I use Java to solve my day-to-day problems. For example, I downloaded a book called "Tips from the Trenches" today. The copyright stuff was there on every page. I was getting irritated. I wrote a simple Java program with a hint of regular expressions to clean it up. Coding is fun. I do not know how long it lasts but I have been enjoying coding for the last 25 years.