The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here
Scaling up the ladder or building the career in knowledge industry is like mathematics - initially you invest time in learning basic mathematics. After mastering the same basic mathematics it becomes base to scale up to advanced mathematics and then advanced mathematics becomes base to build complex theorems. I applied the same philosophy where I learnt basic nuances of technology. Then, I started understanding the application to advanced areas and today, I dwell largely into the space which is highly complex and requires lots of thought process, innovation and implementation.
Decisions That Mattered
This will be surprising but is relevant to share that I choose sports early in my life and that helped me keep a check on my nerves - therefore, point I want to make here is "invest beyond work to groom yourself".
Secondly, I developed common sense & analytical ability throughout the journey of professional career. I picked up such opportunities which were of very high risk however if comes out good and can prove to give very high returns too. Changed domains not when I wanted but when organization needed.
The Turning Points
Firstly, one has to have a balance between sports and studies. Second, challenging status quo from DRDO and Birlasoft days - and have very analytical argument with senior staff without involving emotions and trust me that was not easy, when you are at the early stages of your career. Third, when back to back from 2004 until 2008, back to back 4 of my research papers got acclaimed as "Best Papers" and in one of the conference, Michael Bolton and myself had a long talk on challenging the current status quo. Fourth to file patents when everyone concentrated just in project delivery. Fifth, when I consulted few start up's in their journey of inception and today when I could see myself as an author. However, in this whole journey, adding value to the business across complete software engineering cycle and thus able to set up from Development to QA to Automation to Program Management Units.
Work and Role: Then and Now
There are several things:
In the previous job - I already had a repute of highly technical and strong management personnel. In new job, I was just a new entity in the system, therefore, to build the same is a new experience as I forgot down the line, what it means to gain and enthuse that confidence into the system with real achievements.
I was involved in building collaboration and innovation of technology for a group spread around countries and now I'm involved in pulling the same for complete organization - and trust me to do the same for a fortune 500 organization is immensely challenging but how I see it as is " opportunity to learn and groom myself further".
Two Years Down the Line
Few situations that I see myself to be in:
Coming to a role of strategic decision making for a company - which can make or break situation and Start my own software product company - which will not be just about doing business but also about giving opportunities to untapped potential and nonetheless, having a framework, by which the business gives back to the society.
What I Learnt Along the Way
Work hard, be yourself (this is what I call to be real definition of honesty), respect people, learn both "what" and "how" of the work, just don't stop thinking, and most importantly have some personal time for yourself too. If you can't keep yourself happy, you can't keep business upbeat.
Changing Days: Lessons Learnt
It is very different today as earlier I used to do what said and today, I have to be answerable and accountable for my codes. Earlier, if I was on one technology, it was almost impossible to move on to another technology as business would not have allowed that. But today, I can't afford to live with just one as I'm responsible to choose technology and thus research physically all, before zeroing in on one.
To be honest, earlier, I used to think I'm the best programmer and today, I think I have so much to learn still. This, I would say is one of the major achievement or learning of my professional career.
Trends to Watch Out For
After every decade there's an upsurge or change in technical space and I would say this era to be era of change.
In tech space, this is the ERA of "Cloud, Automation and Integration" and the business model for future would be SAAS (Software as a service), PAAS (Platform as a service) and IAAS (Infrastructure as a service).
My Advice If You are Starting Out
This is an excellent time for any individual to tap opportunities as organizations have realized the importance of automation, Web services testing, API testing, functional testing and performance testing. Therefore, opportunities galore in this space. However, be ready for constant learning especially some basic languages such as Core Java, SQL, XML, XPath, and VB.Net to start off with. Learn and master in any one technology and pick up the opportunity to work.
Must Focus Areas For the Future
I bet heavily on API testing, webs services testing, integration testing and performance and SQL tuning.
W.r.t few important testing tool expertise one should invest into - Junit, QTP, Selenium, QC(OTA), Soap UI, LoadRunner.
Do We Need Certifications?
Certification is a mean by which you timebox your learning. And any learning never goes waste. I would recommend for ISTQB both basic and advanced level. I would also recommend for JCP certification. I would also recommend for Oracle SQL certification (RDBMS). Nonetheless, for tool enthusiast, I would suggest for HP QTP, ALM and LoadRunner certifications both basic and advanced levels.
Books/ Websites I Recommend
Of course, one of the most useful knowledge repositories is your websites. It' simply superb the way the contents are being aligned and industry veterans across globe come and share their experience here. Must visit for everyone. Additionally, for beginners or experts, I would recommend my book "Automation Testing" where one can know about basic nuances of automation and rationale behind the same. In the same book one can know how to utilize QTP in real time scenario.
Last But Not Least
You have almost covered everything and did a fantastic job in parsing me through and through. I just hope all upcoming leaders and fellow testers to take advantage of this piece of content as much as possible.