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Srinivasan Desikan

Srinivasan Desikan

Worldwide Offering & Capability mgmt for Testing & QA
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The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here
Going up the ladder is stepwise process and I strongly believe in it. I worked as engineer at Wipro and went on to become lead/manager at Novell. I also had an opportunity to play the architect role in the mean time. The next step came when I joined Talisma as Director and I had played this role in two more companies Siebel and Agile software there after. One has to equally focus on technical matters on management role and vice versa else going up the ladder becomes difficult. Last 5 years I have been focussing on new technologies by learning mobile and cloud. There is no excuse not to learn technology when you become experienced. All said and done, scaling up the ladder in my opinion is not going up in hierarchy alone but the capability to understand software Testing end-to-end and help the business of the organization. In that process the knowledge gets scaled up and when we share that knowledge with others it gets multiplied further. A career in testing can't be visualized as ladder to go up always. For a fruitful career,

1.One has to get into the depth of technologies,
2. See the breadth by understanding product domains, processes and business models
3. Reach the height by contributing more and more to companies and to the society.
Decisions That Mattered
I would consider these decisions as important decisions in my career

1. My first decision to take up testing as a role when it was rejected by everyone else,  in my first job was the most important and the right decision I took
2. My second decision to reject the lucrative offers so as to continue on my testing role
3. My third decision to return to India while all others were making big money out there
4. My fourth decision to share the knowledge to academia on software testing
5. My fifth decision to write a book on testing to share the knowledge with professionals and students
6. My sixth decision to take up an individual contributor role when my mgmt job became little too much operational and was preventing me from learning the testing further
7. My last decision to believe in myself and all the previous decisions I took, and facing the economic and other challenges that came next to each other in series
Two Years Down the Line
After two years one would see me continuing on Testing for sure. However I would like my contributions to reach next level for the organization, larger audience in academia for knowledge sharing and bring more happiness to myself and my family.
Lessons Learnt
The following are the lessons I learnt in a hard way:

1. I am always dispensable irrespective of my seniority and position. The organizations I left continued to function without me and in some cases even better as change is always good for individuals and organizations.

2. Never assume you are safe but at the same time don't be afraid to take risks in your job. The actions without risks give less returns and if you want to prove yourself and reach the heights, you should take risks rather than being too comfortable with your job.

3. In this industry, there is no time to stop learning. Most of the time we learn from juniors and never look down at your sub-ordinates as the next generation in IT is smarter than the previous.
Work and Role: Then and Now
Many ways. My current job involves 360 degree of what I can do with testing. I help sales/marketing in new offerings in testing services, work with CTO's in making new technologies worth for our customers, help delivery teams in transfer of knowledge on new offerings and work with customers when the project reaches Red status. It has all the things I look for in my job and gives a great mix of all aspects an IT professionals wants to learn.
My Advice If You are Starting Out
My advises to someone who would like to have a career in testing is:

1. Learn the basic principles and practices and learn what to test, how to test and why we are testing. A career without strong foundation cal collapse anytime.
2.  In every step of your career check whether you are enjoying the job and keep learning. A job done without enjoyment is as good as not having it. A passion for your job will take you to next level much faster.
3. Always make your role dispensable and ready to walk out of your comfort zone. Take risks as appropriate to ensure your organization gains and you continue to learn.
4. Never play or get involved in organizational politics as they can give only short term gains. Having faith in yourself and your organization and trying to develop s longterm relationship will go a long way in building your career.
Must Focus Areas for the Future
Gone are those days specialization in technology was first adopted by developers and followed by test engineers. Test driven development, Agile, Scrum, pair development, pair testing, crossing boundaries in roles to ensure quality/release are few opportunities where test engineers are expected to play a major role. The thinning down of the boundary between development and testing, expects the test engineers to be equally competent in development and domain skills. The complexity in products expect test engineers to be more knowledgeable and the economic situation and market expectations make them to be more faster, better and cheaper. Hence a specialization for a test engineer should always look at all three dimensions of PPT (process, people and technologies).
Books/ Websites I Recommend
I would strongly recommend my book Software Testing - Principles and Practices for the students and practitioners.
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