QA City

RV Ramanan

RV Ramanan
The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here

I scaled up my career ladder as an IT programmer focusing on Networking and communications. My initial foray was into IBM mainframe SNA networking and assembler 370 programming along with C and C++. I had developed skills in interconnectivity among heterogeneous operating systems and developed myself as a solution architect. I spent few years in USA working for IBM labs, testing is one of their very large Automation product as well as other Banking organizations and further developed my technical and architectural skills.

I spent many years leading QA projects for customers, primarily focus on Automation. I also managed the entire IT operations for a large Floral networking company based out of the USA. I relocated to India and took over as a Chief Architect of Citibank in India, where I had the opportunity to design and manage large scale IT projects. Moving on to Hexaware, I held the position of Chief Software architect and managed execution of several large engagements for its customers. I am currently heading the Global Delivery at Hexaware and also a member of the Board of Directors of the company.

Decisions That Mattered

My first decision was to join the IT industry after my Masters in Technology in optical communications from IIT Delhi. I decided to focus on Networking and communication and inter-operability of multiple systems which gave the broad based skills which is necessary to be an architect. I also made another important decision to run large engagements which I had designed and architected myself and finally joining the mid-tier specialized organization - Hexaware was one of my important career decisions, which allowed me to progress in my career.

The Turning Points

Combining Technical expertise with management skills helped me to take up the position in Hexaware as the Global Delivery head.

Work and Role: Then and Now

The current job involves a lot more people management as compared to my previous job as an architect where the role was more technical in nature. In the previous role I had built the QA practice for Hexaware which is currently around 20% of our overall business. Currently, I am getting involved in the company's policy decisions including people related policies, Infrastructure setup as well as administrative and Business leadership for all the Horizontal technology services including revenue management.

Two Years Down the Line

Heading a strong and successful IT services/product organization

What I Learnt Along the Way

Never give up on any opportunity. Be a student all your life and continue learning.

Changing Days: Lessons Learnt

It is much more glamorous today than the days when we started in this. In my college days IT was not a lucrative profession as it is today. In fact many of my friends and teachers were surprised that I would move away from a Core Science and Engineering profession to take up IT, which was relatively lower in terms of compensation as well as appeal in those days. However I pursued my passion and my instincts proved right as IT is one of the most preferred professions in India today.

Trends to Watch Out For

IT industry has been unique in the sense of continuous change and the frequency of changes it has brought about over the years. The current emerging trends seem to be Cloud, Mobility, Social Media analytics and technologies such as BIG data. These would bring about a paradigm shift in the way systems are designed and services provided to the end customer. Software as a Service (SaaS) and Business process as a Service (BPAS), would redefine the traditional IT service landscape. The entry barrier for new products will significantly reduce and I see more service providers adding new products into their service mix. I do see this as a great opportunity as the entire IT service industry relies on continuous change in technology to sustain and grow their business. These changes will provide more opportunities for mid size players like us and I do foresee a tremendous growth in this space.

My Advice If You are Starting Out

Specialize in your chosen area. Improve fundamental understanding of the way systems behave and keep abreast of constant changes and evolution of new Technology.

Must Focus Areas For the Future

Automation has been the big area of interest in the QA domain. I strongly feel Business process automation and ability to create QA systems which can adapt to changes in the software being built along with completeness and comprehensiveness of the QA process will be the most sought after ideas for future. Automating mobile application testing is a relatively new area, where we have built our own frame work and I do believe this is a technology which will be adopted more in the future.

Do We Need Certifications?

Certifications give credibility to our skills when presented to customers. Especially, while working on the IT services side this will give the necessary confidence to the customer that we will be able to execute their projects. Also certifications create a structured thinking in those appearing for it.

Following are the few certifications which I would recommend for QA professionals.

1. ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board)
2. CSTE (Certified Software Test Engineer) and CSTM (Certified Software Test Manager)
3. HP Tool certifications on QC, QTP and Performance center/ LoadRunner
4. IBM Tool certifications on Rational Functional Tester (RFT), Rational Performance Tester (RPT)

Books/ Websites I Recommend

Here are a few good books on software testing:

1. Effective Methods for Software testing by William E. Perry
2. Software Testing - A craftsman's approach by Paul C Jorgensen
3. Lessons Learned in Software Testing by Cem Kaner, James Bach and Bret Pettichord - good book with live examples

Some good websites on software testing:


Last But Not Least

QA is a very important and essential part of Software development life Cycle. Hence it is important for QA professionals to specialize in their domain of interest in addition to attaining knowledge on the tools, techniques and processes associated with QA. The functional depth of understanding the product in which QA is being done makes a big difference between an expert and a novice. Clearly specializing in specific domains and continuous learning in terms of technology trends is essential to build a career in this space.

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