My 2 paisas

2010 – the year I was associated with 3 companies

Posted on: January 2, 2011

Year 2010 has been really a mixed bag or I should say started very bad but kind of ended in great shape. But overall I grew a lot physiologically and technically though not financially. 🙂

I started the year by making the decision to quit the company where I started my professional career. Though I had learnt a lot during my 8 months in the company, I was not getting paid regularly and I was forced to ask money from my house for my living. Also I wasnt able to see any near future changes in the company which will change the situation. However that was probably the most risky decision I had taken last year. I stopped going to office from Jan 4th without having any other job in my hand. This was followed by 2 months of non-employment where I gave number of interviews out of which finally I was selected for a quality engineer position in a telecom VAS provider. Again this was involved with lots of mystery. On Feb 1st, I had been to my brother’s house in mangalore to attend the car festival. As I was jobless, I had the liberty to take a week off and enjoy the famous ratha yatra in mangalore. I had missed it for four years when I was studying in Durgapur. On the day when I reached mangalore, I found a mail from TCS in which I had got placed during college campus placement asking me to join them in Kolkata. However moving again to Kolkata meant that my mom who was planning to move with me will have to move to Kolkata and adjust there. For next three days, with lots of discussions with her, I decided that I will first move to Kolkata and get settled and later take her there. However on Feb 4th while I was visiting venkatramna temple in mulky, I got a call from HR of the telecom company confirming my selection for the role of  a quality engineer.  Since this position was in Bangalore, I readily agreed to join it instead of moving to Kolkata even though the position in TCS was that of a software developer. This again turned out to be a big mistake. Even though I was promised that my job would be completely in Linux, as I found out after joining, the component which I was going to test was only for Windows and it had not yet been ported to linux platform. Moreover it was completely blackbox and manual testing. Though the component was one of the important component for the overall product, no effort had been put to automate its testing which meant that every month when the new release came, I had to repeat the same set of tests manually. Also I found out that component had very little documentation which meant that my testcases never covered all the features. This way I learnt the hard way the importance of both documentation of a product and automation of its testing. Out of the eight months that I spent, the first five months I repeated the same testcases without learning much technically. By then I had realized that I was not growing technically and I had to move out. I got more frustrated when I saw that every small feature was being pushed as a new release which meant repeating the cycle once again. In less than 8 months, I released around 6-8 releases and I was never confident of my releases as I always had a feeling that even though I had tested new features adequately, I had not tested a old feature properly. I remember having nightmares about my releases getting crashed in crucial sites with heavy load. Moreover, I could clearly see that the company had clear differentiation between quality engineers and developers and the differences in compensation was huge. This meant that even though I was struggling hard for the releases, I wasnt compensated for that effort equally where as a developer who would develop the feature in less that half the time I required for my testing was getting twice the time to do it and was getting heavily compensated also. This was again mainly because the testing team in which I was hadnt been concentrating much on automation which meant we were not progressing anywhere and hence management didnt want to spend much over the team. However, I had few advantages also after joining the company. First of all and the most important, it meant regular pay which meant I could take care of my mom with my own salary. Secondly, since my office was very close to my house, I could come to my house for lunch. Thirdly, I was given a wonderful Lenovo Thinkpad to work on. Since the company was small(around 1200 employees), the rules were flexible and I was able to install and use Ubuntu on the laptop. This gave me access to work and learn on many more stuff apart from my work on it. I had taken internet connection in my house and spent daily 2-3 hours trying different things on linux. Hence even though I was not learning anything during my work, I was learning after coming to my house. However this meant that I was not able to dedicate proper time on things I was learning. Sometimes I would be so tired with my office work that I wouldnt be able to give time to learn anything in house. Also as my responsibilities increased in my team, I started extending my work timings which meant I came to my house only to have dinner and sleep living very little time for my personal life. So I decided to look for a job which would give me a chance to learn during my job. This time I had much more time to be selective for my job profile. Hence again I started attending interviews. However I could clearly see that due to present job profile, I was no longer able to look for developer roles. Also I was proficient in Perl and perl is mainly used in industry either by sys-admin or by testers to automate. Hence I started spending more time on revising programming concepts in C. However my lack of experience in development meant I had to either look for a job as a fresher giving up the benefits of experience. But that would mean that I wouldnt be able to expect much increment to the current compensation. I was ready to give that up as I knew that the more I spent on the job, the more I would loose any hope of coming out of it and getting into something more related to linux and perl scripting. Finally I was in luck when a consultancy company called me looking for a person with experience in perl for a job profile of developing automation framework in a leading silicon chip manufacturing company. Luckily I was able to clear all the interviews and I got selected for the position. But again there were some slight hiccups. The new company wanted me to come on board with in Nov 8th and this they informed me on Oct 19th. This meant I had to be relived with in 15days of my resignation. my then manager made it very clear that it would be impossible and I had to spent a anxious week before I was able to talk to the complete management of the company and finalize my reliving date for 19th of Nov. My new company agreed to extend my joining to 22nd Nov. And I joined my third company in the year on 2010 with a resolution to at least complete more than 8 months and break the jinx of not being associated with a company for more than 8 months.

Overall to summarize, I think I learnt a lot professionally this year. I understood how to adjust with a already set team and how to contribute to it. I also learnt how to value others knowledge and gain from it. I understood the importance of documentation even for personal good. I understood how big softwares are developed and tested and what are the most crucial points in software development. After joining my third company, I was given a one week training on Java and OOPS concept which helped me understand OOPS concept much better. I have also understood the roles of different people in an organization.

Now I hope that I will be able to grow much more in the year 2011 professionally as I am definite that I will break the 8 months jinx.


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