CALIBRATING OUR PERSONAL CHALLENGES:

I had a unique vision of my life and career since my teenage days – to immerse myself into technologies that delivered experiences in vogue during the millennium period; like creating impressive webpages, client-focused business application development, etc. While my classmates were busy making friends and having a good time, I was busy learning programming languages meant for ‘grown-ups’ that had the potential for changing the way people interact with the web. Right from my early college days, I started working on freelance projects, and developed end-to-end applications for my clients. I discovered myself through the way I viewed project challenges - seldom settling for generic solution approaches because there’s always a better solution. And that ‘better solution’ would come from a creative understanding of how technology works.

After acquiring a degree in Engineering, I worked as a Software Engineer for some time. But my passion for coding brought my teenage visions center stage. While my fellow teammates were struggling with JavaScript, I took a step ahead, not only by mastering JavaScript, but also by picking up Advanced JavaScript through online tutorials. I realized its future potential in those days when JavaScript was taken rather lightly by developers. The next big disruption in the future of technology lay in what I was looking for, and that required keeping myself updated with new coding languages. That was my personal challenge: to see what others failed to see in technology.

Here’s an easy way to get your personal challenge calibrated with your career in tech: prepare a mission statement that addresses your challenge. Keep this statement simple, because you can then seamlessly apply it to every code project you pick up. It can be as simple as following the best practices while writing code, but always stick to it in every project scenario. Eventually, you’ll reap the rewards, since following best practices while writing code noticeably reduces the time developers take to navigate, patch bugs, and append new features to the project in development.

 

HOW TO ENGINEER DISRUPTION: ASSUME NOTHING, QUESTION EVERYTHING:

When I joined Sapient, I was aligned to a big-ticket Hospitality client project and the objective was to upscale it. But after reviewing the code, I identified a bigger opportunity. The project had to be developed on the latest coding platforms for it to sustain and grow, and that would require building a new platform from scratch.

Was I ready to take up this challenge, convince stakeholders about adhering to project timelines, get the team ramp up on the latest coding platform I wanted to use in deploying the project? Yes, because of the precise understanding of the client and business vision, complemented with a well-charted roadmap for converting this vision into reality. But the charm of getting this going lay in the sheer pro-activeness exhibited by everyone associated. Rarely do we find companies that walk the talk when it comes to openness and creativity. But at SapientNitro, the support and encouragement to be candidly open and fearlessly creative permeates at every level and touch-point. It was this culture that enabled me to draft my job profile, my way.

In fact, this significantly changed the definition of ‘key deliverables’ because I delivered actionable innovation based on my grass-roots level understanding of technology and sheer initiative of placing agile models of sustainable creativity. The Experience Technology team revised the code on a custom stack based on a new development platform to ensure project deployment stays smooth for the client’s project. After many discussions with stakeholders, we finally convinced them to explore the new platform. When the revision confirmed my assurance on smooth deployment, the team realized they had to come out of the time freeze and equip quickly with the current tech. Sailesh Raghavan, my Manager, was all praises for the turnaround as a “shift of mindset” in the way Sapient views technology. His words expressed the immense trust he reposes in me: “I’m quite relaxed. Since Rakesh is around, the project is bound to be smooth and there is nothing to worry about.”

So the best way to be the disruption you want to bring in the technology around you is to ask whether you plunged deep enough to understand what problem you are addressing. Many technologists fall in the trap of taking the problem statement at its face value. Few actually scratch the surface to capture a multidimensional understanding of the problem statement, and still fewer unpack the problem to the basics.

 

WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL CHALLENGE?

At Sapient, I inspire my Experience Technology team to challenge the status quo by exchanging futuristic tech dialogues. We do a lot of cool things to keep our motivation levels high, like trying out creative coding approaches, delving deeper into problem statements, and holding regular sessions on the latest in the technology space. The value-add I bring to work is a multi-tasking personality that doesn’t compromise on quality time with the team. While my assignments (Project Delivery, Proof of Concepts, Thought Leadership, Trainee Sessions) keep me busy, I’m available for candid coffee conversations with the team. And at the same time, I analyze and kindle their latent capabilities.

So how about concluding this blog with a rather simple question– how are you investing your efforts to break conventions and create different experiences?

Rakesh

SapientRazorfish

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About Sapient

Sapient, part of the Publicis Groupe, is a global services company that helps clients transform in the areas of business, marketing, and technology. The company operates three divisions that enable clients to gain a competitive advantage and succeed in an increasingly digital world. SapientRazorfish, Sapient Global Markets, and Sapient Government Services fuse insight, creativity, and technology to drive innovation and to help clients navigate complex business problems. Our approach is the subject of case studies used by MBA programs at Harvard and Yale. The company has operations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit http://www.publicis.sapient.com.