Reflections 2015

Posted by Vishnu Vardhan Chikoti

Posted on 10-Aug-2018 19:02:56

Though this blog says this is a reflection of the year 2015 in my life, this includes last couple of weeks of 2014. If you are not interested in knowing what happened in someone elses life, you can stop reading this right away and move onto something else.

It all started with me resigning from a US Tier-1 bank on Dec 16 2014 bringing a halt to what I think was an amazing journey giving me opportunities to grow from a Sybase developer in a 4 member team to getting a new application built along with couple of vendor developers to working through Agile transformation and leading a cross-functional team of 6 in India, growing it to10 in a year which was then all set to grow to 15 when I left.

It was a time when I was getting regular appreciations from application owners, product owners and line managers for the work across 3 critical applications one of which was highly visible multi-asset regulatory reporting application.

Everyone was surprised when they heard the news that I am leaving. More so because I moved out from a place where there was a lot of learning each day in terms of leadership, domain and technology - planning with leads from other locations, directors and managing directors about huge backlog of work with conflicting priorities going up to end of 2016 and beyond. And then working through assigned themes with an Agile mindset, re-planning the backlog as and when there was a higher priority work while still pulling off time to handle critical production issues. There were those once in a while moments of frustration though as there was a lot to do and for atleast half of the days, me and one of my colleague had to delay our lunch break, drop our snacks break or had not more than 5 minutes for a tea break. We were interfacing with atleast 20 applications across FO/MO/BO processing a lot of high volume data.

It was later informed to everyone where I was heading to - a fintech consulting startup.

Also, it was so exciting that I got a call from a department head from another US Tier-1 bank as soon as he heard of my move. Something which made me feel really good :)

It was a different move where I was working in my personal time for the startup right from the day I accepted to join them. There were so many areas where I was getting involved and in parallel.

We were looking out for resources to start work with our first client. Identifying and approaching referrals, setting up interviews and then setting up things on our side right from recruiting a HR recruiter, onboarding a new recruitment partner, writing website content, re-learning about a product that I left working 5 years ago and then improving further from where I left.

2 folks from my previous workplace joining me based on the belief on me and allowing us to close recruitment for one of the projects was a good feel too.

This move to a startup also brought life back into my passion for writing, which I pretty much stopped about 4 years ago. As with last time where the first episode of a short story that I wrote for a regional website was a hit followed by winning a prize for another short story from a website for writers, this time too the first blog I wrote got a lot of visibility for us on our knowledge in OTC Derivatives. Senior managers across firms noticed it. It even led to a demo and a prototype.

And then there is must need thing for a new firm looking out for leads, updating people in the close network about my move, continuously keeping them warm hoping for a help from them to get a new client one day, creating a brochure, social media marketing, etc.

With any journey, there will be speed breakers, bumps and ups/downs. We faced something similar. There were couple of highly stressful months followed by myself going through few days of demotivation.

It is so true that a high percentage of students passing out are not industry ready, percentage of good resources is dropping and finding them is difficult. Getting new bees and getting them ready is a lot of effort and investment. Also, hiring everyone with great talent is challenging for a start-up as there will be limited number of premium hires that we can afford.

Overall, it has been a totally different year in my career with opportunities to experiment across multiple functions in the organization and learn from them. Some that were assigned and some that were self-initiated.

My knowledge in Equities F2B functions greatly improved with our attempts in getting the best training material and training our resources using them.

There is a still a long way to go including but definitely not limited to things like forming my dream team of cross-asset/cross-product/cross-functional developers, learning new technologies, finding and implementing new ways to meet our resourcing needs across clients/projects, close few consulting deals, build a successful product, .... the list just doesnt end !

PS: This was posted in Dec 2016 on my personal blog.

About the author

Vishnu Vardhan Chikoti is a co-author for the book "Hands-on Site Reliability Engineering". He is a technology leader with diverse experience in the areas of Application and Database design and development, Micro-services & Micro-frontends, DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering and Machine Learning.

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