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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Racy Rise

Priya Pradeep
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Priya Pradeep
Is playing golf a feeler to others that you have entered the corporate elite? “No!” is the emphatic answer from Muthu Kumaran, 35, of Cognizant. “It is stimulating to the mental taste buds,” he quips. Cognizant is another stimulant.

He has been with the company since the beginning of his career after joining as a programmer. A decade in the upward career spiral and he is now a Director heading a 1500 team. He seems completely grounded. Sounds great and inspiring for the young turks who are waiting in wings to take on the baton on different turfs.

Having graduated from Anna University in 1995, Kumaran stepped into a world where IT companies were offering 50 percent salary hikes and switching jobs was the norm.

However Kumaran resisted the bait and steadfastly worked on building his career loyally along with Cognizant. “I looked at Cognizant then as a platform to grow into the future while most of my contemporaries in other companies were near-sighted due to financially motivated blinkers,” says Kumaran. His parameter of assessing how happy he was in his career was not just finances, but for the time he spent learning technology. Another factor to judge happiness was how fast he was scaling up within his work in understanding the customer. He is quick to appreciate Cognizant’s organizational culture to give him this maturity at a very early stage of his career to think of the bigger picture.

Kumaran’s ride up was not without commensurate efforts. He ensured that he participated in activities outside his core functions like recruitment, training, developing quality templates and coding standards, which ensured him of visibility among decision makers. Hence it is not without reason that he was promoted within one year of being a programmer and quickly moved on to handle a small team. He reveled in taking other challenging roles like that of an Account Manager later to get a 360-degree view of the functioning of the organization. “It is a myth that other supposedly non-tech roles involve no technology. In fact at the crucial client interface one has to know more technology,” explains Kumaran.

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