June - 2006 - issue > Sage Speak
Sage Speak
ST Team
Thursday, June 1, 2006
Today's Investment Tomorrow's reward

Success never comes through short cuts. One has to strive hard and invest in himself to achieve it. That is what Amar Mutt, Chief Executive Officer of Afila Technologies did years ago and still continues. And today he is reaping the fruit of that investment. He says, Before you start off, take a decision whether you want to take a reward today or you’ll invest in yourself today and take long-term reward.

His fascination for computer networking since his engineering days attracted him towards Bangalore-based Interact Communications in 1990. Though everyone suggested that he try his hand in big organizations like Wipro and Infosys, he was clear with his ideas. Mutt says, “I knew that I could learn more while working with a smaller company rather than with a big company.” In 16 years of his professional life, he has always believed that technology is bigger than brand. One can retain the knowledge base even after 13-14 years if he or she is a part of a focused group. Technical knowledge can go places if one focuses properly. That thought triggered a dream to become his own boss and he learnt the mantras for that while being a part of Hewlett Packard, Singapore.

However, people relate startup companies with risk factor and they prefer to look for a secure job. “For me security is the knowledge that I gain. I believe that if you are not marketable after 10-15 years of experience then you are not on right path,” voices Mutt. What is important is to believe in yourself and never give up. Coming out with good ideas is not enough, what is important is to believe in those ideas and invest in it to make it a reality. That is where Indian techies are lacking; they don't have enough maturity, acknowledges Mutt.

Today, Indian IT market has expanded its diameter and lot of domestic and multinational companies have popped up, which offers highly challenging opportunities. Don’t take any higher challenges just for the sake of monetary gain. Before you dive in to any technology, wait and think, what is your passion, focus and how you are going to market yourself in the next 15 years from now. The answer would be by fine-tuning you desire, says Mutt.

Update to survive or perish

If techies have to make a mark in their career, they should understand the need of updating their knowledge base, if not they may become technically obsolescent, eInfochips’ Chief Technology Officer, Upendra Patel says. “It is only hard work which counts, as there is no other starting and ending point. In today’s fast-paced technology treadmill, if you know certain knowledge it will not remain forever. Within the next six months that knowledge gets outdated,” says Patel.

This is something the techies need to understand at the early stages of their career. If they adopt a structured reading habit to sustain their technological edge then that is definitely going to pay in the long run, acknowledges Patel who has 23 years of industry experience. Being a gold medallist in B.E Electronics and Communication Engineering, he began his career at PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) in electronics design space. After working for one year in PRL, Patel worked with Contech and Masibus prior to joining eInfochips in 1999. At that point of his career when he made a switch from process automation industry to embedded systems designs for consumer and communications markets, his quality of knowledge updating had stood as a backup for him. “Even today I spend two hours daily in updating my knowledge,” says Patel.

One needs to be prepared to learn new domains and technologies that are appropriate to the job one is seeking. But Patel feels learning is a process, which moves in a phased manner. And failure is also an integral part of learning. He says, “All cutting edge technology projects have to handle early failures. At that time instead of giving up; think about ways that will help you to overcome the technical hurdles and make it a success story!”

Mistakes to learn

People who failed have achieved a lot, but that is possible only when you learn from those mistakes,” says Pramod Ratwani, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Middle East for Aspect Software. So once you overcome those mistakes then it will be a smooth drive to move on and that is what Ratwani learnt in his 19 years of Industrial experience.

Being an engineer by heart, he started his career in 1987 from Lucent BCS, a unit of Lucent Technologies, after graduating from Delhi University in B.E Electronics and Communication. Prior to Aspect Software, he was with AT&T. He was mandated by Aspect to establish its Asia Pacific presence. From then he never looked back and played a significant role in company’s growth. He oversaw and directed the company’s regional growth from conservative beginnings of a two-man team to 16 offices with 300 headcount across the world. But did Ratwani achieve all these without any mistakes, No! “I have committed many mistakes and with every mistake I learnt a lesson. Mistakes are very important to correct yourself,” he says.

However, one can reduce the frequency of committing mistakes if someone is there to mentor or guide you, he feels. It will help quicken the job at a lesser time with fewer mistakes. Though it is not necessary as any body can learn on his or her own, as ‘experience is the best teacher.’ But having a leader, as an inspirational source will help to learn from their career path and mistake that they have committed. Everyone has committed mistakes and tasted failure at some point of time. What is important is to set a long-term goal for yourself and avoid the nature of doing what ever comes in your way. Then strive hard to achieve that goal. “Don’t disappoint with early failures as that is the indication of your successful career,” voices Ratwani.
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