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Abbas Sutarwala
Abbas  Sutarwala

Abbas Sutarwala

Consultant

MAST Center for Programming Excellence

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Brief description about me
I have a B. E. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Bombay and an M. S. in Engineering (Mechanical Design) from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966. I switched my fields, while in the U. S., to Software Development as I found myself "captivated" by the craft of programming.
I returned to India in 1973 and started working for Tata Consultancy Services. I worked on many interesting projects and travelled to U. K., Switzerland, Jordan, and Dubai, on assignments which were very enjoyable.
I left TCS, after 9 years and then mostly worked with the K. Raheja Group of Companies for about 15 years. During that period, I developed a "Point-of-Sale" system that was used by 3 Benetton stores in Mumbai, and a keyboard-shortcut program called TypeEasy.
I rejoined T. C. S. in 1999 for 6 years and retired from there. I have been a free-lance consultant since. My current chief client is ASL Advanced Systems in Bangalore. I am also a Visiting Faculty at IIIT-B teaching Java.
My achievements
1. Developed about 110 reports for the E-X Accounting product in 3 months using a DOS-based utility I had developed earlier; the product was used by an estimated 20,000 customers for their dot-matrix printers.
2. Developing a "flexible-edit" program in COBOL in 1980; it was driven by field-specifications in a text file.
3. Developing a keyboard-shortcut program, called TypeEasy, for DOS-based systems.
4. Authoring a course and book on "Good Programming: Skills and Practices".
5. Developing a "Programmable Test" program to test embedded software-based units used by driving instructors in the Middle-East.
Initiative to develop a country
Become role models of "excellence in work", "service to clients", and integrity.
Important decision
Deciding to stay on in India even though it meant letting my U. S. "immigrant" status lapse.
Deciding to leave T. C. S. to become a free-lance consultant.
Deciding to re-join T. C. S.
Deciding to teach "Good Programming Skills and Practices"
Deciding to author a book on "Good Programming Skills and Practices".
Championing a 5-day workshop on "Extreme Programming" by Kent Beck, the founder of the discipline.
Important lesson learned
I think it is important to strive for "balance in life" and not become a workaholic.
My family background
My dad, an engineer from the College of Engineering, Pune, worked for the Bombay Municipal Corporation. He was a man of integrity and independence of thought.
My mother came from a small town in Madhya Pradesh, but did many good things in Mumbai, including opening a charitable institution for poor women which is still running (it was founded in 1952).
I have one sister and two brothers, all of whom are settled in the U. S.
My wife is a teacher and a very good and friendly person.
My daughter, Anjum, is a medical practitioner, married and living in the U. S.
My son, Anees, is an engineer with Intel India in Bangalore.
Ensuring success
It just so happens that I get to work on new technologies so I learn some things that way.
Also, teaching at IIIT-B is also a learning experience for me.
I read a lot and feel good about it.
Couple of years from now
I am taking a 2-month vacation in a week's time and plan to reflect on that in that time!
Degree that I recommend
No.
My role model
Mr. F. C. Kohli - an amazing person - brilliant technically and a very kind and caring person; has a very good sense of what is "important" and focusses on that.
Mr. R. Narayanan - he was head of the Corporate Learning Center at Trivandrum - made the place a very effective learning place and a fun place to be in. Very supportive and mentoring-oriented.
Influenced by
My dad. His straightforwardness, and courage.
My strongest skill
Love of Programming.
Good aptitude in Programming.
Good communications abilities.
Thoughts on Education system of our country
I think "learning via hands-on projects" can be done more of.
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
Professional understanding and vision.
Caring for the customers and the team.
Integrity.
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