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Advice Request
Chandra Amaravadi
Chandra Amaravadi

Chandra Amaravadi

Professor at Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University

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Chandra Amaravadi is a member of:

- Expert
Could you tell us briefly about your family background?
My parents live in the beautiful city of Visakhapatnam. My father retired as the head of Geology department, Andhra University in 1995. My mother is a homemaker. Both my parents practice homeopathy at present. I have two sisters, one in UAE and the other in New Zealand. Had conservative upbringing.
Plans For The Future:
I have been working at Western Illinois University for a number of years. I expect to continue contributing to the teaching, research and service activity at this fine institution. Hopefully after crossing some more milestones, I will be eligible to apply for a Distinguished Faculty Award.
Changes In The Professional Environment:
At the workplace, there is less travel$, more requirements, more technology support, younger colleagues and more opportunities! In industry, Indian IT skills are recognized and respected across the board, so this creates consulting opportunities, however the needs of the institution come first.
Advice For New Professionals:
Previously IT employees could afford to specialize in a single area such as Java or Database or mainframe. This no longer seems the case. Every developer needs to be able to deal with areas such as web technologies, databases, graphics and legacy apps. With mobile apps, there is a need to know HW.
Job Profile:
Have been with WIU since '89, and authored around forty publications. Teach both grad and undergrad courses at Western. As senior faculty, participate in mentoring, hiring, and evaluating other faculty and provide leadership on committees. Currently serve as Editor for Expert Systems journal.
Other Thoughts:
Enjoy many things including family, fitness, watching basketball and reading/watching science fiction. I strongly believe in family values and consider it my good fortune to work for an institution that works like a very large family. In the IT profession it is easy to lose oneself in work.
Role Model:
Have two, neither of them living. Alan Turing, whose photo adorns my office exemplifies all the brilliant innovators in the field. My second inspiration is Antone Stradivari whose name is synonymous with excellence. He spent hours in the forest looking for the perfect wood. Research is like this!
Working Life Management:
Work can be very hectic, but family comes first. This obviously means starting work very early which I do during the semester and during vacations I stay up late, leaving time for family activity. Also I try to be very focussed, and avoid wasting a single moment.
The Decisions That Matter
There have been many, first was to study management, which was what I was attracted to. The second was to go into a doctoral program to pursue an in-depth study of business admin. The third was the choice of dissertation topic -- office information systems. All of these were "gut feel" decisions.
Required Reading:
Rely on numerous magazines to keep abreast, am happy to say that this magazine (this is not a paid endorsement) is foremost:
a) Silicon India -- for IT news both in U.S. as well as in India
b) MIT Technology Review -- for future advances in IT
c) Bloomberg business week -- for general business news
Prized Accomplishment(s):
Recently I have begun to try to address the question of representing professional knowledge. A representation scheme has been developed which I feel is a step in the right direction. Cannot say I am proud of this, since my best accomplishments are probably ahead of me, but I am very happy about it!
Growth Strategy:
A leader has to be well informed and have the necessary interpersonal skills. I continue to read both academic and business journals to have the cutting edge knowledge. Have been involved in many leadership opportunities lately such as providing training, faculty governance etc. that provide growth.
The Journey So Far:
Soon after graduation, I joined a small consulting organization and developed 4thGL applications. I left it for Ph.D in Business Administration. After a short stint at WIU served as a consultant for Cognizant where we researched a workflow system.
Now I consult for small organizations in the region.
Degrees That Matter:
There are a lot of opportunities in the education field, but the trend nowadays is to require a Ph.D; so this is a bare minimum. Certifications added to that would certainly enhance one's qualifications, especially in the IT field; Can prime the pump for consulting activities -- DB2,SQL, Web etc.
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