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Ask Narayanan Subramaniam for Advice
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Narayanan Subramaniam
Narayanan Subramaniam

Narayanan Subramaniam

Principal Engineer

CTG at Cisco Systems

Brief description about me
I work for the Collaboration Technology Group (CTG) at Cisco Systems (Bangalore). As the Principal Engineer for the group, I provide technical and thought leadership in the development of world-class on-premise and cloud-based Voice-over-IP infrastructure products. The Cisco Collaboration family of products delivers industry leading Unified Communications, Customer Collaboration, Telepresence and Collaboration Applications products and solutions. I have close to 19 years of diverse product development experience, post my graduation with, an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park (USA), and, a BTech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from IIT Madras.
Challenges in job
IT-based Collaboration is a blend of complex technologies encompassing VoIP, Video, Virtual Cloud Computing, Enterprise Social Platforms, Voice/Video/IM Endpoints, Mobility to name a few, as well as, an understanding of social/behavioral sciences encompassing trends in human-human collaboration needs and human-machine interface requirements.
Collaboration Technologies will dramatically change the way humans live, work and play. It is a privilege to be a core part of this transformation that will have a positive effect towards a truly global and sustainable society.
Job made easy
A keen passion for continuous learning, self-introspection and continuous self-improvement is what I believe makes one’s job a pleasure, and allows an individual to maintain a strong emotional balance in the workplace. IT-based Voice & Video Collaboration tools developed by Cisco go a long way in facilitating global development of innovative products and solutions.
Upcoming trends
Anytime-anywhere, Cloud-based Collaboration solutions accessed via an increasing mobile workforce on personal devices will be a key trend to watch out for.
My point of view
There are a number of useful lessons one can take in developing a product in an emerging market and applying them to the global environment. The award-winning Cisco ASR901 mobile backhaul aggregation router is an excellent example in this regard, wherein a product developed for India has found significant application in the global marketplace. A strong domestic IT consumption market, as well as a strong and vibrant university-research eco-system with active industry partnerships is required for spurring innovation/patents and new products.
My goals
To provide personal and thought leadership in building world-class product teams that develop IT Collaboration products that help to build an efficient and truly globalized workforce, operating in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Family background
My wife is a PhD. in Urban Environmental Planning, is an avid environmentalist, and has various interests spanning human behavior, philosophy, Carnatic music and organic gardening. My kids are in the 9th. grade and 6th. grade respectively and have various interests spanning music, dance, and sports.
Advice to professionals
In my opinion it is vital for any software development engineer to spend a few years in the Test/Validation area in order to get a complete appreciation of the systems and technologies for which he/she is developing a piece of software for; kind of like peeling an onion from the outside.
Additionally, every engineer must be hands-on for the first 15+ years of their career in order to develop technical depth first and then technical breadth, whilst acquiring other skills like effective personal leadership and communication which comes with age/maturity and diligence.
Advice to students
While developing technical engineering skills, it is vital to take a few courses on business/economics as well as on the arts/human psychology, especially given that developing business acumen and understanding how humans interact/behave and develop relationships is equally important for success in one’s career.
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