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Raghavan Puranam
Raghavan Puranam

Raghavan Puranam

Director Quality and Release Engineering

Yahoo!

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The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here
It has been a wonderful journey of over 20+ yrs so far. I have worked
for only three companies in my career so far: CMC R & D, Hyderabad,
Sun Microsystems and Yahoo!

I started my career with CMC R & D
Hyderabad. Those days, getting into the hardware was a dream for the
good students. I got to work with some of the smartest people at CMC R
& D and worked on many cool projects: Message Switching Systems,
SCADA, and Electronic Telex machines. Developed and tested hardware,
device drivers and test jigs.

Then I decided to move into
software development. I joined a huge banking software project. I worked
on all phases: Collecting requirements, developing prototypes, getting
sign off from the Product Owner, designing the system, developing the
software, testing and deployment. Here we came up with coding standards,
GUI development standards, Unit Test Design standards, code reviews.
These became the guidelines for most of the projects later. I feel it
was possible to deliver high quality projects because of the rigor and
discipline I inherited from my hardware experience.

Then I got an
opportunity to work for Sun Microsystems, USA. I joined the Enterprise
Messaging and Infrastructure team. This was one of the best periods of
my career. I gained extensive experience in areas like Message Oriented
Middleware, SOA, B2B, Registries, Measuring and Monitoring Web services.
This team helped Sun to realize Quote to collect vision. As said before
i gained deep experience in good engineering practices which enabled to
build high quality products and projects.

After 7 yrs of
enriching experience at Sun USA, I returned to Sun Bangalore. For the
first time, I moved into Quality and started as QA Architect. This was a
wonderful experience and I decided to continue my career in Quality.

After
3yrs in Sun Bangalore, I joined Yahoo! as Senior Engineering Manager
and was tasked to build a world class white box engineering team. I
built a strong team of 60 people which delivered high quality platforms
that run most of Yahoo! properties. The platform which is built on top
of Hadoop, processes over 100TB of data everyday and forms the backbone
of Yahoo! critical business. I went on to become Director of Quality and
Release Engineering at Yahoo! and drove many initiatives like
Continuous Integration, White Box Engineering, adoption of Agile Process
and best Release Engineering Practices.
Decisions That Mattered
Being open minded and making the most of every responsibility and
challenge. I had opportunity to work in different domains and
technologies: HW, Banking, Middleware, SOA, Big Data Platforms, Hadoop,
Release Engineering and played many roles: Developer, Dev
Architect, QE Architect, Dev Manager, QA Manager.
The Turning Points in My Life
Moving from Dev to QE was one of the most important and interesting event.
Work and Role: Then and Now
As can be seen from the above, I have handled widely varying
technologies and responsibilities that has made me quite versatile. This
was possible as I always approach with an open mind and accept every
new responsibility and problem as a challenge and opportunity.
Two Years Down the Line
As a person who has created keen interest in Quality as a Career in at least a few more people.
What I Learnt Along the Way
Every problem should be treated as a challenge and an opportunity
and there is always room for improving the Quality of what we do!
Changing Days: Lessons Learnt
Even though a lot more innovation is happening all around us today than
ever before, we have not grown as professional people who can engineer
world class products. The mediocrity seems to be more today than when I
started. Pride in Technical depth and expertise are lacking and there
are not many senior technical people in the industry to provide
technical leadership to the new generations.
Trends to Watch Out For
Big Data Analytics and Mobile Technology are going to impact almost
everyone on the globe and businesses like Online Gaming, Education,
Entertainment, Retail, Advertisement, Supply Chain Management will
benefit most from these technologies. Having said that if you are an
expert in any technology and business area not mentioned above, you can
easily adapt and be successful in any domain and technology since you
understand what it takes to be successful!
My Advice If You are Starting Out
Irrespective of the domain, make sincere efforts to gain technical depth
and take pride in becoming an expert. There will be great demand for
such folks no matter whether the economy is doing well or not! There
will always be greater respect and demand for Senior Technical folks
than Managers! So, pursue a technical career for long standing success!
Must Focus Areas For the Future
In addition to the technical expertise like testing and test
methodologies, gain in-depth domain knowledge in the business domain you
are working in. Such domain experts will become great assets to the
company and will have a long and successful career!
Books/ Websites I Recommend
There are plenty of good books and articles by great authors. But having
a structures approach to reading keeping in view the project and
business needs will help both the business and career. Nothing works
like knowledge sharing and problem solving in a team environment!
Last But Not Least
Who should go for a career in quality?
I think this is a very
important question every quality engineer as well as a new engineer
trying to start in quality should ask himself or herself. Almost anyone
can become a Programmer but very few become good Developers! Likewise,
not everyone can become a good Quality Engineer: You should find out if
you have the right mindset to become a great quality engineer.
Otherwise, you should look at some other career options!
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