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Success Mantra - Getting the fundamentals right

“Sir, I don’t want to work in legacy technologies”

When I heard an interview candidate tell me this, I couldn’t help but, smile. Sounds only too familiar? I thought to myself. For a minute I was taken back to my younger days. As a techie, I was working in a software company named Nexgen in Mumbai at SEEPZ, one of the oldest software technology parks in India. Nexgen was a small US-based technology company that took pride in working with many cutting-edge technologies at the time.

My very first project happened to be in Oracle D2K, which was fairly new technology; and Mainframe was more of a legacy in those times.  A few years later, when I was with Infosys, I was offered a project in Oracle D2K and I remember having a long conversation with my wife who was a techie herself.  We thought “Should we really work in a legacy technology like D2K and risk our future prospects?”- I remember going back to my manager insisting my interest to work only in Java, he gave me a broad smile and a big lecture on fungibility and the sorts and well, I still cannot recall if I was convinced at that time or not but, I vividly remember taking up the D2K project itself.

Fast forward to this day, the young lady sitting in front of me seems to resonate with the same story as mine and just shows how life has come a full circle. As she sat there, just out of curiosity, I asked her what according to her was legacy technology? When she said Java, I almost fell off my chair!  I realized that the speed at which technology is changing these days is much higher than what we are really prepared for. She wanted to work only in AI/ML to which I replied that in a few years she will become a manager herself and will be convincing someone else to work in AI/ML which soon would have become legacy by then.

In this context, Technology that used to take decades to fall off the wagon, takes just a year or two in today’s times.  So, the big question is how do we prepare our young workforce for this new normal?

Like in any field, I strongly emphasize on sticking to our Fundamentals. Once you get it right, I’m sure youngsters of today are clever enough to maneuver their way through. After all, they are much brighter and smarter in comparison to my generation.

Upskill

The first fundamental should be - to keep us engaged into a loop of continuous learning. It is not just about current skills and the knowledge derived from it but, about our ability to unlearn and learn, and at a fair pace. So, how do we keep removing the clutter off our internal white boards to create space to write new things on it?

While learning as a process should be continuous, upskilling would make us stay relevant. At EVRY, we provide the required platforms for employees to upskill along with incentivizing continuous learning through reward points to constantly stay ahead of times.

Attitude towards Life

As a second fundamental, having a positive approach about anything we do helps us in longevity of our career along with some perks for enjoyment. Remember, work is an integral part of life and while being good at technology is important, our understanding on how we see work as a ‘part’ would help us in the long run. 

I barely remember my father or anyone from his times, talk about early retirement - a concept still unheard of in the west. Most of us still struggle to balance ‘Life’ and ‘Work’. I guess, the trick is integrating good working habits, clear vision for goals and accepting work as a ‘major part’ of life and not letting work ‘take over’ life is the key.

People Skills

My message to the new joiners at EVRY, is about emphasizing one major aspect, your technical and functional skills would help you succeed during the initial years of the career. However, it is your ‘people skills’ that ultimately decides how successful you are going to be. In a broader sense – Inter-personal, social skills, networking and consensus-based leadership would eventually decide the direction you choose for your career. 

As the saying goes, there is no replacement for dedication and hard work - and with these fundamentals in place, your path to a successful career is guaranteed.

Author - Vinu Sekhar

Currently pursuing his PhD in Human Resources, Vinu Sekhar is an engineer and an MBA with nearly two and half decades of experience in the IT sector and has worked extensively across all areas of Business HR.

Vinu Sekhar, as Vice President leads teams across Human Resources for EVRY India.