Who am I? What am I doing here?
I would like to give you a peek into my journey so far and share with you the choices that led me to where I am now.
The wonder years
I grew up in India, witness to the birth and growth of my father’s business in air conditioning systems. I watched my father navigate several challenges in establishing a stable client base for himself and I saw how passionately he loved what he had built. After I finished high school, I had to decide whether I wanted to get into my father’s business or carve out a path of my own. My father’s business required me to have a strong understanding of mechanical and electrical engineering, but I was passionate about computers and wanted to pursue a career in this field. I knew that my father would have liked me to help him in his business, but I also knew that he would support me even if I decided to take a different path. My father has always told me that you should do what you love. So, I followed his advice and went to college to study computer science.
What is my dream job?
Four years passed by really quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed my undergrad, exploring the world of computers. Now it was time for me to apply my skills to solve real life problems. So I asked myself, what problems do I want to solve? Should I get into the security industry and give hackers a run for their money OR should I get into the banking industry and work on the next generation trading systems? To be honest, I had no idea. Then it struck me that I could join an IT services company and work with clients in different industries and see which industry I like. I felt really proud of myself of navigating a major crossroad in my life and coming up with such a foolproof plan :). Little did I know that life is not that straightforward and that would be the first of many “major” crossroads.
Switzerland vs. the USA
After one month of training, I got my first project with an insurance client in Switzerland. We had to develop a product that would help the client improve their productivity and lower operating expenses. When I started on this project I was really excited and pumped, but in few months my enthusiasm started wearing off. I felt that the IT services industry, where requirements are set by the client, was probably not a good fit for me because I love to try out new creative ideas and come up with innovative products. We had to follow the somewhat rigid specifications set by the client, and this didn’t leave too much room for free form thinking. Moreover, during that time I worked with many colleagues who were experts in various technologies and after interacting with them I realized that if I don’t hone my skills further, I would hit a glass ceiling very soon. Now I had a choice to make, should I switch jobs and go with the learn-on-the-job approach or should I go for my Masters? Decisions, decisions.