I began my career in 1998 in the manufacturing industry. I was on the functional side and primarily handled the management information systems and developed management information reporting around financial supply chain and operations. I gained experience in databases for applications enabling inventory and warehouse management, procurement vendor management, etc.
Later, I decided to move out of custom solution implementations. With the Business Intelligence (BI) space catching up, and given my strong understanding and grounding in databases, I decided to pursue my career in BI technology. Eventually I joined Virtusa in January 2004 and have been here for a good 8 years. Decisions that mattered
The most important decision in my career was when I moved from the manufacturing sector to IT services. Basically, I went from being an implementation specialist or a functional consultant to a technology expert advising and providing IT solution services to global clients.
The Turning Points
As mentioned above, the inflection point in my career was my decision to move to the IT services space. I wanted to be in the industry that actually engineered the technology solutions that were implemented in various businesses. On hindsight, I am happy that I have been able to model my career based on my interest and expertise.
Work and Role: Then and Now
In my previous job in manufacturing sector, I was actually implementing solutions based on the requirements of the company. Even during the earlier years in Virtusa, I was a software analyst who would develop and implement software projects for Virtusa’s global clients. Today, as a technology Practice Evangelist, I handle the business development of Virtusa’s Business Intelligence (BI) and Data warehousing services (DW). This role also requires competency management. Two Years Down the Line
Right now, I am in a management role within Virtusa’s DW/BI practice. Over the years, my career progression at Virtusa has been a natural growth and in the next few years I aspire to see myself as the owner of a centre of excellence for BI. My passion for data governance, coupled with my career aspiration, provides me the skills and capabilities to create and manage a centre of excellence in data governance, cloud and data space.
Changing Days: Lessons Learnt
‘Change is the only Constant’. One key lesson, I have learnt through my career has been that of being open and flexible to change at all times. I feel that being ready to adapt to new things is not only a necessity, but a key requirement to be successful. Eight years back, when I quit my job, I wanted to think through my options and really do what interests me. At Virtusa, I have taken on many different roles. Many opportunities came my way due to the changing dynamics and I took them up readily. These exposures not only helped me gain extensive experience, but also enabled me to learn new skills including managerial, technical, etc. These experiences and opportunities have greatly contributed to my career growth.
What I learnt along the way
I was a programmer during the earlier phase of my career. Over the years, I got the opportunity to take on different roles including that of software analyst, pre-sales, Client Servicing, etc., Today, I am a Practice Evangelist, who handles business development for Virtusa. This role also requires competency management. My experience across different roles has helped me gain an in-depth understanding on the technology needs of clients, managing global teams, strengthening my team skills and has made me competent to take leadership roles. Trends to Watch Out For
There is a lot of consolidation happening in the BI space. Oracle has acquired Hyperion, whereas IBM has made many acquisitions over a period of time. When acquisitions happen, the next generation vendor solution architecture undergoes a change. So, when we use a beta release for our solution, we have to worry about upgrading our skills to adapt to the new architecture. We need to be aware of this and accordingly upgrade our skills. Right now, everybody is talking about BI on the Cloud. IBM also has tied up with Amazon. Also, another key technology trend is the mobile BI, which is becoming pervasive.
My Advice If You are Starting Out
I would ask them to get grounded on the concepts. Create a solid foundation through conceptual knowledge. Further, do not be a tool specialist. Rather, try to focus on becoming a technology specialist. Ultimately, the decision to have a career in a particular area boils down to your interest, aptitude and long term goals.
Areas of specialization
We are observing few trends in the BI/DW space. One of them is on Data Quality. Another key focus area is the master data management (data discovery, profiling, rules management and implementation of MDM solutions). These BI/DW topics are in demand now. Some of the other areas which are in demand include being a specialist on database and data warehouse appliances.
Do we need certifications
There are multiple specializations offered by a variety of reputed organizations. I would recommend TDWI certifications and also certifications from IBM, Informatica, Oracle, etc.
Books/ Websites I Recommend
There are a lot of books and the web has a tremendous amount of reading material. So there is definitely a lot of choice for learning and gaining knowledge on the subject.