Of Aspirations and Achievements- Front-end Intern to Solutions Architect in 3.5 Years
Look around and the world has a lot of inspiration and motivation to offer. But nothing quite compares to a story of humble beginnings and great success.
Mayank’s is one such story- about faith and risk, about the courage to dive into the unknown and do what’s never been done before, about the right energy focused at the right places, about progress as an outcome of being ever-learning, always-exploring, and growing out-of-the-mould you’ve been set in.
The story behind the story
Mayank became a part of CACTUS while he was entering the third year of his engineering undergraduate study. He started freelancing a little before that. Initially, it was all about seniors and college committees. He was “the go-to guy” when it came to developing websites for anything, at a time when everyone wanted websites for their next startup or to simply get an online presence. He did an internship with Tata Consultancy Services in the summer break of his first year of college and completed in a week and half, what his manager had planned for him for two months. In the break of his second year, he did a project with Directi. By this time, he had completed multiple projects and built up his portfolio. But working at CACTUS would get him involved in a long-term project and that was a big leap from the unstructured, erratic in-flow of freelancing work. CACTUS seemed like the perfect opportunity to hone his skills and start a career — all at the same time.
“I was a second-year college student with only some freelance projects and workshop talks to brag about. I didn’t have an under-100 CodeChef rank, some national-level competition medal to show. When I was called for an interview at CACTUS, I did not expect it to be so big. When I got to the office for interview, I was taken aback. The office spanned multiple floors, Cactus had offices in 7 countries, and I saw lot of expats working in the office, and I was interviewed by two people, then team lead and the VP of engineering.” exclaims Mayank, who was surprised at the scale of work done at CACTUS, just like we were amazed at the amount of work he could handle and the pace at which he could deliver results.
“When I finally joined, I was fortunate enough to have a manager who knew what he was doing and was very good at it. On top of that he was open to my suggestions. Also, I had only heard of terms like ‘no hierarchy at work’, ‘open structure’. I suggested a few things to the then Technical Architect of the team, and in a weeks’ time was working on implementing them.” he recounts.
So far, so great
Mayank joined CACTUS at a stage when the company started using technology not as a support system but to drive transformation and to scale up. This shift, coupled with the fact that even at that time CACTUS was not a small company by any means meant that there was a big list of ‘To-Dos’. This being the perfect environment for him to grow, meant that Mayank would occasionally pick up something exploratory to work on, create a POC, demo it and then start working on it as a full-blown project. Most of the initial big tickets have been this way.
Given the scale of business, whatever built here is shipped to a huge global audience. Mayank has been able to grow in understanding regarding potential problems that may arise when a product is used by someone in Japan, China, Brazil, USA, etc. and how to handle them, thus, opening up many new avenues for him as a developer.
The developer’s ladder
The best thing about CACTUS is that your title doesn’t define your work but rather, it’s the other way around. Mayank recounts, “Even while in college, I was sleeping during the lectures in the morning and working on improving the then Angular2 Core to accommodate multilingual builds from the same codebase. I had the opportunity to design the architecture and develop the pipeline for a module that processes a great load of events every hour. The project introduced me to AWS, BigData, Analytics and many more things.”
With more responsibility after each project, its quite evident that a company that focuses on merit gained through action, doesn’t make years of experience, the team you’re a part of, or your professional title, a mandate for where you can go.
“Every other day for me at Cactus is different. Today I get to work on multiple exciting projects in the domain of Artificial Intelligence, NLP (Natural Language Processing), Big Data, cloud architecture and also cutting-edge technologies like Web based Augmented/Virtual Reality. I also have the privilege of managing a small but extremely talented and motivated team, and together we not only bootstrap a product but take it from an idea to a production-ready, scalable and fault-tolerant system. In the process we have learned what it takes to build, scale, and manage large scale applications. I also manage recruitment, take interviews for the team and conduct campus placements. I visited my own university campus in just under two years of graduation, only this time, on the other side of the table to recruit students for my team.
I’ve also visited NYC, USA, multiple conferences in India and much more. I’ve interacted with core members of the engineering team from AWS, GCP, etc. for various products. In the process I’ve met some brilliant people — both within CACTUS and outside, who are amazing at what they do.”, he remarks.
Some people learn and deliver more in two years than others do in a decade. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the individual, and CACTUS gives you the right opportunities and freedom to turn your aspirations into your achievements.