Welcome to this Spotlight on Essenters! Today we will be speaking with Revathy Umapathy, DevOps Engineer at Essent IT.
IT'S A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU WITH US TODAY, REVATHY! CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hi, I'm Revathy Umapathy and I work as a Data Analyst in the Meter Masters team at Essent IT. I started as a software developer and played other roles in the IT industry related with pipeline automations, monitoring, Scrum Master and now as a Data Analyst.
Alongside my work, I have a deep passion for dance, particularly Indian classical dance, and I've been learning "Bharathanatiyam" since the pandemic granted me more time to do so. It's been a fulfilling pursuit amid these challenging times.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN THE IT AREA?
My interest in IT wasn’t limited to any specific area, instead my interest lies in gaining new knowledge. I would say that I´m good at both people management and software development. So being able to interact with different types of people, taking in the knowledge they share with me and then crafting something new from that is what fuels my interest in IT.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC INFLUENCES OR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED YOUR CAREER PATH?
Yes, I do! There was a woman called Sonali Bhattacharya who left quite a lasting impression on me during my previous employment. She was the senior manager, and her leadership skills were amazing.
What made her stand out was her ability to both care for her team members and make sure that the projects were done well. She also actively engaged herself in the software market. So, whenever something new emerged in the industry, she would personally investigate it or try it by herself and then assign tasks to us. Seeing how good of a leader she was inspired me to become like that.
HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK AT ESSENT?
I applied for this job during a period when I was looking for a change and a new challenge in my career. I have a degree in electronics and communication engineering, and my father was an electrician, so electricity and related topics have always held my interest. When I came across the job profile, it immediately caught my interest. It was a good blend of what I had learned in my studies and the ongoing learning journey that I was on. I decided to apply for the job, and that's how I ended up working at Essent.
WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE COMPANY, AND HOW HAVE THEY CHANGED SINCE?
My first impression of Essent was that it had a software system with middle layers that seemed somewhat stagnant. It appeared as if they were struggling to make significant improvements and were hesitant to embrace a path towards the future. However, what has impressed me over the past two years and continues to do so is the openness to change. At Essent, we aren't content with staying in one place but are actively looking for ways to challenge competitors and innovate in response to market dynamics. While transformation can’t happen overnight, we are committed to making progress.
We introduce significant changes by breaking them down into smaller experiments and implementing them on one team at a time. This approach facilitates rapid progress and grants us confidence in the outcome.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE SCOPE OF YOUR ROLE?
I joined Essent in November 2021, bringing with me six years of experience in DevOps and software development. At first, I was part of the System Team as a DevOps engineer, responsible for managing pipelines and assisting other teams in seamlessly transitioning their development work to various testing and production environments using these pipelines.
Around three months ago, in early July, I joined a new team, the Metering Masters. In this role, we deal with raw metering data that originates from users. Our focus is transforming this data into a format that makes sense and is meaningful to end-users when displayed on the front end. Our objective is not only to enhance data manipulation but also to revamp old patterns. We are creating a system that can handle any level of load without disruptions. This ensures that the data remains accessible and valuable to the users.
CAN YOU SHARE SOME CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED IN YOUR ROLE, AND HOW YOU OVERCAME THEM?
In my previous role, there was one big challenge. I had to deal with overseeing multiple teams within a shared department, where we had joint responsibility for a shared system. This meant that any new developments or changes we introduced had to be utilized by the developer community. These changes often encompassed areas like security enhancements and pipeline optimization.
One of the main challenges there was persuading teams to embrace these changes willingly. As you may know, convincing people to transition to something new is never an easy task. So, we started first by conducting experiments with a few teams and then showcasing the results achieved with these changes.
While it was quite a challenge, it was nice to overcome that.
HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THE INTERNAL CULTURE OF YOUR TEAM?
In my previous team, I was an experienced team member, which meant that I was handling various responsibilities.
Now that I´m in a new team, I became a junior member. I've always been flexible and good at building relationships with colleagues, so this made it relatively easy for me to transition from a role where I explained things to others to one where I actively listen and learn from my new colleagues. The members of my current team have been patient with me, especially because I haven't been involved in development for the past two years.
WHAT ASPIRATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF IN THE FUTURE?
I see myself being part of Essent for the long run. My goal is to grow into a role that combines my strengths in working with people as well as my interest in technology. I don't want to choose one over the other, instead, in the next five years I would like to take on a leadership position where I can balance both aspects.
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE THE DEMANDS OF YOUR JOB WITH YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
Whenever I feel the need for a break, I make it a point to take one. I don’t have a set 9-to-5 routine. Sometimes, if I feel the need for a 2-hour break during the day, I'll take it and make up for it later in the evening or early in the morning and then make sure to finish my tasks in the time that I committed to do so. I believe in maintaining a balance, if I sense that I need a break from my personal life, I take that break. Similarly, if I need some time away from my professional life, I do that too.
Recently, I attended a conference called GOTO Amsterdam that emphasized the importance of rest and physical activity. We met Professor Eric Scherder, who advocated for taking breaks, exercising, and getting up from your chair every 30 minutes. This approach significantly enhances the quality of your work compared to sitting in one place for extended periods. So, I make it a habit to take breaks as needed, eat well, and make sure that I have a good rest.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE ASPIRING TO WORK IN YOUR FIELD OR IN A ROLE SIMILAR TO YOURS
I would say to enter the IT Industry with the attitude of a learner. Anyone looking to enter this field should understand that there will be continuous change in the market. So, you will have to learn the innovative technologies and implement them. It will be interesting if you are the one who is attracted to new challenges.
Learning is something that should be shared and not kept to oneself. When you learn something new, be open to teaching it to others when they ask. Collaboration and knowledge sharing are important in this field.
One thing I notice in people who are becoming experienced in the IT industry is getting pressurized by their own expectations of having to know it all. As I mentioned in the first point, it is a continuously emerging market, make sure to keep learning and not to expect yourself to know it all.
Happy learning and knowledge sharing! Enjoy the journey.
We would like to thank Revathy for the time she took to speak to us, and for the insights she shares.
If you have any lingering questions for her, do not hesitate to drop a comment below. We will ensure you are promptly connected.