More About me
How growing up Prabhat, my brother with severe disabilities, influenced me.
For a long time I thought, "Why is this happening to us, and me?"
My brother Prabhat was born with severe disability resulting from complications during birth. He cannot see, speak, understand or walk properly.
For me, it was difficult to explain it to others. None of our neighbours had any child with disability. None of my friends had any siblings with disability.
But my parents handled it differently. They accepted it.
Though, the acceptance didn't come easily. They visited every doctor they can to seek a solution. All of them said that nothing can be done.
Sometimes you cannot do anything to solve a problem. In that case, give support. Make them feel included and heard.
Or, at-least for a moment try to distract them with something that makes them happy.
For that reason, I am thankful to Mark Zuckerberg for creating Facebook. It takes my mom's attention from reality for couple of hours everyday where she just scrolls and often find stories that cheers her up.
Growing up with my brother helped me better understand the journey of people. It has shaped my purpose of connecting with others with empathy.
It helped me to understand that people come from different experiences , possess different skills and have different needs.
Engineering Days -
Introduction to prioritisation
Boys hostel/student accommodation were noisiest during 2 occasions - during Cricket matches and whenever semester exam schedule was published.
Cricket matches noises had either cheers and high fives or boos and hisses.
Exam schedule noises were very different. Those were the noises of seriousness.
Suddenly everyone will be knocking doors, collecting notes and reducing their video game playing hours.
Scoring above 9 GPA points out of 10 is difficult. No shortcuts, attend the lectures regularly, do the work.
Scoring 8/10 is like Most Viable Product or Most Viable Score of scoring.
If you want high GPA i.e above 8 points out of 10 without attending many lectures, you have to cover 6 months worth of studies in 1 month.
That's where prioritisation and planning comes in.
How I did it?
Find the friend who knows the most about the subject you are study.
Ask them about the important topics.
If possible, get a study session or notes from them.
Look into previous years questions.
Often you will find 1-2 chapters from which questions were asked every year.
Put those chapters in "Must" study list.
There will be 2-4 chapters from which questions were asked every alternate year.
Put them under "Should" study list.
You will find few topics which you love. Put them under "delight" study list. You can cover them couple of hours before the exam, trust me.
The strategies I tried still helps me. I scored 8.3/10, which was top 5% performance in Electrical and Electronics Engineering batch that year. It also helped me to secure a scholarship to University College Dublin to pursue Masters Degree in Information system.
Chandigarh, Royal Bank of Scotland - Surrounding matters a lot
When I joined Infosys Ltd, I wanted to work from Bhubaneswar D.C (Development Centre), Hyderabad D.C or Bangalore D.C.
Instead I got posted to Chandigarh D.C, in northern part of India.
It was a blessing in disguise for 2 reasons.
First, I got to work with a finance client - Royal Bank of Scotland.
Second, almost every engineer in Chandigarh D.C were preparing for G.R.E or any other standardised exam to study abroad.
Call it competition or peer pressure, I also started preparing for higher studies after my work.
I am glad that I was surrounded by colleagues who aimed higher. My exam preparation and skills were supported by my surrounding.
I apply that to my work and try to build an environment where everyone can be the best version of themselves.
Dublin- Work Hard and be at the right place at the right time
The night before my flight to Dublin, I was chatting with another Indian student based in Dublin. He graduated that year.
He asked me about my career aspirations. I replied " A UX Designer".
I was aware of the challenges towards becoming a UX Designer. I wasn't from a design background. I studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Although I was deeply involved in designing, I never worked as a designer.
My best shot to enter the field was my Masters Degree in Information System which had UX modules like User Centered Design, Human Computer Interaction, Information architecture, Cognitive Science etc.
Soon I realised that the theoretical knowledge of UX is not enough to break into the field. I started working on my design portfolio.
UCD Library is probably one physical location which single handedly helped me to build a portfolio. You will be motivated by the surrounding and you can focus.
It was my heaven. In couple of months my portfolio was ready.
Luckily my thesis was also on Usability study of websites which added more weight to my journey.
The portfolio helped me land an internship with 3Ireland.
At the same time, I was involved with the startup community in Dublin. Google Ireland has an initiative called Startup Grind where they invite speakers to discuss their entrepreneurship journey.
In one of the events held in Google Office, I was listed as a featured attendee. During the break, I was discussing some design with another attendee and the lady standing beside me, Amy, was patiently listening.
Then he asked me about my work and I told her about my internship at 3Ireland.
She was excited to learn about my involved in telecom and told me about Blueface, an enterprise communication company, where she worked.
Blueface was hiring and she asked me if I am interested in joining. I said yes.
Thankfully I had my portfolio ready and I was in the right place which led to my UX Journey. I got lucky because I did the work. The Universe was working for me.
Blueface Ltd - From UX Designer to Product Manager.
The employee count was around 30 when I joined Blueface.
I joined as the first full time UX Designer. But my role was not limited to that.
Everyone wore multiple hats. The Head of Software Development was also a Product Manager, Business Analyst and many more.
When I was not designing , I was testing the tickets for next release in DEV and Production environment or I was understanding the user needs and pitching them to my manager.
Among my extra responsibilities, I enjoyed Product Management the most. It gave me the complete picture of how a problem moves from a feedback or idea to an Interface or Service.
In the beginning of 2020 right before COVID, Blueface got acquired by Comcast.
After leading the UX and Product Design, I got the opportunity to grow the team. The team grew from 1 designer to 3 designers.
The company rapidly grew from 60 employees to +160 employees.
The Product Management team in Blueface was hiring. That was my opportunity to grow into the role which I have been doing since last 3 years.
I discussed the opportunity with my manager and the hiring manager.
Given my experience with designing the Blueface Product and suggesting many improvements over the years, they were happy for my transition from UX Designer to Full time Product Manager.
Blueface gave me all the support and the platform I needed to learn and grow.
A quote from Sheryl Sandberg, C.O.O @Facebook fits my journey at Blueface the best - "If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat!"