Rizwan Ahmed is currently working as Associate Vice-President (Technology and Delivery Head, India) in delaPlex Software (IDC). He has 10+ years of experience in IT industry in the area of program, delivery management, project management, team management, estimating and architecting solutions as part of presales, competency development, quality assurance, design and development in multiple domains and technology environments with roles ranging from developer to delivery head serving customers across the globe.
growIT.in: Please share your experience in the IT industry, especially that at Nagpur
RA: After spending almost over a decade working in various capacities in IT industry at Nagpur has been overwhelming. I started my career in IT industry at Nagpur when I got an opportunity to do my final year research project in one of leading IT company operating out of STPI, Sadar. The project work was challenging since I was supposed to solve NP-Complete Scheduling problem using Genetic Algorithms which was relatively new concept then. I must say the satisfaction of completing this daunting task under the able guidance of then R&D Head of the company has been a great achievement and above all it landed me my first job with the same company. After that I worked with various companies in different capacities and learned lots of new technologies as the occasion demanded to accomplish all the projects. One of the great moments came in year 2008 when I was awarded “Technology Hero” by Microsoft from over 10000 developers around the globe for FoneKey project (www.fonekey.net). Microsoft sponsored me a trip to US to attend Tech Ed 2008 where Bill Gates delivered his last Keynote speech but due to unforeseen reasons I could not attend that event.During last so many years I have been fortunate to get to work on really innovative projects for various clients including a prestigious project for one of the largest space laboratory in the world while still working at Nagpur.
growIT.in: Tell us a little about your current role at delaPlex?
RA: I am one of the founders in India for delaPlex- India Development Center (IDC) and currently serving as Associate Vice-President and Technical Head (India). During my tenure our companyhas grown from a startup to a company with over 40 employees and a client list that includes companies from North America and other parts of the world. I am responsible for managing all the offshore software development projects and product development efforts while maintaining high quality software processes at the workplace.
growIT.in: Tell us about your team and how difficult/easy has it been to build/manage the team?
RA: Our people are our greatest asset.I’ve been doing software engineering for over ten years now and I must say to succeed in producing a successful, elegant, and satisfying product/project, it cannot be done without having a good team. It is important that individuals in the team work well together, laugh together, and dream together. We have been able to form such a team at delaPlex which assured success for us and our clients too.We hire talented, motivated professionals who take pride in solving the most challenging and complex business problems. The screening for each developer candidate goes through phone screens, logic tests, coding problem sessions, multiple interviews and reference checks before being considered for a final offer. Due to this rigorous screening process we often face talent crunch in Nagpur to find right candidates and our hiring cycle takes more time than average.
growIT.in: How do you keep up with the changing technology landscape?
RA: The changing technology landscape is one of the biggest challengesfor all IT professionals, IT companies and their clients. To cite an example, in last three and half years alone we have upgraded one of our clients thrice since they wanted to make use of latest technology framework to take relevant advantages.To stay abreast with the changing technology landscape, I always try to commit myself to continuously reading relevant industry journals, magazines, blogs, forums and newsletters. In addition, I try to do networking with specialists and experts to gain latest insights on technological advancements without having to spend time in doing in-depth research. Also, I try to attend various relevant technical conferences, events, and webinars to improve my technologicalknowledge.
growIT.in: What are the challenges that you face, being based at Nagpur? How have your overcome such challenges?
RA: Most of the issues faced by us are all the same as faced by the other Outsourced IT development companies based out of Nagpur supporting global clients.Some of those issues being IT Skills issues, Cultural issues, Attrition issues etc., In order to address most of these issues, we invest a great deal in hiring the best talent available in Nagpuror look for skilled candidates who want to move to Nagpur as well as in training and retaining our existing employees. We also need to constantly keep acquiring domain knowledge and knowledge about the businesses that our clients are in, so that we can use that knowledge to move up the value chain.
growIT.in: What is your opinion on Nagpur as an IT Destination?
RA: According to various reports on upcoming IT Destinations in India, Nagpur has been figured asa prominent place amongst all the Tier-II cities. Nagpur’s strategic location has made it a foremost choice for multiple industrial centers and an environment also conducive to IT entrepreneurs. But, as compared to other Tier-II IT cities Nagpur still has long way to go and we need to wait till major IT players in India setup their operations out of Nagpur in order to diversify theirgeographic bases, by creating newinfrastructure,in order toleverage the lower costs and lower attritionrates, as well as to find access to a largertalent base which this place offers.Government’s special efforts for Nagpur MIHAN- SEZ and other relevant special schemes should further help in accelerating this process, if promoted and implemented in right manner. Other way to bring Nagpur on world’s IT map is by setting really innovative product development companies and probably this trend is slowly picking up amongst the entrepreneurs operating out of Nagpur. We should also support all these companies in whatever way we can, so that they can create the niche for themselves in the competitive IT world. I appreciate all the efforts that growIT is putting to change IT scenario of Nagpur by creating a unique interactive platform which definitely will turn as a catalyst.
Being a Nagpurian, I feel that Nagpur has all the right ingredients and potential to become a top IT destination which can be realized soon through sustained efforts, innovation, promotion and collaboration.
growIT.in: What is your message for IT professionals planning to work in Nagpur?
RA: Since the technology is always changing, one should always be studying and become competitive so that we can realize the dream of becoming successful and also making Nagpur a great IT destination. Here is my short list to accomplish this and be successful:
- Read books, magazines, and blogs.
- Subscribe to RSS feeds.
- Attend technical seminars, conferences, events and workshops.
- Teach others since this teaches you and share information freely with others — be generous.
- Find a good mentor.
- Focus on developing good working relationships with your coworkers, both technical staff and others.
- Develop effective communication, both written and spoken.
- In everything that you do, do it with integrity.
- Have passion for what you do.
- Strive for excellence.
- Avoid being self-righteous.
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