A Developer’s Story – Dhruv Saini

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Dhruv found everything about technology really cool right from his school days, and dreamed about being a part of the industry, building cool things himself some day. Today he is working at Voiro, a media tech startup in Bangalore. Let’s hear from him.

Dhruv Saini, Software Engineer, Voiro

About coding

I got to learn a little bit of Computer Science in school and learnt proper coding in college. I always found everything about technology quite cool – initially computer games got me interested and by the time I was in high school tech was totally exploding with facebook and whatsapp and twitter, and then apps and so on. It was all really cool and I wanted to be making awesome technology myself.

I like solving interesting real life problems – seeing the impact of my work in real time, on people or the client’s revenue. For example, at Voiro we make enterprise software for media companies like Hotstar. I love it when there is a big event like IPL – there’s a lot more activity, the office will be buzzing, more ads to be scheduled, more challenges to be solved quickly. Everything has to run perfectly – no room for error in prime content. When I work on a project like that and then see the result of it real-time, it gives me a real kick.

Tech you like?

I like blockchain technology – the potential of it in making the banking system and every other system really safe and secure. Today, security, privacy, data are all controversial topics. Blockchain could help us find an effective solution and a truly decentralized internet as opposed to what we have today. Even within Silicon Valley, if they want to make their own internet with security, technically it is possible today with blockchain (only).

I think ML is interesting too. Today I can talk to Siri, Google, Alexa and they can understand me. I’m learning ML on my own. In college you don’t learn upcoming or latest advancements in technology. Here, whenever I get free time I research and learn. I want to do something interesting in this field.

I also like working on Python and AWS. The solutions and capabilities you get from these to solve complex problems with external constraints are something I like experimenting with.

Most interesting tech challenge you’ve faced?

That would be an AWS project I took initiative to do. As a media tech company, there’s always insane amounts of data to deal with. To make sense of the data and make it useful, we needed to process around 50 GB of data every day and multiples of it per month, per year and so on. This required high processing power and time.

The general industry practice is to use Red Shift, which would cost Rs. 15 lakhs per year for one client. To use Red Shift, documentation and everything is available. But to use Athena, finding documentation and resources is difficult. I decided to figure out how to use Athena. It has some limitations, which is why it’s sparsely used. But using Athena would cut the cost by 85%.

I wrote some scripts to work around the limitations and process the data faster. It was a successful implementation, saving money for the client and creating a better solution for my company.

Advice to his younger self

When I was in college I never used to participate in group projects and events. I was happily settled in my introverted world. I used to sit at home and solve online coding challenges or do my own learning outside of college instead of going out and seeing, participating, learning through a different lens.

So don’t do that. Don’t learn just from books. Go out and meet people, participate in events. Learn from our collective experience. Acquire the kind of knowledge you don’t get from books. The combination of fun, tech and exposure helps you grow as a well-rounded person.

Startups or MNCs?

I’ve worked only in startups. I’ve had the opportunity to learn – goes without saying in the case of startups and at a junior level. However, I also got a lot of freedom and opportunity to take initiative and solve different challenges I might have never got in a big company. AFAIK you’ll be stuck with one thing and no idea of the whole thing in big teams.

I had heard from my seniors about the learning at startups, whereas things take years to change at big companies even in adoption of new technologies, trying new ways of doing things, moving fast with the times. This can probably change now as there are more startups and the advantages of a better approach are evident.

The Indian tech industry

The Indian tech industry is no longer the back office of the world. We’re making it here on our own. I think we need to prioritise a better work environment and culture here over everything else. If these basic things are there, there is no dearth of good talent. I hear from friends about long work hours and politics at the work place.

Voiro is cool and I’m sure there are more companies that really take care of people. A better attitude to people, understanding that people have to be rewarded with respect, benefits and facilities, and not just pay money to make them work unnecessarily hard.

His experience on Geektrust

I was looking for a good job at a startup. But I wasn’t finding anything I liked. There are a lot of startups but it’s hard to find the good ones and reach them.

I saw a Geektrust ad and solved a coding challenge, which I love to do any day. So I did it just for fun and got a decent score. Suddenly I was getting notifications about companies wanting to contact me! So I thought why not solve some more challenges and improve my score.

The second time I submitted I got a better score and even more companies contacted me. I hadn’t heard of Voiro and many other companies. Everything went well with the companies I accepted and I joined Voiro.

The fact that companies were contacting me, based on my score, instead of me sitting and applying to many companies was a different experience. It motivated me to solve more challenges and see how high I can go.

That’s Dhruv’s story so far. We hope to see wonderful things from him and write about him again in a few years!

About Geektrust

Geektrust is a platform for technologists to find interesting opportunities. We meet inspiring people and companies in our work, and we see some great code written by our users. So we started the Dev Stories blog post series recently, to bring stories of different developers to the world. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as we love writing them.

If you’re passionate about programming and looking for interesting companies, sign up and get started.

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