Some people inspire you, some make you feel happy when you speak with them. Nitin Ganjigatti is one of those personalities who would inspire you with his hard work, human value system, work ethics, and parallelly makes you feel happy, comfortable, and confident. His journey is so DAMN INSPIRING. And I’m very sure this is just the beginning.
Nitin: So, where do we start?
Me: From the very beginning?
Me: Tell us something about who is Nitin Ganjigatti, how did you discover Codewave, about your Codewave experience, the good and esp the bad experiences because I’m not getting to hear any – it’s highly impossible. But I’m sure a person as frank as you would definitely share it. I mean you can tell everything about.. (he interrupts.. with ‘ruk ja, ruk ja’)
Nitin: Ruk ja, Ruk ja (wait, wait..)
Nitin: You ask me one question at a time, and I’ll answer it all.
Me: Cool. Tell us the story behind how you got into web designing?
Nitin: I come from a very middle-class family. After my father demised, I and my elder brother were running a Xerox and Internet Cafe, which was profitable but I wanted to step out of Haveri. I always had this feeling that I have to do something other than run this shop, and so I decided to move out and went to Bangalore to pursue a web design course.
Me: Great! So, was it like you got to know about web design while running the Internet Cafe? Or do you have some related exposure?
Nitin: No. I didn’t know anything about web design, in fact, I hadn’t even completed my college education completely. It’s a long story, to cut it short – just know that somehow I discovered that there is something called “web design”. I made a call to my friends in Bangalore and told them that I want to move out and pursue web design. Back then, neither I nor any of my friends knew about web design, UI-UX, web and mobile apps, or anything of that sort. It’s just that I wanted to step out. And my friends said – ‘tu aa, dekh lenge’ (you come, we’ll do what needs to be done).
Me: Wow. The friendship genes!!
Nitin: Yes, I owe a lot to my friends. And my brother. Whatever I have achieved would have been impossible without their support. They have helped me a lot.
Me: Good to know, you had supportive people in your circle. So, what happened after you visited Bangalore?
Nitin: Nothing special. I and my friends found a suitable institute to pursue a web design course. My friends paid the institute fee. It was an 18 months course. I stayed with my relatives all this while in Yelahanka, they supported me in all ways possible. Luckily, I discovered a design opportunity while browsing Facebook, applied, and landed up a job in my first attempt itself. It was a small web designing company in Banashankari, Bengaluru.
Me: Nice, And what was the year?
Nitin: 2015 when I landed my first job.
Me: Badhiya! So, finally, the struggle days were over! How did you discover Codewave?
Nitin: You can say so, I was earning money, had a decent job. And the company was good too. But for some reason, I was not enjoying the work I was doing. Again, I wanted to change. It was barely 11 months into the job when one of my contacts from the design course days – called me up and asked for references for a web designer. This was ‘Walter’. And because we were good friends and spoke very candidly, I expressed my desire to change the job. He recommended applying for the web designer opportunity at Codewave.
Me: Cool. Am curious.. so how did you approach? What happened next?
Nitin: I applied for the job, and also sent my portfolio to Abhijith & Vidhya. I got a call back from Abhijith, followed by a telephonic round interview. They appeared happy with my answers and invited me for a proper interview at the office. My interview was scheduled for 13:30 on a Friday afternoon. I had taken a leave from my office. But there was some misconception on my end, because of which I thought the interview is at 10:30 in the morning and ended up at the venue 3 hours early.
Me: Oops.. bad. So, how did you spend the next three hours?
Nitin: I saw employees playing cricket, carrom in the morning, listening to loud music, people coming to office in casuals, and what not. It was a cultural shock because the culture at my last company was more of a pin-drop silence and here it was ‘all chaotic’. It didn’t appear to me that it’s an office. To be frank, I doubted – my first reaction was **slang** is this really an office, what sort of work would happen here, I got not-so-confident feeling, ‘anxious’ kind of feeling. But then I waited because Walter’s words were buzzing in my head. He had told me that “you’ll get to learn a lot here, esp in design. Work here is less like work, and more like fun. The struggle won’t feel like a struggle at all”.
Me: Amazing. Tell us about your interview, the questions asked…
Nitin: My interview started at 13:30 and went all the way to 20:00. There were several rounds. Again, with all the blessings I performed decently well in the interview. I was surprised by the type of questions that were asked during the interview and mostly I was awe-struck to see the conduct of the founders – Abhijith & Vidhya.
Me: 8 hours interviews are exhaustive!!
Nitin: Yes, and guess what, out of shyness, I had denied the lunch offer that Abhi had offered. I was like – who invites for the interview and asks to eat lunch? I didn’t know it was going to be an 8-hour long interview.
Me: Yeah! I too denied it when I was offered food during my interview. But thanks to Praveen, he forced me to eat a little. By the way, you mentioned being surprised about the type of questions. Could you recall any?
Nitin: Yeah. For example, one of the questions from Vidhya was – “what solutions would you propose for a patient on bed rest who can’t move and is feeling the pain?”
Me: Intriguing. Anyways, I for sure know that you got selected, haha. Did you get your expected salary?
Nitin: I did get a salary hike while joining. And within 3 months, I reached the salary that I had targeted initially.
Me: Are you saying, you got a hike in 3 months?
Nitin: As you would already know, there are regular peer-review and hike-cycles at Codewave. Hike cycles earlier used to be every three/four months, now it’s every 6 months. There was something unique about my first hike. In my peer-review, I got a “No” for the hike from the design lead – who was shaping all things design at Codewave, and despite that, I got a hike. This was because other peers in the team felt that I deserved a hike. In my three consecutive hike-cycle peer feedbacks, I got a ‘no’ from the lead. It made me nervous, and a bit upset-kinda-angry too. But that’s something I really like about Codewave, feedback is candid and it’s not about one boss deciding hikes, the team’s feedback is taken on many aspects technical & non-technical. It’s amazing.
Me: Yeah, I felt you when you said ‘nervous’. No matter how open, democratic, and transparent the culture is, if the lead is not happy – it does make you feel a little nervous, anxious, insecure about your future. Can I count this as a bad experience?
Nitin: Not a bad experience, but yes, it did make me feel nervous and angry. I discussed this with Walter. He suggested working on the feedback instead of being angry and feeling entitled. And it made sense. Every feedback, be it from Vidhya, Abhijith, Walter, Leads or other peers at Codewave, has helped me grow a lot in the last few years. ‘Vidhya’ is my mentor and she is the best product thinker that I have ever met. Vidhya helped me sharpen my thought process, Walter helped me understand the design nuances, and what no-body spots Abhi spots. Abhi’s feedback has helped me master the minor details of design.
Me: Again intriguing, so did you ever get a Yes from the team lead? Just curious.
Nitin: Yes. Thankfully, in the fourth hike cycle, I asked my review guide about who has given a ‘No’, and he said ‘no one’. I can’t put it in words how happy I was. I didn’t even ask about the hike amount, it made me so happy.
Me: I could feel it. Finally, the appreciation coming in. A sense of achievement.
Nitin: Yes, it was one of the happiest days.
Me: Great. Tell us about your journey as a UIUX designer at Codewave?
Nitin: I started as a beginner. As I shared earlier, what I learned at the institute in 18 months, and the projects I did at my first company didn’t really give me in-depth exposure to the design world. Here at Codewave, I got to learn a lot in terms of design thinking, user research, talking to clients, etcetera. The journey so far is truly amazing. I know I have my team’s support not just on the professional but personal front too. The friends I have earned at Codewave are my #1 achievement. Back in 2016, I joined as a UIUX designer and today I lead a team of designers. I guess that speaks for itself about my journey at Codewave.
Me: Yeah, and inspiring growth journey. It’s kind and humble of you that you are giving all the credits to the team and people who helped and supported you. But without your own intent and hard work, it’s not really possible to traverse a growth journey like yourself.
Thank you for taking out time for this interview. Means a lot.
Nitin: Haan chal na, formality band kar. (Stop it, no need for all these formalities)
That was all from this interview.
Hope there are certain takeaways for you from this interview.
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them in the comments.
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