sharan interview

Candid Conversation With Sharan Gatsby Kumar!

“..after finishing my engineering degree, I had no idea about what I’m supposed to do, or what I was…”.

Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark.

In this blog, we’re going to share the excerpts from a candid conversation with the shining Gatsby star at Codewave- Sharan Kumar M! (fireworks) (WooHooo!) 

I’ve personally seen him transitioning from Keystone to Angular to WordPress to finally React based GatsbyJs. And now, he is one of the leading senior Gatsby developers at Codewave

In this conversation, Sharan shares his valuable life experiences, the moments of doubt, overcoming them, gaining clarity about career, and of course, his experiences at Codewave.

Me: So, was this something you always looked for? A career as a frontend developer?

Sharan: No. In fact, after finishing my engineering degree, I had no idea about what I’m supposed to do, or what I wanted to do.

Me: Wow! That’s brilliant  And why was this, if I may ask?

Sharan: Long story! Let’s not get into that.

Me: What did you do after engineering?

Sharan: Nothing. I didn’t know what work to do. So, I took a year off, travelled to a lot of places, and enjoyed life to its full on Dad’s money, hahaa.

Me: Cool. Purposefully took some time off or you were looking for work.

Sharan: No. I was not looking for any job opportunities, just travelled without any plans. It all happened naturally. My friend circle happens to be travel addicts!

Me: Great! So, then how did you land your first job?

Sharan: A friend of my brother had a startup, they were into Drone based services. I interviewed there and got selected. Actually, I was the first employee in that organisation.

Me: Oh! Superb. So, were you developing drone software there?

Sharan: Kind of! Drone startups had finally started to take off in 2017. As it was an early stage startup, I often had to wear multiple hats but mostly my role was that of an embedded systems engineer. It involved working with microprocessors, building 3D models, and similar things. 

Me: Sounds interesting! And I guess, your next company was Codewave in 2018? I remember you had joined a few days earlier than me.

Sharan: Yes, I joined before you did.

Me: How did you land an interview at Codewave? Linkedin?

Sharan: No. My cousin was working at Codewave. He recommended me to Codewave, as I was looking to transition to a new job.

Me: Okay! Referral. How was the interview process?

Sharan: I interviewed for an intern role, because it was a fairly new domain in terms of the tech stack we use and to be honest, I had not much expertise with web/mobile programming back then. So, I somehow knew this was going to be a great experience and I signed up for the web programming voyage at Codewave!

Me: Cool. So, the interview was all breezy for you?

Sharan: Yes, I was joining as an intern. So…

Me: So, after joining did you ever feel insecure about your job as you had ventured into something new?

Sharan: Not really! In the initial two weeks, you can say I was scared a little thinking whether I’ll be able to successfully learn web programming, fit into the mindset, and all. But there was extensive support coming in from Purushottam, under whose guidance I was learning Bootstrap & KeystoneJs. Also, my brother was helping me a lot. But I had this mindset that “If you keep doing something repetitively, you’ll end up learning it”. And that’s what my methodology was to adapt to the new programming languages. After 3 weeks, I was put on a healthcare project using keystoneJs. From there on, I had never felt insecure about my job. Team support and collaboration automatically lifts you up. You would have experienced that as well. Right?

Me: Yes, in fact, my first project was with you and I remember the support coming in from you, Purushottama and Nitin Ganjigatti. As you said, the team lifts you up!

Me: I was talking to a new Codewaver yesterday, and he said the work culture at Codewave surprised him, in all good ways. Were you surprised by the work culture at Codewave, when you joined?

Sharan : Yes, the culture here was indeed surprising. I had friends working in IT who would tell me about workplace horror stories and all. So, my expectations were quite similar to that. But it was completely different here. No hierarchy, no micromanagement, good work-life balance, flexible timings, ongoing feedback and support, regular hikes, food of course, and such amazing colleagues including the founders. People were playing at work, taking a nap, walking in at 2PM to start their day, finishing their work early and leaving early.

Me: Yeah! Work amenities. Great, so, how did you become a Gatsby developer?

Sharan: My first big project was an EdTech startup website, and we were a team of 6 developers working on it. So, from there on I had been a regular on Gatsby projects including some Karnataka govt. projects. We also had to pull a few all nighters, and it was such an amazing experience, working with the team all night to build something up. Truly revitalizing!

Me: I never got to pull an all-nighter. But yeah, I remember the day when Praveen (our lead) sat next to me because I was facing challenges. And we worked together to overcome all the challenges. It does feel great, to hack solutions. Coding is a good dopamine booster, especially when you solve a bug! 

Sharan: Agree.

Me: So, what would you suggest for someone who is looking to learn Gatsby?

Sharan: The docs. They are brilliant. Nothing else is needed.

Me: And what sort of projects should Gatsby be used in?

Sharan: I think, promotional marketing websites, eCommerce, news, and b2b platforms can use Gatsby to build fast and engaging websites.

Me: Interesting. Would you like to give any message to new Codewavers and the existing ones?

Sharan: To new members, I would say, don’t hesitate in asking for help at all. As a newbie, we tend to feel shy but if you have done your honest research and are still struggling with the problem then it makes sense to ask from a senior or even a junior if their intervention could potentially solve it. And to existing members, I’ll just say, please continue being as awesome as you already are.

Great. That sounds like a very basic, obvious tip but it’s a gem! As you said, many of us make this mistake of not asking for help. Cool. It was great talking with you. 

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