In the third edition of Life at SpotDraft, we got candid with Sharath Huddar, a technology enthusiast with a knack for problem-solving. He remarks on engineering as one of his finest and best life decisions. He graduated from Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology with a specialization in Information Science and Engineering.
For Sharath, habits, choices, and tendencies are crucial. For instance, getting time to unwind and taking ample breaks is a productivity hack that has worked for him. He feels that developing these skills is unavoidable in becoming the cream of the crop in one's field. Outside work, he loves reading books and playing cricket - Yes! He is an ardent fan of cricket.
So, in this story of Employee Spotlight, we dust off a write-up on how Sharath is on the high roads, solving engineering problems dipped in the legal tech landscape. Chime in to see more.
1. What role do you play at SpotDraft? Would you be able to walk us through it?
At SpotDraft, I am a Senior Software Engineer. Gathering product needs and coming up with solutions take most of my days.
Depending on bandwidth, I program or code to see required solutions in action, or I delegate the building out process to my teammates. In addition, I put in a lot of effort and time coaching and training Junior Software Engineers.
2. What was it like interning at Bosch for Machine Learning?
Interning at Bosch was an excellent educational experience. I was fortunate to get a great mentor who inspired me to take calculated risks.
As a member of the data science team, I had the opportunity to work on fascinating problems like identifying diabetic retinopathy. Further, I gained a lot of knowledge about machine learning that I was further able to leverage in my subsequent professional endeavors.
3. Tell us about your professional life before SpotDraft.
Before SpotDraft, I worked at places including Fyle and notNull. At notNull, we urged on building an event management platform which panned out well. Frankly, it afforded an incredible learning experience that I would embrace for the rest of my career.
My tenure was concrete and long at Fyle, as I spent three years with them. I had a chance to test the waters and find my strength. I initially tried Front-end Engineering but soon realized it wasn't my pie.
Also, I worked on a few Data Science and Machine Learning projects. It involved building data extraction pipelines and classification models. Later on, I moved to Backend Engineering. And alas, that was it.
“I keep myself up-to-date by religiously following my reading habits. Books or topics include technical architecture, career growth, and programming. My current reading material is a technical book titled "Software Engineering at Google." Honestly, books are enduring sources of knowledge.”
4. What technologies have you mastered, and how have your past experiences helped you in your current role?
Eager individuals will always find learning opportunities. I utilized Java and Python quite a bit while working as a back-end engineer. I often use the Django framework to solve issues and may be found developing rest APIs, working on database design, and other related things.
In my everyday role at SpotDraft, there are many times I apply my learnings from Fyle and notNull. While I am careful not to repeat my past mistakes, I am glad that I developed strong expertise in cloud computing and back-end engineering back then. Now, this helps a ton.
5. Why did you join the SpotDraft team? How was your interview experience?
A good friend of mine was working at SpotDraft. I spoke to the managers and founders and felt this is something incredible to pursue. Surprisingly, I made it through.
Besides, the interview experience was more than I expected. It was great interacting with a bunch of inspiring people. They are committed to what they do, and that encouraged me. I was hoping for the best as I was anticipating the opportunity to join a savvy and ambitious cohort.
Also, I joined SpotDraft primarily because of the chance to learn from my peers and the steep learning curve ingrained in it.
6. What steps do you take to avoid workplace mistakes in your current role?
Not working all the time is my mantra to succeed. There's no value in sprinting for a month and remaining burned out for the rest of the year. Setting boundaries and taking necessary breaks have worked for me very well.
In most cases, I prefer to let things wait until the morning unless it's a critical issue. Exercising and getting enough sleep have helped me keep myself not burnt out.
7. How did you come to be so passionate about technology?
As a college student, I was interested in web programming and the Internet of Things. I was always searching for opportunities to try out cutting-edge technology. On the other hand, right now, I'm outcome-focused. I choose specific technologies that make solving problems the easiest Sometimes answers are simple.
It is certainly my experience that has influenced this shift in mindset. Ultimately, it is all about how well your company performs and how your solution accentuates it. All the while, I was intrigued by coding and passionate about building new products.
8. Is there anything you like most about being an engineer?
The most alluring part about being an engineer is seeing things through completion, from ideation to the building phase. On the flip side, it's the mundane or repetitive work that I would least prefer or appreciate. So, if we consider three skills every engineer should possess, it depends on the environment in which he operates.
Firstly, if it's a fast-paced start-up or a scaling SaaS company, the price-worthy asset can be being able to prioritize high-leverage activities. Secondly, a product mindset and curiosity about the industry's problems will also be helpful to engineers. While designing something brand-new, knowing the outcome would help you make those teeny yet crucial technical decisions.
However, if you're part of a Fortune 500 company, interest and knowledge of a particular domain or technology will reap more benefits. Whatever path you're on, understanding leverage is key to growth. To know more about creating leverage, click here.
9. Give an example of a recent engineering problem you solved.
We use two data sources: an SQL database and an elastic search engine. Each data source serves a different purpose. The former is utilized as the primary source of truth and contains all the data. With the latter, we search contracts using particular attributes or user queries.
If we alter how we store data in the elastic search data source, we must periodically refresh the entire data source to match the contents of the SQL database. Since we now only employ a limited number of resources, the new solution requires less computing.
Also, I've worked on a few high-value projects at SpotDraft. It was for a free trial experience. We need to immediately load mock contracts into a user's workspace after they sign up. I solved an interesting puzzle here. This one is my most challenging engineering project to date.
“I enjoy playing cricket so much that I do it so frequently. I have always relished reading, and even now. Also, one of my favorite books is Rich Dad Poor Dad. It had a significant influence on my life. These were some of my interests growing up.”
10. Give us a glimpse into SpotDraft's culture.
At SpotDraft, you could work in a unique way where you contribute and do meaningful work while keeping yourself fit and healthy. The work-life balance is innate here. It's like you could perform solid work without debilitating and exhausting yourself.
SpotDraft's talent is rare and remarkable compared to other places. They come with different skill sets and backgrounds. They carry valuable experiences with them, and indeed it sets the quality of work to higher standards.
Additionally, I always turn to Abhishek at SpotDraft because of the wealth of information he provides. He is my go-to person at all times. I got the chance to connect with him, and we forged a genuine connection on the way.
11. What’s your team up to right now and how has it changed?
I had been part of SpotDraft for almost a year and a quarter. I had been working remotely for a very long time since I joined. But, recently, I started working on a hybrid model. The company has grown beyond ways. As of now, the Engineering team is expanding hugely.
Moreover, we're shipping out some peachy features. Assigned to was one of the elements I worked on, which was a simple but significant feature. These are some of the current projects I'm working on. Frankly, there are much more.
12. What is the best piece of advice you've received? Also, what do you suggest for success for those aspiring engineers?
My career has been a long and fun journey, both satisfying and fulfilling. During this phase, I interacted with many engineering leaders and got mentored by them, fortunately. Focusing on things with outsized outcomes has been the best piece of advice I have received.
Personally, for those budding engineers, I would highly recommend they hone their skills and concentrate on learning.
The Ending Note
From this dialogue, the power of technology is evident. We have seen how Sharath has been employing it to solve problems entrenched in a particular industry. To sum up, the following are Sharath's top five lessons from his past experiences and working at SpotDraft.
- Prioritizing high-leverage activities
- Setting boundaries and taking breaks
- Having a product mindset & an appetite for learning
- Focusing on outcomes and results
- Being curious about new challenges
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