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National Engineers Day – Engineering for the future

Dedication, commitment, and perseverance are some of the greatest qualities of engineering pioneer, Sir M Visvesvaraya, that continue to inspire generations till date. For new-age engineers too, these values are fundamental to achieving engineering excellence.

Engineers today are shaping the evolution of digital advancements with high-end and emerging technologies. Building highly scalable platforms on the cloud with ever increasing software applications in all spheres of our lives has become the new normal. The boundaries between the physical, digital and biological are shrinking. This has led to engineers solving larger and complex problems in the areas of event processing, data analytics and artificial intelligence by pushing the envelope towards hyper automation and personalization in real time.

Striving for Excellence

With data-driven product engineering, there has been great vigour in the advancement of software programs. Product engineers have become smarter in achieving excellence by implementing minimum viable product features and iteratively improving based on feedback. Today’s engineers have system-level awareness about the big picture on how applications are ideated, designed, developed, tested, and deployed at scale. Customer centricity is a top priority and hence continuous and incremental feedback on customer’s pain points is helping solve problems, while keeping a holistic end user experience in mind.

Continuous Innovation

Building a software and data-driven product by identifying common patterns with flexibility, configurability, and maintainability are at the center of an engineering mindset. Along with functional needs, providing highly reliable and scalable set of services on the cloud with high performance is key in present times. Also, with extensive data points one can predict and create future possibilities by evaluating feasibility ahead of time by measuring return on investment. Multi-tenant platforms and the challenges to keep them client-agnostic also needs innovative engineers to address varying needs, with ingenuities in design, resiliency, quality, privacy and security compliance that cut across multiple domains and verticals.

Agile Mindset

As technology is advancing at a rapid rate, it has become natural for product engineers to have quick turnaround time with high focus on automation. Seasoned product engineering setup involves various phases like ideation, architecture, design, services development, data processing, product testing, and technical support to produce most relevant features for the client needs in an incremental fashion with business value. Experimentation and test-driven development are paramount to being agile and having an incremental and iterative approach, even if it means failing often but succeeding sooner.

Becoming Future-ready Engineers

With the paradigm shift to Web 3.0, having a problem-solver mindset is essential for product engineers, with an ability to quickly adapt to changing needs, including taking well-crafted approaches to choosing the right architecture and design principles. There is a growing need for engineers to think critically with a learner’s mindset on design thinking, unlearning and relearning new methodologies, developing cross-cutting technical skills that span across disciplines.

The journey of transforming ideas into high-end products requires excellence at every step – from inception to architecture choices, design patterns to algorithms, and data structures. Building the right product is a given but building it in the right manner is equally crucial, and a good system design acumen is a must-have. Consistency, reusability, scalability and extensibility would be some of the key design principles required to meet evolving future needs. Right number of layers with suitable abstractions and loose coupling between services will help manage complexity with good performance.

Having a DevOps mindset instantly sets engineers apart as it provides a holistic viewpoint around product development. Being data-savvy continues to become more important for future engineers as data-driven decision making gets more ubiquitous. Having the experience of handling large-scale data with a strong expertise in tools that deal with data wrangling, analytics, SQL skills will be of advantage to thrive in the next wave of product evolution. To prepare for the next revolution of Web 3.0, one needs to build greater expertise in distributed computing, algorithms, artificial intelligence and VR/AR interactions to explore the upcoming frontiers of Blockchain, NFT and Metaverse.

Technological advancements are made possible by tremendous computing power, seamless connectivity, unlimited storage, and intelligent programs because of software engineering rigour. With technology advancements and its interactions with humans, machines and other entities, engineering has also evolved to be more pervasive and immersive in nature with digital technology. Engineers shall continue to build new tools with automation possibilities. This will accelerate the process of solving real-world problems, prepare us for solving future ones, and keep driving disruptive innovation.

(The author is Mr. Krishnaji Desai, Senior Director – Product Engineering, Epsilon India and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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