Engineers Day 2022: Industry leaders talk about how engineering has evolved over time
Engineer’s Day is celebrated on 15th September in India to honour and pay tribute to Sir M Visvesvaraya, an Indian civil engineer and statesman, and Bharat Ratna awardee. Today, as we celebrate another year of acknowledgement and pride for the achievements accomplished by the engineering community, CXOToday spoke to few industry leaders about how the field of engineering has evolved over time and the innovation in line, skills that engineers need to possess today and their message to budding engineers.
“When I started my career journey, there were a limited number of women taking up STEM/ Engineering. I had to persuade my parents to let me pursue a career in STEM. However, it is extremely encouraging to note that the situation has vastly improved now from what it was a few years ago. With technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, cybersecurity, cloud computing etc. booming in India, it presents a plethora of opportunities for anyone and everyone to take up a career in engineering. When considering a career in technology, aspiring engineering graduates need both technical and soft skills. These include programming languages, technical writing, quality assurance, software skills, problem solving, decision making, passion for making a difference and a strong business and commercial acumen. They also need to be resilient and learn from prior experience, while embracing innovation, adapting and overcoming any challenges; they shouldn’t stop experimenting new methods due to fear of failure.
The cybersecurity industry requires engineers equipped with proper knowledge to detect and address new threats, risks and vulnerabilities emerging every day. They need to drive the growth and match the current and future requirements, something that can only be achieved through sourcing the candidates with the right skills and passion. At CrowdStrike, while hiring engineers/IT professionals, we look for several technical skills. Firstly, endpoint development capabilities where candidates can work on core application development for the CS end-point agent. Having a deep expertise in Kernel for Windows, Mac, and Linux kind of systems is an added advantage. Secondly, we look for cloud experience. We have a scalable cloud and engineers need to develop cloud microservices and infra, hence we look for the capabilities in that area. Thirdly, we look for Python developers for automation, content management systems, tooling etc. Lastly, we are always looking for threat and vulnerability researchers. Additionally, we look for UX designers, UI developers, technical writers, content engineers and product managers.”
-Jhilmil Kochar, Managing Director, CrowdStrike India
“It’s Engineers Day, which makes it the perfect time to celebrate all the Equinix data center Operations workers across the globe who demonstrate their commitment to ensuring all systems are up and running 24/7, whatever the circumstances. Before and during the dark days of the pandemic, they showed up on-site day-after-day in each of Equinix’s International Business ExchangeTM (IBX®) data centers to manage, maintain and update data center service equipment, provide Remote Hand Service for our customers and enable those who wanted to enter data centers to do so safely. Their unwavering dedication to keeping the lights on and businesses operating globally, enabling work from anywhere and keeping the economy rolling, is much respected.
Data centers play a critical role in today’s digital economy. The government of India has also classified data centers as critical infrastructures. As data centers take up critical role in upholding the digital economy, it has made it an exciting and rewarding place to develop a career. As the demand for increasingly sophisticated digital infrastructure continues to grow, so do the skills required to design, build and operate data centers. As a result, new roles will be created in step with emerging technologies and evolving trends in the industry. And one obvious trend is sustainability, which Equinix is highly committed to. Data center professionals need to embrace sustainability knowledge and skills beyond fundamental IT and engineering experience in order to advance their career.”
-Manoj Paul, Managing Director, Equinix India
“We celebrate 15th of September every year as Engineer’s Day. In this digital world, where new-age technologies are playing an integral role in our daily lives, the role of engineers has become more critical than ever. Every company today is heralded by digital technologies. For instance, a bank is now a technology company with a license to offer credit. In such a scenario, companies need to be extremely agile and go-to-market faster with their innovations. Hence, reskilling and upskilling of engineers is one of the key priorities of companies. Marc Andreessen once famously said that “Software is eating the world”. This is possible only because of the talent and hard work of engineers.”
Happy Engineer’s Day to all of you!
–Lakshmi Mittra, VP & Head, Clover Academy
“Engineering has always been a dynamic field. Advances in the way artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, and cloud technologies are used has set the technology sector on an upward trajectory. This in turn has given rise to ample opportunities to create and innovate. As companies across the board step up investments in IT infrastructure, having the right engineering talent is the lifeblood of any technology company. To keep pace with the highly dynamic nature of the field, engineers need to continuously upskill as well.
To build a successful career, engineers need to develop systematic and analytical thinking along with programming and design skills to be able to solve complex challenges. As the role of AI and machine learning (ML) continues to rise, the demand for engineers who are equipped in these areas will increase too. Communication is yet another skill that engineers must develop to be able to convey their ideas with clarity.
My message to budding engineers will be to embrace a growth mindset and act like an owner in your focus areas.”
–Anu Mangaly, Principal Engineer in storage, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud management, NetApp India
“Innovation and engineering go hand in hand. From global corporations to small businesses, national governments to local governments, the fruits of engineering-driven technological disruption are changing the way products and services are being created and delivered to end users across all industries. The role of engineering in organisations is not isolated in some silo but right front and centre when it comes to developing game-changing solutions by leveraging inter-disciplinary knowledge, collaboration, and communication with all stakeholders, as well as constant learning and ideation.
To be successful at their task, young engineers require both the rigour of academic research and the practical experience of solving problems through efficient system design and feedback loops for iterative development to accomplish their desired goals. Engineering teams need to think critically and with an open mind to gain an in-depth understanding of the domain in which they are working so as to come up with the right approach to efficiently execute the task at hand. It is not enough to simply gain technical skills to crack a given problem. Engineers also need various soft skills to communicate effectively, gain empathy for their stakeholders, and take ownership of their roles and the outcomes they face.”
-Akshat Jain – Co-founder and CTO, Cyware
“The world is transforming into a connected world, driven by technology. Even the Indian enterprises are making large investments in IT, which is changing the role of engineers. According to industry reports, the greatest sector of the Indian industry is engineering, with 27% of all the factories being employed by the engineering industry. As a result, the adoption of modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), 5G, edge computing, and many others have escalated and developed steadily in the Indian technological scene. This has led to a change in the industry’s skill set, and there is now a demand for experts with innovative talents. For the successful adoption of new-age technologies, it is now crucial for new-age engineers to continuously upskill themselves following industry demands. Also, according to industry experts, India is one of the major countries to add 65 million new jobs by 2025 because of digital technology.”
–Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris Communications
‘Technological advancement has accelerated the digital transformation across all sectors, it has highlighted the role of engineers in providing ease in our day to day lives. They work as a link between the social needs & the economic applications and hence, they are at the centre of digital revolution. As 5G roll out gets closer, the current scale and pace in the tech & telecom industry has increased by the adaptation of new technologies like AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, advance, edge computing and many more. This has led to a shift in skill requirements in the sector with a demand for professionals who are equipped with new-age skills. It has thus become essential for new age engineers to constantly upskill themselves according to the demand of sectors, for successful adaptation of new age technologies.’
–Anjali Mahajan, Regional Vice President at Amdocs:
“To deliver value to clients, employees, and the community at large, organizations must nurture an environment that encourages and cultivates fearless innovative thinking. Providing talent with opportunities to work with leading-edge technologies across platforms, building their domain acumen, and inculcating design thinking methodologies along with hands-on learning experiences is critical for creating a strong, upskilled workforce. We are proud of all our engineers who are making strides everyday with their client-centric mindset, collaborative attitude and combining next-gen technologies like data science, cloud computing, IOT, DevSecOps to deliver value with purposeful speed. Engineers Day is an opportunity for us to recognize the great work that engineers within and outside our organization have done to move the needle and propel us into the digital future. As we move forward, we must create an ecosystem where talent is empowered and inspired to make a difference.”
–Pankaj Sachdeva, Vice President, Data Science & Analytics, and Managing Director, India Innovation at Pitney Bowes:
”India has been spearheading the digital transformation movement because of the continuous and disruptive innovation that we have been developing and more importantly, for the amazing tech talent and skilled expertise we bring to the tech world. Today’s engineers are involved in end-to-end product development using technologies such as cloud, AI, ML, NLP etc. targeting global market segments and contributing to the Indian economy. In the last decade, the tech industry in India has greatly focussed on solving problems using technology across various verticals (B2C and B2B) such as ecommerce, fin-tech, ed-tech, business SaaS solutions and more! The next decade is going to be all about creating deep tech or foundational tech for the world. Several areas where India can lead are Web3 and AI where we use deep tech to resolve some of the barriers of blockchains, develop killer apps for Web3 with a tech-savvy young population, which means that the engineering sector in India will continue to have a significant positive influence on the Indian economy. As we move towards a period of rapid digital transformation, we look for engineers that have high learnability, passion for deep customer understanding and innovation while being creative, talented, and with an ability to work in fast-moving teams. To excel in today’s fast paced environment, aspiring technologists should possess very strong technical skills such as programming and an understanding of analytical tools to leverage AI and ML, as well as non-technical skills like business acumen, problem solving capabilities, influencing skill and other soft skills and a passion to innovate that will translate into success.”
–Sundar Balasubramanian, Vice President and Segment Leader, Small Business & Self-Employed Group, Intuit
“The Indian technology landscape has been consistently growing, upskilling, and leaping forward in terms of the adoption of newer technologies. However, while many challenges can be solved with the help of technology, some complex challenges require humanized approach than pure technological approach. Engineers have the ability to solve problems in a way that anyone in their day-to-day lives can apply. Most engineers use reverse engineering to solve problems by deconstructing things and identifying the issue, finding a solution for the issue, and then putting the object back. This way of thinking helps engineers solve even more significant problems at a country level.
According to NASSCOM, India’s contribution to the global Engineering Research And Development (ER&D) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12-13% to reach USD 63 billion by 2025. In this journey, India has emerged as a global powerhouse for ER&D, providing engineer support to the world. Additionally, the country has become an important market and source of engineering talent worldwide. All these elements have empowered the country in its digital journey and have made the nation a potent force for solving future challenges.”
-Shreeranganath Kulkarni, Chief Delivery Officer, Birlasoft
“Engineers Day is a perfect moment to commemorate the many engineers who helped build modern India. We honor women such as A. Lalitha, India’s first female engineer, and Rajyalakshmi, India’s first telecommunications engineer. We also recognize the likes of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s leading space researcher who later became India’s 11th President, and Sir M. Visvesvaraya, who revolutionized the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad.
From agriculture to space, medicine to nuclear engineering, disaster management to IT, engineers have helped build the foundation of digital India. Engineering companies like Godrej, TCS, L&T, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Kirloskars, and many others have also contributed to India’s growth. The tech industry, spearheaded by the growth of the IT industry, has helped build on top of this solid engineering lineage. By some estimates, the Indian tech industry has the potential to contribute over 25% of India’s GDP, almost US$ 1 trillion, over the next few years. The more than 4.5 million people in the tech sector and the rising demand for engineers will also be critical to the country’s growth.
We’re seeing skill set requirements change as technology and adoption evolve. For example, AI/Machine Learning skills spearhead the need for cloud, requiring data engineering and mobile technologies in various sectors, including BFSI, Retail, health tech, med tech, edutech, and many others. But the most significant transformation for the future of digital India is the new wave of entrepreneurs emerging in all of these industries. These entrepreneurs are building on the India stack (identity, payments, and data) and are ushering in the age of enterprise SaaS made in India for global markets. A new breed of entrepreneurs in India will define how far and how quickly India grows into a SaaS powerhouse and will bring equality, peace, and quality of life across the world’s largest democracy.”
–Monish Darda – Chief Technology Officer & Co-founder, Icertis
“Engineers are dreamers, inventors, creators and above all – problem solvers! Engineers are the backbone behind the sustainable development of society as we see it. The Indian engineering sector has played a crucial role in the industrial economy and has made the country self-reliant in many key areas. They have fostered diverse, multi-disciplinary collaboration by redefining engineering with smart business enablement and intelligent solutions to improve the way we live and work today. As we march ahead in the new normal, engineers remain the front players in developing innovative solutions that create a foundation for everyone to thrive in dynamic borderless workplaces driven by talent and technology.”
-Madhu Krishnapuram, Vice President of Engineering and Managing Director, India at GoTo
“In today’s world, it would be extremely difficult to find an avenue where engineering has not left its footprint. Engineering constitutes the largest share of the Indian industrial sector and its application spans from deep sea exploration to space travel and beyond. India is poised to lead from the front as we are on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Pega engineers have been at the forefront of this change, expanding their horizons, skillsets and knowledge while working on cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence, automation, and low- code, among others. Now, the role of engineers has become more critical than ever as we are at the centre of a global digital revolution. At Pega, we strive for continued learning and thus invest in the right infrastructure, technologies and tools to support our teams yield greater productivity and deliver better results.
On this Engineer’s Day, I salute our talented engineers who have contributed significantly and made a difference to the organisation as well as the nation as a whole.”
-Deepak Visweswaraiah, Vice President, Platform Engineering, and Site Managing Director, Pegasystems, India
“The engineering landscape is always adapting and evolving as new technologies become available. The dynamic business environment coupled with today’s customer needs have reinforced the importance of innovation as a key enabler to add value in this sector.
At Axis, innovation is at the forefront of technology that helps us in providing world class products and solutions which are built for meeting the challenges of tomorrow. We are a people-centric organization, and we believe in creating an environment of collaboration and opportunities for engineers who are the innovators of tomorrow. We provide comprehensive programs and trainings that enables our engineers to thrive on innovation and build leading designs in an efficient and smarter way.”
–Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India and SAARC
“As we observe Engineer’s Day today, commemorating the great achievements of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, it is also a great opportunity for all of us to remind ourselves of the accomplishments of our engineers that has placed India on the global map, in the recent years.
India is the one of the largest producers of Engineers and Researchers. Not only have our educational institutions set global benchmarks, our engineers are now renowned world leaders in a variety of industries. Major multinational companies are turning to India and investing heavily in the research facilities and tying up with our engineers for building their next gen products and services.
‘Aarogya Setu’- world’s fastest growing mobile application, Global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, UPI(Unified payments Interface): the world’s largest real-time payment system, OLA – world’s largest e-scooter factory that makes an Electronic Vehicle every two seconds are just a few of the many milestones in India’s scientific and technological achievements.
As Henry Petroski said “Science is about knowing; engineering is about doing”; from space explorations, nuclear and defence technology, to inventions that have improved everyday life, our engineers are playing a crucial role in turning our nation’s dreams into a reality.”
-Purna Mehta, Manager Software Engineering
“A nation’s development can be traced back to its leadership in technology and innovation. The engineering landscape in India has gone through a massive transformation with engineers evolving to becoming key business enablers. Today, India is the hotbed for product engineering and product design in the world – thanks to the novel ideas and smarter products being borne out of the country.
Engineering community in India is paving the way through innovations, ready to thrive in a competitive environment and be at par with the industry requirements. As our economy rapidly accelerates towards digitalization, the role of engineers is only going to become more vital with time.
At Commvault, we believe that the process of continuous learning not only feeds a business’ bottom line but also fosters an environment that inspires creativity and innovation. We continue to inspire and unleash creativity among our Vaulters through various initiatives such as Hackathons, Mentoring Circles, Junior Vaulter Challenge and many more.
Engineers have the power to set the course of our digital future, and We, as an organization; as a community; as an economy, must provide them a strong foundation to unlock their true potential and thrive.”
-Ramesh Kalanje, Vice President, Center of Excellence, Commvault
“It is an oft repeated truism that technology now drives the world and that there’s no better time to be an engineer. But from the vantage point of my two decades of experience, I can safely say that there hasn’t been a better time (yet) to be a woman in Technology. Or for that matter, someone from diverse segments.
First, the people make a difference. With Gen Z and millennials already forming a significant proportion of the workforce, they bring in a refreshingly equitable ethos. From being the rare woman on the technology team in my early days, I see the younger workforce taking for granted, and indeed expecting to be part of a diverse team that embraces multiple identities.
Second, the pandemic accelerated flexibility, and pushed companies to fully embrace the agility that technology provided workforces. So for young mothers, and increasingly fathers, who need to take a parenting break, or anybody who needs to take any kind of break or slowdown, there are options for part-time and remote work. They also no longer need to worry about skills becoming obsolete. Training is now available online.
Third, the exciting new technologies and the rapidly accelerating pace of growth make it a truly rewarding time to be an engineer. And technology is one of the many areas that benefit from diversity. So its acceptance and encouragement of diverse talent make it a far more welcoming space for people who embrace multiple identities of gender, ability, etc. I am at that point in my life where I can most fully, equally and unapologetically embrace my many identities as a technologist, a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, a mentor, a leader.
Nothing of course is idyllic or ideal, and there are many things to fix. But just as there is no perfect or immutable code, long as we continue to engineer solutions and make things a little better every day, the world is a slightly better place for that.”
-Sarada Vempati, Executive Vice President and Head of Enterprise Functions Technology, Wells Fargo India & Philippines
“In today’s day and age, technology is all around us, touching every aspect of our lives. Engineering stands as a strong pillar when it comes to creating these technologies providing the vital push for progress and development. To create better solutions to the problems we face in real-time, quality engineers strive to convert ideas into reality.
At Micro Focus, we have engineers spanning expertise across all segments, where they use their skills and experience to deliver the best of all technologies. From speeding up application delivery to strengthening cyber resilience to partnering with TCS Jaguar to help with Formula One analytics. Our engineers not only develop products but also ensure that they are long-lasting, guaranteeing compliance and implementing our commitment to transform systems into a low-carbon one, which provides a framework that works towards the commitment of behaving responsibly and sustainably across the entire business. We take this day as an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of engineers to society.”
-Saurabh Saxena, country head of Micro Focus