Senior Software Engineer
My name is Kannan Ravindran and this is my first blog. I am full-stack developer, gamer and hiker from southern part of India. I graduated as a computer science engineer, just like millions of others who graduated with me. Why am i writing this blog and why should you read beyond this? This is just my personal experience and I have no intention in wasting your time.
Why did I choose computer science? No, computer science chose me. It all started in gaming. Every mad and crazy gamer I knew is a techie today in someway. Probably that is one the easiest and fun way. The deep interest in gaming started pivoting. One led to the other from gaming to hacking. I was quite interested in cyber security and have done some contribution to null open security as well. In hacking, I learned that “To break the rules, You need to know the rules”. That made me a full stack developer.
There used to be a time when I was forced by my parents to do what most of the neighbors, friends and relatives are doing with their life. Thats the strategy Indian parents believe in. Following the same path and have a better job/salary, get married, have kids, buy house and make their kids do the same is the best scenario. My parents have done the best they could do to me. I would not even be close to this situation without my parent’s support and encouragement. I took the same path for quite sometime following the average. I tried IIT-JEE but was not involved enough to get into it (psst. Of course no good rank). I was not satisfied with what I learned in my undergraduate and wanted to explore more. I tried to light a startup with a few of my friends. Unfortunately, that too failed before we could even start. With zero work experience, I came to do my masters in United States right after I graduated. Again following the average. What I could see in most of the students was the hunt to choose the course that would get them an internship. The job that would get them good pay. Of course, those are the far most important part of getting a job and paying back the loan. But I wasn’t prepared to take that step. I was rather scared that, that path would limit me from my dreams. I could be absolutely wrong but most of the times my intuition is right. All those thoughts on one side, I went ahead with my internship hunt. Just like before following the average. This time even the average didn’t consider me. I was not able to find myself an internship. More than that watching everyone getting a job made me feel like a car that broke down even before the race began. Not getting an internship is not the end of the world but thats end of one chance to land a full-time. The average crowd was averagely successful in achieving what they wanted to. Even though I followed the average I wasn’t able to achieve it. Not this time, never before.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
— Albert Einstein
I realized why should I follow the average to be successful. Who defines success?. What if I am rocket? I don’t have to prove by winning a car race. That’s when something amazing happened. A chance to follow my dreams again.
In early 2016, I was fortunate enough to form an amazing team for a nationwide Hackathon. I met a few really good developers there. We put together couple of great ideas and strategies which made us win the hackathon. I got a couple of contacts through that victory. During the summer of 2016, I met an alumnus(one of the contacts) from the same university I was studying who had amazing skills in sales and marketing as well as technical knowledge. He brought up the idea of startup again. That was a light at the end of the cave to my dreams. We joined and co-founded a start-up. The perspective of how I saw my life totally changed. Why do we need to follow others? the answer is being on the safer side. Why do we need to be on the safer side? To prevent or at least reduce failure. But I have been the same way but the failure has never failed to find me. I decided why not just do what I like and not care about the safer side?
During the past year, I have learned more from the experience in my startup than the master’s course. I have worked countless hours without realizing if it was day or night. I didn’t feel like I was working. Every hour I spent was one step closer to making my startup a success. Even though the skill set of mine and the other co-founder are different, I have always been envious of him for his involvement and dedication. This continuously made me improve myself and increase my standards. He has been a great mentor to me. When I was being hit by so many hurdles and melancholy during the last year, I was able to face them, overcome them, and still growing strong. Overall, It was an amazing experience and I have no regrets. Even though I have my own responsibilities such as repaying the loan for my master’s degree and supporting my parents, none of those has even given me thought about quitting what I am doing right now.
You might be wondering if it is true that I was able to learn more than the master’s coursework. Well, It depends from person to person. I am the kind of person who learns by “DIY”. I started off with chatbots development. Jumped into Neural networks and machine learning. The necessity to create an entire product made me a full-stack developer. There were times when I was a backend developer, UI designer, and even a Data scientist. Also had some fantastic experience with augmented reality. This is the level of freedom I get. I can choose the path I want to learn. The feel of satisfaction cannot be matched by any salary. There has been mentions of the products I developed on “The Forbes” as well.
1 year 2 months have passed since the inception of my startup and we’re still growing strong. There are so many powerful people who are successful without founding a startup. Why did I do all these? Why do I have to choose the hard way? Because this gave me the adrenaline. Because this took me away just like the gaming did to me in my childhood. Because I stopped following the average and started resisting average.
In some instances, I had a responsibility to work on a technology such as UI design and 3D models that are totally irrelevant to the realm I specialize in. Though I had to learn by pestering my friends and horrible google searches, I did it. Why did I keep going knowing that is not what I do? For the greater good. What if not doing that becomes one of the reason my product to fail? “Never take chances in what you love” my inner voice said. That makes me stand out from the average. There are better programmers than me in the average crowd, but they are not me. Apart from just coding, I know whats important for the product and what not. I know the priority of features for the product and the sweet spot between the sophistication and usability. I know when to fix a bug and when to ignore and claim it as an undocumented feature. That makes me different from an average coder.
I have been working on an cryptocurrency web application. I built a trading bot last year and grew interests on this ever since. Blockchain the technology behind Bitcoin has tremendous applications which I am actively pursuing now. More updates on the next post.
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