Friday, October 29, 2010

My Interview for HPS Honeywell Newsletter!

FullName: Karthik Giridharan
Nickname: Kart
DOB: March 27th, 1982
Areas of expertise: Application programming, Turbine control
Total Years of Experience: 7 years 4 months
No. of years in Honeywell: 7 years 4 months
Qualification: BE (ECE) at GCT, Coimbatore
Role @ HTS: Team lead for Turbine control

Interviewer: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself - your education, interests, past work experiences?
Kart: I was born in Salem, Tamil Nadu and did my schooling there. I did my engineering degree at GCT, Coimbatore and got into Honeywell through campus recruitment.
As far as my hobbies, I like sports a lot, particularly cricket. I spend my weekends mostly at my sister’s house @ Koramangala, playing Wii game with my sister and brother-in-law. I also play chess, when ever I get time. Apart from sports, I like travelling a lot and I also write blogs whenever I get time

Interviewer: So, when you were at school, did you play all the time and ignored studies?
Kart: Ha Ha… during my school days, I was good at studies and for some reason, I used to be very particular about getting 1st rank– I would attribute that to my grand father, who used to sit beside me during exams and motivate me to study.

Interviewer: What would you say makes you uniquely qualified for your line of work?
Kart: Generally, my strength, if I have to pick one, is my ability to adapt and learn new things at a faster pace. I always like to take-up challenging roles and responsibilities, from which I derive a lot of satisfaction.
Although I am from electronics background, I used to participate and win a lot of algorithm and coding contests during my college days. Probably that helped me a lot during the initial days of my career.

Interviewer: What is a typical day at work like?
Kart: Of late, I start my day with a game of shuttle early in the morning but the difficult part is to wake my friends early in the morning and make them play. :-)
I start my office work by attending the stand up meeting- In Turbine Controller project we had been following this practise for last 2-3 years. Then I check mails and schedule/ attend technical discussions to address critical issues. After that, I take-up regular planned tasks. In the late evenings, I attend telecons with Ft Washington team.
Sometimes, if go home early, I cook and make my friends eat it. :-)

Interviewer: What Advice would you like to offer to people wanting to go into this field?
Kart: Focus on long term goals - We normally work towards meeting short term commitments and loose focus on our log term objectives. One’s day-today work, ideally, should also be aligned towards that. For instance, if one wants to become an expert in a particular area, one must set incremental goals towards achieving it – It could be as small as reading a new article on that technology everyday.

Interviewer: What difficulties do you face in your job as a Team lead?
Kart: Within HTS we now have cross development locations such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Madurai. Managing cross location and cross functional work is quite challenging. Sometimes, it’s hard to know and understand the issues that the other locations are facing. I now understand what difficulties US or Australian teams would have faced when they were bringing up teams in Bangalore.

Interviewer: What does the future hold for you - any exciting plans, developments?
Kart: I love teaching and I would want to retire early and build a school. Even now, I teach children whenever I get an opportunity. I had taken classes in colleges such as CMRIT, Bangalore and GCT, Bangalore as part of community service programs. Even in Ft Washington, as a part of Honeywell community service program, I took up classes for US school children.

Interviewer: How hard is it to start a holiday?
Kart: I like un-planned adhoc bike trips over planned vacations – the uncertainty makes the trip even more interesting. When I used to stay with my school friends, at midnight, we used to drive all the way to airport or Hosur in bike, have a cup of tea and then come back. I enjoy riding bikes in the nights, when the roads are calm with lesser traffic. I have had several adhoc bike trips around Bangalore.

Interviewer: Tell us about your childhood, dreams disappointments?
Kart: When I was a kid, choosing the field of ‘Engineering’ was a simple and an obvious choice for me. I wasn’t so good at drawing, so it was easy for me to rule out the option of medicine and other biology related fields. I was good at Maths and logical reasoning and not so good at mugging-up things. I took up engineering course, thinking that Engineering is all about Maths and logical reasoning, so that I don’t have to mug up. But even in Engineering, I ended up mugging up quite a lot things to clear my exams. :-)

Interviewer: Who or What are the influences that inspire you the most in your work?
Kart: My grand father is a great source of inspiration for me. He reached one of the top positions in the Agriculture department (Joint Director), yet he was humble, honest and simple. I don’t think I am quite there yet and there’s a lot to learn from him.

Interviewer: In your experience, what is the best philosophy you have found to live by?
Kart: Steve Jobs quote from his speech to Stanford University students “Stay hungry, Stay foolish” inspires me a lot whenever I feel proud that I have achieved something, or when I feel down.

Interviewer: What is the one thing that your friends and colleagues might not know?
Kart: I am getting married soon! I waited this announcement for so long so that I could invite everyone through this newsletter. :-)
It’s an arranged marriage, but she was my junior in my college. She is also software engineer in an MNC in Bangalore with similar aspirations as that of mine, which is “to eat well and sleep well”. :-)

Rapid Fire
Role Model – My grandfather
What makes you happy – When I wake up in the morning and find out that it is a holiday.
What makes you upset – When Tendulkar gets out in the 90’s..
Your favourite Movie – Basic Instinct
Last read Novel - “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen – It is a girlish novel and my fiancĂ© had asked me to read it…so I have no other choice. :-) “Made in Japan” by Akio Morito (autobiography of founder of Sony) is one of the best books that I have read.
Your favourite sport – Cricket
Your hobbies – Sports, travelling, biking and writing blogs.
Most memorable moment in Life – I would like to pick two…
First, when I was selected by Honeywell during my third year of engineering – My last interview was over only at 12 midnight and I came to know about my candidature at night 1 O’ clock, when I was half asleep.
Second, when my nephew was born - It was a wonderful moment in my life.
Your message for our readers – Enjoy your life. Keep it simple. :-)

Note: The interview was also published in the Honeywell HPS Newsletter - HPS Happenings, which was released on Oct 29, 2010.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

US Top 10

I wanted to write this post for quite sometime - just to capture the 'moments of joy' during my 4 months stay in US & relive the experience by reading it again and again. :-) At last, I decided today is the day. Now the countdown begins...

1: 850 miles of driving to & fro Niagara, in a single day: (Feb 20, 2010 5 AM - Feb 21, 2010 2:30 AM)
It was nothing short of 'a dream come true' to drive all the way from Fort Washington to Niagara at a stetch, driving the car in 'cruise control', to watch the frozen Niagara lake & the semi-frozen falls & return back the same day. In fact, i didn't realize that I (& my car...which consume 40 gallons of gas!!!) had so much of stamina (?!), given that I woke-up at 3:30 AM in the morning to prepare Chapathi/Aloo with Anubhav/Pallavi & that I started driving cars in US only a few days back:-)). Without doubt it is the best moment of my US Trip.

2. Skiing in the Snow @ Spring Mountains: (Feb 12, 2010) - It was real fun to learn skiing- Thanks to Ed, who filled the boots of a trainer, and to try some of those stunts that i have seen only in the TV until then. If we were to play cricket, we would have easily formed a cricket team - We were 11 in number- Ed, Becky, Suresh, Arif, Badri, Padmini, Anubhav, Pallavi, Amit, Siva and I. We had good time while skiing & the best times were definitely when we watched others skii - we would have needed a three digit counter, if we had count the total number of times we fell down in the snow.

3. New year bash in Casablanca, Atlantic City: (Dec 31, 2009 - Jan 1, 2010) What more could I ask for a New Year Party? Electryfing crowd, dazzling dance hall with colorful lights & huge screens, amazing food, a VIP room in a 5 Star Casino Resort and more importanlty, my best friend Dilip & his friends around me!! Wow...that was the day!! I tried a lot of things that day - dancing ( it as 'shaking my legs' :-)), swimming in an indoor pool, experienced a high-end Spa, tried my luck gambling (& winning 5 dollars!!), ...

4. Teaching kids in Wissahickon middle school on Engineer's Day: (Feb 18, 2010 - 7:30 AM to 2 PM- back to back 5 classes) -
Team: Mike, Ed, Bob, Paul, Usha, David, Denise & Kart. It was wonderful experience to teach kids on how to construct batteries, small motors and a few cirucits on their own to demonstrate the power of Engineering & Science. I had a memorable day answering interesting and sometimes funny questions from the kids.

5. Different Cusines: I enjoyed trying different cusines, which includes Mexican (Tacobell, Baja Fresh), Arabian (Pita), Mangolaian (BD Chain), Japanese (Sushi), Malaysian (Rasa Sayang), Singaporian, Indian (Chettiand Restaurant, Palace of Asia), Thai, Chinese, Finesse (at Ollie's house), Italian & in a few English-American type restaurants such as IHOP, Burger King, MacD, Friendies, Subway, etc., during my stay in US and some were delicious and some were not so. The choice for vegeterians are limited but neverthless you could get a feel of it. I would want to write a separate review on different cusines some day.

6. Weekend trips: Except for the initial few weeks at the start of my US trip, I was a busy traveller. I had good time travelling to new places every weekend. Some of the memorable trips include - DC trip, NJ trip with my school friends, Pen's Cave, Poconos Mountains, Philly sight seeing, Delaware Shopping, New Hope Village, etc.,
7. Driving differnt cars & driving in the snow storm: I got a chance to drive a different car almost every two weeks, sometime every week. The cars that I drove include Chrysler, Ford Focus, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Nitro SUV, Kia Forte, Hundai Santa Fe SUV and a few more to come... It is real fun to drive in a snow clad road - the thrill of driving in the slippery roads is exhillarating. I grabbed the GPS from my school friend Suresh, after that it was all fun- Driving all the way, getting lost & then managing to come back home using GPS. It was so nice of Arif, Anubhav & Pallavi, who accompanied me during most of such adhoc trips.

8. Walking on top of a frozen lake: Walking on top of a frozen lake, in front of a secluded DC monument was a mind blowing experience. We didn't know the depth of the lake - it was already pretty dark, hardly any people around us, none of us know if the ice would crack & the last thing we wanted to do in the cold was to get drowned in a icy lake or pond. Amit was the one who started & soon, Shilpa, Badri, Padmini & I joined the party.

9. Free Books & Movies: The two things I would miss when I come back to India are - Free library and High speed broadband. Ever since I got my US DL, I became the member of a library - I read a few interesting books, not many as i hardly find time, such as 'Body for Life', 'The myth of multi-tasking', etc., and quite a few documentatry filims. I also enjoyed watching a few online movies from the net, when ever i get time, to keep myself refreshed in the midst of my busy office work.

10 a. Ice Fishing: It was something that i never heard of before until my visit to Poconos- people here drill holes in a frozen lake and catch fish using spinning rods in those holes. This would have been on the top of my list, had we caught at least a fish that day :-)

10 b. Watching ISS in the naked eye: I had a chance to watch International Space Station (ISS), the largest artificial satellite, in the naked eye - Thanks to Ben & Charlie. If anyone of you are intersted at 'sky watching', all you need to do is - to key- in the latitude & longitude in the site - to find out the exact time at which the ISS cross the horizon in your location.
A few of the other memorable moments include - 'watching Avatar movie in IMAX', parties in Best Western with Honeywell folks, standing before Best Buy at 2 AM on Thanks giving day, my Driving School experience, and the list continues.,
"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." is a quote from the poem 'Grecian Urn' by John Keats. Did I mean that sweeter melodies are still lying with me...:-)