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Life At Veritas Interview with Abhijeet Chitriv: Innovating and Developing World Class Products

Hello VOX Readers, Happy New Year! I hope all is well with everyone and you had a nice festive break. Before the Christmas break, I caught up with Neelakandan Panchaksharam. Did you read his interview? Today I’d like to introduce my latest #LifeAtVeritas employee interview with Abhijeet Chitriv, Director, Development based in our Pune, India office. During the interview, he shares insights into his 18-year tenure at Veritas, how he builds successful teams, and his passions outside of work. Read Abhijeet’s interview below.

Meet Abhijeet ChitrivMeet Abhijeet ChitrivZoe: Welcome Abhijeet, thank you for agreeing to participate in the #LifeAtVeritas blog series. What made you choose a career in IT?
Abhijeet: Thank you, Zoe. It’s a pleasure to share my life at Veritas which is a dream company for me and many others when I joined in 2002. There were very few product-based companies in India offering to work on core computer technology and Unix, which I liked the most.

As a student, I was interested in physics and mathematics, as I grew up, I developed an interest in electronics and computers. During my Bachelor of Engineering and later in my Master’s in Engineering I got to the next level doing programming in assembly language, developing assemblers and device drivers. With my experimentation in computer software, hardware and electronics, many a time I had to format my computer and tripped my home circuit breakers. Over the years, I became good at finding faults more than building something constructive. Finally, after working as a developer in a couple of organisations, I found the role as a Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Engineer at Veritas that suited my character.

Zoe: Can you share a summary of a day in the life of a Quality Assurance Engineer? Do you hold any patents? Have you invented things for Veritas?
Abhijeet: Quality Assurance is all about ensuring nothing gets unnoticed. I always say, with security and testing no matter how much you do it’s never going to be enough. The key is to have that third-eye to continuously lookout for new ways to test the product and automate what once tested manually. With the 3-2-1 rule, every two weeks (sprint), we work closely with at least three customers demonstrating what we are building and incorporate their feedback into product development and testing. We have a fantastic team that challenges each other and celebrate when one uncovers a critical issue. Creative thinking and innovation are at the centre of everything we do and apply even during our day-to-day work bringing efficiency, optimisation, and solving complex customer challenges in the simplest possible way.

As an engineer in the early days, I recognised a need for a simple automation framework. I developed it with a unique concept that I tried patenting. Unfortunately, it didn’t get through as I made a public disclosure during a global conference before filing the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF).

Zoe: Abhijeet, what career advice would you give to those trying to secure their first IT role? Are you recruiting at the moment?
Abhijeet: If you are the one who likes learning, doing something new every day, and willing to push your limit, IT is one of the fields that can offer various roles to fulfill your desire. And it’s only going to increase as the world evolves with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and internet of things (IoT) from self-driving cars to solving even more complex problems with quantum computing.

We are seeing exponential data growth and a critical role for Veritas to protect customers’ most valuable asset; data. If all this makes you excited then we have a role for you, we are always on the lookout for passionate and talented individuals who drive change.

Zoe: In your opinion what leadership traits make a good leader? And what’s your leadership style?
Abhijeet: Leadership is all about having a clear vision that doesn’t yet exist and articulating that cause and purpose which inspires people to follow what you believe and join the journey to figure out in their ways to advance that vision, so it becomes real. In my opinion, the critical distinguishing leadership qualities that make a “great” leader are empathy and perspective, and I tend to follow these in my leadership role both professionally and personally.

I believe people are the main thing that builds culture, so providing them with an environment they can to do their best every day is the key to success. I believe if I can see things as the other person does, then it’s much easier to come up with a solution that the other person is invested in. If I behave and make decisions based on empathy, then things will change for the good, resulting in win-win situations.

Perspective is another critical attribute. In today’s world, leaders are racing to be number one. They are obsessed with their competitors, not with where they want to go. Instead, compete against yourself, and improve on yesterday’s experiences. Obsess with why you do what you do, who you are, and where you want to go. Having that perspective will guide you through the ups and downs in life.

Abhijeet with his wife and son enjoying family timeAbhijeet with his wife and son enjoying family time Zoe: To some extent, we have been influenced by others in our personal and work lives. Who are your role models and influencers? And why?
Abhijeet: I had an opportunity to work and learn from some of the great leaders at Veritas. They are a significant part of me in becoming a Director of Engineering from being an SQA Engineer when I first joined Veritas.

I am fond of audiobooks these allow me to listen and learn from many influential leaders across the world. The top ones who have influenced me the most are; Steven Covey with his 7-Habits of Highly Effective People, Jack Welch with his Winning, and the one I keep listening to these days is Simon Sinek. Listening to them provides me with different perspectives and inspires me in solving more significant and complex problems.

Zoe: How do you define success? And how do you build successful teams across your region?
Abhijeet: I define success in a broader sense and not just limited to success at work. I believe success is when one balances both professional and personal lives and achieving goals.

I apply the same philosophy while working with my team. Building successful teams starts with hiring tough and providing them with the environment and opportunities to execute on their strengths and excel. I coach and lead by example. I give the air cover they need to go out of their comfort zone and take shared responsibility for the outcome. I make hard decisions when necessary and always strive to hire a more competent person when someone leaves. Over the years, these principles have helped me build high performing, successful teams across the regions and develop new leaders within the organisation.

Zoe: Abhijeet, what motivates you? And how do you motivate remote teams across India? Especially in these uncertain times.
Abhijeet: It’s the people, technology, and the culture of Veritas! When I joined in 2002, this was my third company within five years, and I never thought I would stay this long, but here I am :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:. From the outside, it may seem just a data protection company. However, it has a spectrum like other world-class companies that touches every operating system, every application, and database, every technology whether that is virtualization, cloud, and Kubernetes. There is so much for everyone to look forward to and make a difference. With clear alignment on how everyone’s work directly contributes to the company and millions of customers’ successes, each one takes pride in doing what they do.

Zoe: Abhijeet, why should people choose to work at Veritas? Are you recruiting staff at the moment?
Abhijeet: Veritas offers opportunities to work across many technologies ranging from DevOps, multi-cloud, AI, ML, IoT to some of the core engineering work like working on filesystem kernel drive. Veritas collaborates with almost all key technology companies in the areas of storage, operating systems, virtualization, hyper-converged, and cloud, which allows putting our hands on all the latest and greatest software and appliances out there. It has an excellent innovation and patent programme and a culture of innovation. We have a strong partnership with some of the top institutes and universities in India to hire directly, which makes the right mix of freshers to people ranging from 25-30 years of industry experience. Plus, one can work towards becoming a Vice President while working at Veritas.

Zoe: What’s your favourite Veritas solution or product?
Abhijeet: That’s a tough one. Over the past 18 years, I have switched and had an opportunity to work on multiple products, and I can tell you each have unique capabilities and are the best in class.

Zoe: Abhijeet, what do you like to do in your free time?Abhijeet with his familyAbhijeet with his family
Abhijeet: I enjoy listening to audiobooks, I play badminton and practise singing Indian classical, which I have been perusing for the last few years. I get engrossed while singing Indian Ragas. Listening and singing Indian classical to me is like meditating.

Zoe: Finally, what technology can’t you live without?
Abhijeet: It’s hard to believe how mobile has become the centre of everything that we do today – from watching cookery programmes to making an online payment. Mobile is truly a world at our fingertips, and I can’t imagine myself without it.

What a fascinating interview with Abhijeet, thank you for sharing your career experience, insights, and tips. At Veritas we are actively recruiting in our India office at the moment, so if you’re interested, then please do get in touch. Check out our job vacancies on LinkedIn and apply here.