From a Software engineer to an Entrepreneur
Story of Tapas Adhikary, a seasoned tech professional with 18 years of experience.
Table of contents
- Q 1. Could you please describe a typical day in your life?
- Q 2. Could you please describe your childhood years?
- Q 3. Can you describe your career trajectory after completing your secondary education?
- Q 4. Could you confirm whether you grew up in a town in West Bengal, India?
- Q 5. What is the name of the engineering college from which you graduated in 2004 with a degree in computer science?
- Q 6. How did you overcome the challenges of pursuing a computer science degree without access to experienced professors or abundant learning resources?
- Q 7. How did you successfully navigate the job search process after graduating from engineering school in a remote village with limited resources and connections?
- Q 8. How did you secure your first job after four months of searching, despite facing significant challenges such as limited job postings and high competition?
- Q 9. After four months of searching, what company did you eventually secure a job at?
- Q 10. How have the hiring process and the expectations that companies have of candidates changed in the past 20 years?
- Q 11. Can you provide a brief overview of your 20-year career journey, starting with your first job?
- Q 12. Let’s talk about something everybody wants to hear from you - Open Source. How did you discover Open Source and how has it impacted your life?
- Q 13. How would you persuade someone who is unaware of the advantages of open source and believes that contributing for free is not worthwhile?
- Q 14. How did you embark on your career as a technical writer, and what impact has it had on your professional and personal life? What is the current state of the technical writing market in 2023?
- Q 15. Please describe your journey and association with freeCodeCamp, including your transition from technical writer to content creator.
- Q 16. How did your content creation journey on Twitter happen?
- Q 17. Please elaborate on your motivation for starting your YouTube channel.
- Q 18. What do you feel has been your biggest asset in the past 18 years of your career in tech?
- Q 19. What would you say has been your greatest asset in your 18-year career in tech?
- Q 20. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out in tech, people with a few years of experience, and people who have been in tech for 6+ years?
- Q 21. Could you elaborate on your entrepreneurial journey? What inspired you to start your own company, and what are your long-term goals?
Tapas Adhikary shares with us his insights on the evolving tech landscape, the importance of open source contributions, his transition from technical writing to content creation, and his motivation for starting a YouTube channel. He also discusses the profound impact of human relationships on his career, the lessons he has learned from failures, and offers valuable advice for individuals at different career stages. Additionally, he provides a glimpse into his entrepreneurial venture and future goals.
Q 1. Could you please describe a typical day in your life?
T - Now, right now, it's a bit cool, I would say, because I don't go to any office. I sit at home and do things for myself. For those who don't know, I was working in a multinational company for 16+ years. I left my job in March 2022 and after that, I worked in Showwcase, another great startup, I would say. I worked there for 4 months as a content head and it was an amazing journey, even in the short period of time that I was there. And then I felt that what I wanted to do required full focus, so I left everything and started completely focusing on creating content on the education side.
So my ideal day is like this: I wake up, get my daughter ready for school, push myself to do exercise for half an hour, then have some breakfast, and start playing with my Mac, where I have a few strategies and things sketched out for my entire day. So I try to do that as much as possible and try to finish my day by 7:30-8 in the evening so that I have 3-4 hours of time to spend with my family. That's how it goes for me basically. I am always at home, so some days the push comes from my wife or my daughter during the day, who motivate me, and I am able to complete my work by 4-5 in the evening. So my days are much cooler right now as I don't have to report to anyone, no one is telling me what to do, and I do things whatever I feel will be good for me and the developer community.
Q 2. Could you please describe your childhood years?
T - My childhood was as normal as any other Indian kid. We are super pampered by our parents, and our parents decide most things for us. But a few things were different for me: I was in a joint family where all of my family members were involved in the business field as part of the inheritance, and not much towards study and education. So naturally, I was also molded in a way where I thought family business is something that I would be doing in the future. But my mother decided to send me to a nearby teacher's house where I used to spend most of my days and would hardly get 1 hour with my parents before I went to sleep. Initially, I used to feel very frustrated, and I did this till my Class 7.
Today, when I look back, I understand the value and the price that my parents paid to make me what I am today. Because when I passed Class 10, which is apparently a big milestone in the Indian education system, I was at that time the most educated person in my entire family. So looking back, I understand how right my mother's decision was. And when I realised the kind of sacrifices my parents made for me, I decided that I needed to make it up to them. I have to study well, I have to be serious and humble with my career, I have to be a person in whom people are not able to find some crazy faults. So basically, I tried to make myself as perfect as I could, and where I am today, my childhood played a big role in that.
Q 3. Can you describe your career trajectory after completing your secondary education?
T - So, being from a remote village, I didn’t really have much choice, to be honest. This was many years ago, approximately 25 years to be precise. In a village, you don’t have much choice. It’s all about following what others have done. You follow in their footsteps because you don’t have enough information or guidance. We didn’t even have the internet back then. But I am super grateful to all the teachers I had in my life, whom I trusted heavily. Their guidance has been very helpful to me.
After passing class 10, I really don’t know or remember how I got into science. Maybe one of my friends was taking science, and my marks qualified me for it, so I went ahead and took science too. In fact, my engineering story was quite similar. I was not sure what to do after class 12. In fact, for 1 year after my class 12, I did nothing practically. I didn’t do anything, neither applied for any exam nor joined any college. I was completely clueless about what to do, and there was nobody in my village who could really guide me about all the options I had ahead in life.
But the only thing I wanted to be in my life was a teacher. That was very clear right from the start. Maybe just become a teacher in my school where I was studying. This was my only goal. Then my friend told me about the Joint Entrance Exam applying to engineering and medical colleges. By this time, 1 year had already passed after my class 12, so I went and wrote the exam. Of course, I couldn’t clear the medical exam because I was very bad in biology, but I was good in mathematics and physics, so I cleared the engineering exam. That’s how I got into engineering and took up computer science as my major. So that is how my journey was. Sometimes it was a push by parents in childhood, then it was a push by friends that made me take certain decisions. And thankfully, they kind of worked out. Otherwise, I would definitely have been a teacher in my school.
Q 4. Could you confirm whether you grew up in a town in West Bengal, India?
T - Yes, it's a place called Ranaghat. It's no longer a village, but a town now. I currently live in Bangalore, but I visit Ranaghat at least twice a year. The last time I was there, some of the people I know from tech Twitter came to visit me at my home. That was really cool, as these people are very active on social media, so it was nice to meet them in person.
Q 5. What is the name of the engineering college from which you graduated in 2004 with a degree in computer science?
T - I passed out from an engineering college called JGC, a prestigious government college in India. My batch, the year I joined, was the first batch of computer science in my college. It was the year 2000 when I started my first year of engineering. To be honest, it's a great college, very established in departments of mechanical engineering and civil engineering.
However, in my branch, computer science, there was basically nobody to teach us because ours was the very first batch. So I had my own struggles in college during my 4 years of engineering. But I have seen that people who are from an engineering background, irrespective of the country they are from, know how to figure out things at the end of the day. So similarly, I also did my stuff to figure out things. My college was in Darjeeling, which is quite far away from my home, so I stayed in a hostel for my 4 years of engineering. This was the first time I moved out of my village and stayed alone.
Q 6. How did you overcome the challenges of pursuing a computer science degree without access to experienced professors or abundant learning resources?
T - So, my entire college life really taught me to be self-sufficient, and that is something that I am really proud of. Of course, if we had experienced professors, my life would have been a little bit different, as the moment I came out of college, I had to face a lot of difficulties. But what my college life gave me was the ability to be truly self-sufficient.
For example, if I had a computer networking chapter, my professors, with all due respect, could only teach us to a certain extent, and the rest was up to us to figure out. And again, when we were in our 2nd and 3rd year of engineering, we got LAN internet in our hostel. So before that, we did not have access to the internet until then, so we really did not have any other resources beyond the books that we had or the books that were there in our college library. So we took permission and set up the LAN internet in our hostel so that we could get access to resources from the web. I still remember that downloading just 1 image would take an hour - that used to be the internet speed back then. But still, there were things like computer networking and computer architecture that we had to learn a lot of by ourselves.
Those who are in college will know that there is always one smart person in the class, which we usually refer to as the topper, that you always go to. So we used to bank on a few people who were really good and who could give us some insight on how to look into things. And then after getting some ideas, we used to navigate on our own, do some research, and then kind of learn that topic. So for a very long time, I was very weak in understanding networking and DSA. These two subjects were a nightmare to me.
When I was in my final year of engineering, and I knew that the world out there is a bit cruel and I needed to get a job, I was more serious about how to grasp this subject networking. So I had a senior who was from electrical engineering, so I used to ask him all the basic level questions to practically understand how things worked and then come back and do my own research and learn further. So that's the struggle that we very much went through during our engineering career, so I always tried to be self-sufficient because in the end, it is only you who has to stand for yourself, and you cannot blame your college or your teachers. You can blame them to some extent, as we are paying fees for the education. I paid Rs 820 per year, which is like peanuts, so paying that much money and then having too many complaints is something I did not prefer doing. So I had to focus on making myself ready to the extent that I could get a job, and that's what I did in my final year of engineering. So basically, all the 4 years of study I did in the last year, where I actually understood all the critical subjects.
Q 7. How did you successfully navigate the job search process after graduating from engineering school in a remote village with limited resources and connections?
T - So we had campus placements, and in my college, we have six departments, and on average, we have 40-60 students in each department, so a total of 240 engineering students from my batch. Out of these 240, only 5 students got a job, yes, only 5 students got a job in TCS, and the rest of the folks - nobody got a job in campus placements. The college is in a far better situation today, where I hear that one person has 3-4 job offers in hand, and I envy them now. As in our case, only 5 people got placed, and the rest of us, you can imagine us like ants that are coming out of a hole. So yeah, we were coming out of the college like those ants and just trying to figure out what to do next, as we were completely clueless. The immediate thing I could do was to come back home, so I packed my bags and went back home. Being from a village, when you do engineering and that kind of stuff, at least in those days, you would be like the 1-2 engineers across many miles, so you have a different kind of respect. But you know deep inside that, okay, this respect is good, but I am still jobless. I still don't have a job. So I came back home and was trying to figure out what to do, how to navigate this, as there was no way that I could connect to any company, as I didn't know anybody in any company, so no interviews as well in my case.
I spent around 3-4 months at my home, and the only thing I remember doing during those 3-4 months is solving a lot of puzzles, as one of my seniors had told me that in the interviews, the first round is the analytical round, which needs to be cleared in order to qualify for further technical rounds. So I had confidence in myself about the technical rounds, but the analytical rounds I was not much aware of until then, so I did a lot of math and reasoning during that time.
Then some of my friends from different colleges, four of us, decided that nothing was going to happen here, so we booked the ticket, and I came to Bangalore. One of my relatives used to stay in Bangalore, so I contacted him and told him that we were coming to Bangalore and asked if he could give us shelter/stay for a few days until we searched for a job. So he arranged a shelter for us, and then we came to Bangalore and started our job hunting. So this is basically how my job hunting started. And back then, our confidence was sky high. The kind of confidence we had was that we would get down from the train in Bangalore, we'd freshen up, we'd go to an office, and we'd get a job. That was the level of confidence we had.
There used to be an office called ITPL park, that used to be the biggest park in Bangalore, so we used to think we'd get inside the ITPL park and we'll get a job. So this was the motive, and it was just shattered into pieces the very next day as soon as we reached Bangalore. We reached ITPL park and forgot about the meeting and giving an interview. We were not even allowed to enter by the security guard. But that's how you learn. Basically, you cannot expect things when you don't have experience. That's why I tell people when you can learn from someone's experience, please learn because that is how you accelerate your journey. But if you don't have anybody to learn from, you will have to learn things the hard way. So this is the same with learning any programming language also, right? So that is why as a content creator, we do this much hard work to teach some quality things. If you don't take it from the quality pieces, then you'd have to learn things the hard way. This is the same thing that we realized is with life at that time.
Q 8. How did you secure your first job after four months of searching, despite facing significant challenges such as limited job postings and high competition?
T - Eventually, I had to go through some struggle. I landed in Bangalore around July and got my first job in November after 4 months. It was almost 4 months of struggle, where my morning started by going to the tech park and trying to drop my resume somewhere. Back then, the only source of information we had for new job postings and interviews was Yahoo groups. This was in 2004-05, when Yahoo was pretty high.
I clearly remember that every day, I used to get up at 6 in the morning, and by the time we reached the office for an interview, there were about 300-400 people in the queue already present, aiming for that 1 position that they were hiring for. So, I used to reach there early in the morning, stand in the queue for most of the entire day, and then we used to give interviews at around 4-5 in the evening. Most of the time, after waiting for the whole day and then giving interviews, we used to get rejected in the first round itself. Sometimes, we would reach the technical round and then get rejected, and sometimes we would even reach the HR round and then receive no call back from the HR.
We never knew why we got rejected, because the HR and we had a good conversation about the job, the work we were going to do, the salary, everything, but then there was no response from their side after the interview. This exists even today, where it would be much better if the HR could directly tell or convey whether you are selected or rejected, rather than putting candidates in a dilemma and ghosting them afterwards. I appreciate those companies a lot which provide constructive feedback to the candidates after interviews.
Q 9. After four months of searching, what company did you eventually secure a job at?
T - There are situations where you feel like either you should completely give up or do something about it. I have felt this many times in life, whether it was during my engineering or my job search. During my job search, for 4 months, I was continuously giving interviews in the hope of getting a job. The good thing was that there was a lot of hiring happening because Bangalore was also getting set up at that time, due to the large amount of foreign investment and big companies starting to establish themselves in the city.
So there were plenty of interviews happening all the time. But somehow, it was the lack of preparation from my end or the lack of luck of not being at the right place at the right time for the right opportunity. So it took me 4 months to land my first offer. And then after giving many interviews in a span of 4 days, I had 5 offers. So, from having 0 offers for 4 months to now having 5 offers in 4 days, there is a company called Pero Systems (now merged with Dell) that I chose to join. I joined as an intern, and then after working for 2 months, I was made a full-time employee. I worked there for 2.5 years before I moved out.
Q 10. How have the hiring process and the expectations that companies have of candidates changed in the past 20 years?
T - I think the competition is what has changed now. Competition is huge today. Of course, as I told you, we had 300 people waiting every day for that 1 position, but still, it was not as crazy as it is today. Also, today companies have a lot more expectations from the candidates, and the candidates are also very competitive. Right from the first year of engineering, people are aiming to secure jobs, and this was not the case back then. People were not that serious about getting a job until they were in their 3-4th year, so things were a bit cooler back then. Also, I feel today's hiring process is much smarter than earlier. I tell this as I have worked for 12 years as an interviewer when I was in Micro Focus, so I have seen this entire shift happening. Where before we used to evaluate candidates based on both behavioral and technical aspects, today it has shifted more towards the technical side, like there needs to be code written during the interview or they are given a coding project/assignment which they need to submit back, and then there will be a scoring mechanism, and then candidates are compared.
Even comparing scores with the folks we have previously hired and knowing where exactly this person stands in the percentile of people already working in the company, and for instance, if he is 70% close to the person we have already hired, then he will get so and so compensation. So there are a lot of aspects that have completely changed, be it the mathematics of compensation, the mathematics of putting people on a project, the mathematics of hiring people has gone wild, which was not the case before.
Q 11. Can you provide a brief overview of your 20-year career journey, starting with your first job?
T - In November 2004, I started my first job at Pero Systems. Then in 2007, I joined a startup called Novell, which had their own operating system called NetWare, a competitor of Microsoft at the time. Novell was acquired by another company while I was there. When I joined Novell, it had 70 employees, but by the time it was acquired by Micro Focus, we had around 16,000 employees at Novell. I worked at Novell and all the future companies that acquired Novell for 16 years, where I grew from being an individual contributor to being a senior manager at the company. I left Novell in March 2022 and then joined Showwcase. I had already worked with Showwcase before as a consultant, but now I joined Showwcase full-time. I had a great experience there as well, but I spent around 4 months there and then after that started working independently.
Q 12. Let’s talk about something everybody wants to hear from you - Open Source. How did you discover Open Source and how has it impacted your life?
T - I came to know about open source in 2007 when I was working at Novell. At that time, Microsoft was booming with Windows and everything else, and it was proprietary. Novell, on the other hand, was a company completely opposite to that and was totally promoting open source. They had their own open-source operating system, and there was another open-source operating system called Suse. So, there was a lot of contribution from Novell to open source. I actually used to hear the word "open source" quite a lot in my life, but I never understood what it exactly was. Many of my colleagues used to write for journals like Linux for You, and they were considered kind of stars because they were writing for such prestigious magazines.
This further increased my interest, and I really wanted to know what open source actually is. But I never really contributed to any open source project for 5-6 years until 2013. It was in 2013 when I started using a web server called Jetty, which had some portion of the code which was open source and was causing some problems in our customer scenario. The customer raised the bug, so I went to Jetty and filed and reported an issue on the bug. I was told that it would take 6-7 months to solve, but the customers needed an immediate solution and were suggesting ways to solve it. But even their suggestions would take many months to implement, as we did not have a lot of automation back then. Then I decided to fix it myself, so I did. It took me around 2 weeks to verify everything, take the PR in and then submit my fix and get the PR merged. So, that's how my open source journey started.
There is a different level of satisfaction you get when contributing to open source, where you solve the issues that the community is facing. So, connecting with the community, getting involved with the community, and helping the community is a different kind of satisfaction altogether. And since then I continued my journey making little contributions along the way, but it was in 2019 when I was introduced to Hacktoberfest.
I was curious to know that there is a month dedicated to open source, and I wanted to know more about what people do during this month. So, I figured out that the whole month belongs to open source, where we have a lot of good open source projects that we could contribute to. There is also an amazing community that will acknowledge your contributions and give feedback on your work. And there were some goodies as well, so all of this was quite mesmerizing for me, and I really loved it. But what I didn't like was that although there were a lot of contributions in the month of Hacktoberfest (October), there were lesser contributions in November, and by December the number reduced even further. And again, a lot of people started talking about contributions in October 2020 when we had the next Hacktoberfest. So, this was kind of the turning point where I felt that when open source has benefited me so much and has allowed me to benefit my company so much, why do people only talk about it one month the whole year? Why not talk about it throughout the year?
Then I came across a few open source advocates on Twitter, Eddie Jaoude being one of them, whose work I liked a lot. Then I started educating myself on how to sustain a community in open source and how to basically run an open source project. This led me to discover the FOSS community, and I started participating in their meetups regularly where I learned that apart from the benefits, there is also a dark side to open source, where there are a lot of people suffering due to not getting a lot of benefits out of open source. Where companies whose code is open-sourced are earning a lot of money but not really paying anything to the people involved in open source, "core-js" being one of the examples. So, I feel everybody must google and read about the story of the creator of "core-js". All of this had a big impact on me, which pushed me to create a community where I can get people involved in open source and also give back certain monetary benefits to the community through certain events or certain initiatives. So, this is how things started, and this was my motive for starting the ReactPlay community, and it has been going great so far.
Q 13. How would you persuade someone who is unaware of the advantages of open source and believes that contributing for free is not worthwhile?
T - I'll put my perspective. Yes, it is true that the monetary part is pretty low here, as low as that you cannot compare it to your regular job. But there are a few other things that are equally important as money for a developer, one of them being networking. Letting people know about you, your skills, and your capabilities is important, but people will hardly discover you if you don't network. And with the advent of social media, there is already a lot of noise, so you need to kind of shout for people to notice you. Open source is the place where I feel things start with collaboration, as the moment you don't have collaboration, open source fails. So once you collaborate, you get to know new people, you know what they can offer to make your life better, and vice versa.
This is the best, I feel, as collaboration keeps happening, you discover various different channels and community initiatives that give you various opportunities to challenge yourself. For example, for someone who has never spoken in front of an audience, it gives you an opportunity for public speaking, and there are hundreds of people constantly supporting you for your improvement.
Where else do you get a platform like this where you get to moderate a project, maintain a project where a lot of unknown people are contributing and everyone is supporting and learning from each other? And if you talk about certain opportunities, so most of the open source projects today run in a community format, and the communities keep doing a lot of initiatives, where hackathons could be just one of the many initiatives. It gives you a lot of self-confidence as you keep participating and learning along the way. So open source is code, collaboration, networking, and maybe sometimes also the monetary aspect through a lot of the initiatives, and the impact of open source contributions on your resume is huge, as it shows a lot of dedication.
Q 14. How did you embark on your career as a technical writer, and what impact has it had on your professional and personal life? What is the current state of the technical writing market in 2023?
T - I was just exploring technical writing very randomly. I had a lot of things in mind which I wanted to share, and Hashnode was just getting started then, so I started sharing my knowledge there. Somehow, there were a few articles in the beginning which people started liking. Of course, I found out there were some grammatical mistakes in my earlier blogs and I corrected them, but they were liking the content of the blogs a lot, so that motivated me to write more. That is when I started taking technical writing as a hobby seriously. Then I started writing regularly, and it became my routine to write one article a week. But then COVID happened, and suddenly we all had a lot of time in hand. We never had to go out, and people were depressed at home. So, how do you tackle this situation?
This is where technical writing helped me. It gave me a lot of positive vibes, and I used this COVID phase to improve my writing skills as a technical writer. I also connected with a lot of other technical writers during this time. I still write in 2023, but not as much as I used to in 2020 and 2021, as my focus is on YouTube right now. But technical writing really helped me to establish myself as a good writer. I started getting a lot of offers from companies to write for them, and then I applied for writing an article on freeCodeCamp and got accepted. I got a lot of appreciation from many people, and that changed a lot of things for me, as I started getting a lot of paid articles from then onwards. Even today, I continue to contribute to those paid articles, and the journey has been incredible. For all the technical writers who want to get started, I'd say it's not too late to start even today. Opportunity-wise, the situation today is the same as it was in 2021. I have more clients today than I did back in 2021, and people appreciate it a lot more when you write with your own personalization.
Of course, today we have a lot of AI tools to assist us in the writing process, and there is a myth that AI will replace technical writers. In my case, it never happened, and I don't see AI replacing technical writers in the coming future because people still look for a certain amount of personalization, authenticity, and human touch in writing. The articles that I write are not like 10 GitHub commands or something that can easily be replicated by ChatGPT. I write from my own experience of how this particular product can be used for this particular use case, as I try out the product myself from beginning to end completely before I write about it. I don't think ChatGPT can replicate this amount of personalization. So, if you want to start your technical writing journey now and want to take it more seriously in 2023, the best suggestion I'd give is to be a good developer.
Whatever you write is the output of how much knowledge you have as a developer, so this is the way how technical writing is going to survive even in 2023. Writers who are getting replaced by AI are very generic, without much knowledge in development. But if there is something very development-oriented where you have to try out tools and you have to write down about the use cases that the customer will be using, this kind of documentation is what gets recognized as top-tier kind of technical documentation. This is where you can also expect a very handsome pay, where they not only pay you for writing, but they also pay you for the hours you'll be spending to try out and review their products. So, the compensation is quite good in this case. So yes, it is an evergreen field with lots of amazing opportunities, but you have to be a good developer first to be a good technical writer.
Q 15. Please describe your journey and association with freeCodeCamp, including your transition from technical writer to content creator.
T - So, I discovered freeCodeCamp through an article that I came across, which I really liked. Then I searched more about freeCodeCamp, through which I came across Quincy Larson. I read a bit about his story, which I found very inspiring for me, as I always wanted to be a teacher. Coming across Quincy's story, I felt like I had found a role model. I then applied for writing at freeCodeCamp and got accepted. But after writing my first two articles for them, I realized where I stood and what their expectations were. Basically, freeCodeCamp doesn't have an automated review process. It's always a human who verifies the articles you submit. They reviewed my articles and gave me a lot of solid feedback, which I took very seriously, as I felt there was a large gap that needed to be filled in order to reach their expectations. Over time, my writing has improved a lot, as today my review comments are very minimal, as I comprehend and fully understand what they expect. So, freeCodeCamp has helped me tremendously to become a better content creator.
As the journey continued, apart from the articles, I have also published two handbooks and two video courses on YouTube for freeCodeCamp, and I have also networked with the amazing team at freeCodeCamp, from whom I have gotten to learn a lot. I also got the opportunity to meet Quincy in person a couple of times and get his guidance.
To anyone reading this, even if open source doesn't interest you, I'd say contribute to freeCodeCamp, as you will get the chance to contribute to many developers' lives, as it is read by many developers worldwide. One of the unusual things about freeCodeCamp is that its articles don't have a comment section. However, the good thing is that people will still find you some way or another to say thank you. They put in extra effort to find your social media accounts, be it LinkedIn or Twitter, just to thank you, convey how they have learned something new from the article, or how it has made their life better. This makes me very grateful, and I feel that this is the biggest takeaway from a platform like freeCodeCamp. As a developer, I think freeCodeCamp is a great way to give back to the community.
Q 16. How did your content creation journey on Twitter happen?
T - I didn't know about the power of Twitter, but when I started sharing my articles there, I realized that people were commenting and retweeting them much more than they were in the comment section of the articles themselves. I realized that I could connect with real people on Twitter, and that's how my Twitter journey began. It's been around two years now, and I still have less than 10k tweets.
My main focus is not on likes, but on the impact that I can create through my content. I've found many amazing friends through Twitter, and those friendships extend beyond the platform. Even if Twitter were to disappear tomorrow, our friendships would remain, and they go beyond tech Twitter. It's gotten to that level. This is what Twitter has given me. I may be wrong, but I feel the platform has undergone a drastic change. I used to post longer threads related to tech, but I've observed that memes and other content get more traction today. I still avoid posting low-quality content, but I sometimes post programming-related memes. However, I also make sure to write one lengthy tweet per week and post smaller technical content pieces at least once a day. This is how I'm currently spending my time on Twitter. But my main focus is YouTube at the moment.
Q 17. Please elaborate on your motivation for starting your YouTube channel.
The next step was to find a good camera. In the beginning, I used my laptop camera and my audio and visual quality was not that great. I wanted to improve this aspect while keeping my main focus on the content. Slowly, I started getting some traction and then I made a React series with a set of videos. If you go through that series from beginning to end, you can clearly see the tremendous improvement in the quality of audio and video. Today, I feel much more confident and now whenever I have an idea to create a video, I just start recording it. In this process, I have also learned a lot about editing. Editing is a thankless job, even in films. We have so many editors, but we never get to know their names. When I edit my own videos, it is hell. For example, for the freeCodeCamp course, I sat for 9 hours straight from morning to evening editing the video. It took me around 9 hours to edit a 1 hour 40-minute video. This is all the pain I go through, but when I read the comments below the video where I hear people telling me how the course helped them, benefited them, and they learned something good, that gives me a different kind of kick. And my YouTube channel, "tapaScript by Tapas Adhikary," recently crossed 10k subscribers, so that was a big milestone for me.
Q 18. What do you feel has been your biggest asset in the past 18 years of your career in tech?
T - I think the people I've met in all these years have been my biggest asset, even when I was working at MNCs and even afterwards when I was on my own. I believe that anyone can earn money if they try, but it takes a certain amount of caliber and capability to earn someone's trust. Once you earn someone's trust and they really look forward to you, they really want to learn from you and they can share things with you very freely. When I get these vibes, it makes me feel very good as a human being.
We all have our own limited time on this planet. After some time, we won't be programming anymore, and after some time, we won't be here at all. But whatever you do in all the phases of your life, one thing that will remain even when you're not there is your relationships with others. For example, I don't work at Micro Focus anymore, where I worked for 16 years, but it still matters to me what people are talking about me there today. It will definitely matter to me what people will talk about me in the future when I'm not here. So, human relationships matter the most to me. That's why I like to talk to people, and I spend whatever time I get talking to them. My biggest achievement is the people and the great relationships I have today. Of course, there have been misunderstandings along the way, but I've been able to sort them out and talk them through, because these things happen between two friends. And you can only solve these problems when you trust each other. So, my relationships are the best thing that's happened to me so far.
Q 19. What would you say has been your greatest asset in your 18-year career in tech?
T - Failure is what makes you. Of course, failure is also subjective; how deep it is to you depends on you. I have had my own share of failures, both in my professional and personal life.
Here are a few of my professional failures: Expecting to go higher in my career ladder but not getting it. Sometimes you have to live with that. You have to understand why you didn't get there and maybe plan and work better instead of just crying about it. Instead, you should make a forward-looking plan on how to tackle it and reach it the next time. Experiencing things like this, where you expect something from your professional career or from someone, but it doesn't really happen that way. In case it happens, it's too good to be true, like a very good movie. But our life is not like that, right? It has a lot of twists and turns.
Everything I faced as a failure in life was of course a bad day or bad night for a few occasions, but somehow I could come out of it, be it maybe for a day or two. I always try to think about what the next thing is that I can do, that I can actually try for myself. And then I'll give my best. And even after that if it doesn't happen, it probably is not happening, so I keep trying my best. And that is what keeps me going.
In every failure that I faced, the next time the success that I have tasted, it is mind-blowing. It is really really mind-blowing. For example, I lost my promotion once, even though I was really a deserving candidate and I was hearing things like I am getting this promotion, but the day the promotions were announced, I didn't find my name there at all. I was 4-5 years experienced then and wanted to be a lead in UI, so I was pretty disappointed about why this happened to me. But then I found an opportunity to travel to the US and work with the team and some of the customers very closely. And the appreciation that I got after coming back for the team that I lead was much much bigger than what I would have done with the promotion.
So it's just that it's something that's probably waiting for you. And once you put in the hard work and don't be really depressed and have the move-on kind of mindset, you will realize you will get better things basically. And you have to forget it, just forget what didn't happen for you, just learn from it, forget, and move on. And that's what I did back then and that's what I continue to do even today.
Q 20. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out in tech, people with a few years of experience, and people who have been in tech for 6+ years?
T - For freshers, the most important thing in the long run is discipline. You may be a rockstar technically after coming out of college, which has a different environment. But once you get into a job and professional life, it will be a little bit different, even if your workplace is the coolest place on earth. You will be expected and demanded to have a certain amount of discipline and a certain way of working. For people with 3-5 years of experience, you can find an opportunity to influence the people who are around you. It's time to start being the influencer. Try to influence people with the good things you are good at so that anybody below you, like the freshers or the much more junior people, slowly start seeing you as a role model. The people who are at the top of you will start seeing you as somebody that they can slowly bank on. This is the influence. This is both cycle influence that you have to do with being in that particular band. And if you're a real senior developer with 8-10 years of experience, and if you are not really sharing things for the developer community, I think that's not good. If you have eight or ten years experience, you already have wealth of experience in working.
You should try it out and see how you can make this developer ecosystem even better. What is your contribution that starts now? Maybe over the period of next few years, how that contribution can grow? You should be someone that people may slowly start looking up to, not only in your offices but beyond that. Being technical is not just about coding or programming. Your developer life is beyond that. If you want to really leave a mark, if you really want to excel in your career, it's beyond that. Somewhere these things that I spoke about in each of these phases, if you look into that, I think it's going to keep building that differentiator for you and not everybody will be doing it as well.
Q 21. Could you elaborate on your entrepreneurial journey? What inspired you to start your own company, and what are your long-term goals?
T - I am starting a company. It is a service based agency, but my major focus is not service. I want to work on products and that's why we have few ideas. But service is a stream that we need to sustain to probably get some money. I am getting a lot of mentoring from other people who are successful. Some people say that okay no don't go for the service thing, it is like very much taking a toll on you and focusing completely on the product. You know, put some money from your pocket and try to get these products you know stand out and all the things. We have some product ideas. Again some people say no you put in the services to get good clients get some good money in and you invest that money to kind of get your product out. So there are different Schools of thoughts I'm trying to find out somewhere like in between that. And if everything goes well, our first product will probably be launched in another five months of time.
Five to six months of time. We are working on it aggressively. I wanted to kind of put this one more towards product and service but service is something that is a needed focus at this point of time. Maybe in a few days, we'll have a website, we'll have our logos, so that we'll open our LinkedIn, Twitter, and all these places, and then we'll do a bigger announcement. And of course, being a lean company like this, the hiring would be happening through some of the social channels themselves because that's how if I want great people, one from India, one from Bangladesh, they're working with me, and more and more projects have been coming up.
When we get more projects, we're probably going to kind of expand more product-related ideas that we have. We are going to expand and we'll be adding more people going forward. I'm probably going to share a lot of my journey of building it once I make the public announcement, of course. Probably, you know, not really many people are aware of it because I have not posted anywhere that I have started with this right. This is the first place where we are speaking about it publicly. So once I start putting it out there publicly, I'll be sharing more about my journey, success, failure, hiring, and all these things on social media.