Category Archives: Software Industry

3 Trends in Software Developer Roles – And One to Avoid!

 

Three roles have been evolving in software development over past few years.

1. Devigner
The devigner is a person who packs a pretty punch. She is a graphic designer, UI designer, UX developer, server developer and database developer all rolled into one. Continue reading 3 Trends in Software Developer Roles – And One to Avoid!

A Short History of Desktop Operating Systems

 

At the beginning of this millennium, the PC/OS wars had practically ended. You used Windows everywhere. Only some companies like Mindfire, which worked on Apple Mac development, had any use for platform diversity. Everybody bought Wintel – because you had to. Software was made for Windows only in most cases, so being on anything else meant being unable to run most things you needed.

Then, several unexpected things happened.

First, Operating Systems. The OS landscape changed. Apple made a spectacular comeback, and working on a Macbook was cool again. Mac OS X flew high. And Ubuntu rose from the ashes of Unix and Linux fragmentation, unifying them and making a friendly Linux.

Second, the Internet. The web became dominant platform for app delivery. Functional software that looked grey and dull, was suddenly all over the colorful web. Chrome and Javascript/AJAX hastened user experience on browsers that rivaled native desktop software.

Third, Design. Or, the ascent of design. Apple led the charge, and the world of tech grew to appreciate design for what it was – the yin for its yang. And those dull grey apps died a quiet death.

Fourth, Consumers. Technology exploded from enterprise/business to the consumer setting. Revenue started skewing towards consumers – although that died an early death due to our next point.

Finally, Devices. In came the world of smartphones and tablets, which changed the meaning of computers. And led to the creation of cloud. And desktop platforms became just one out of many access points for the cloud. Which leads to the Internet of Things. Coming next.

 

All the above made desktop platforms a choice, since the world of computing was no longer restricted to the PC and OS you used. Today, consumers buy Mac systems and techies buy Ubuntu systems, without needing to think what they will not be able to do. Because they can do everything.

At Mindfire, we celebrate this victory of choice with a commitment to platform diversity. Mindfire is investing in Ubuntu and Macbook laptops, aiming to have at least 15% of our people on Macbooks, and 15% on Ubuntu.

Why is diversity important?

A rainbow is interesting only because it has all those colors.

 

Thoughtful Programming Can Save Days. But Do You Have Time For It?

 

Today I will share an experience in the effects of inflexible software, actually caused by hard work!

We use a SaaS service for our payroll process. Last month, we needed to add a salary component for selected people. We decided that instead of adding it as the pre-defined “Bonus” component, we would name it “KMBonus”.

All good till now. The payroll system allows addition of custom components. Then you download a blank Excel file and upload it back after inserting figures.

We downloaded the template which had a column for KMBonus, along with columns for every other component. This sheet was filled for KMBonus and uploaded back. It failed. No error message, nothing – the page just refreshed silently.

What was wrong? Was it a problem with file format? File size? Number formats? Did columns or sheets or anything get rearranged by mistake? This took a couple hours. When nothing worked, a support issue was filed. It was a weekend.

On Monday, support tried to understand what was wrong. After few hours, and with the file being analyzed, support figured out what was wrong – the uploaded file couldn’t have empty cells/columns while being uploaded back! So, although you wanted to update only KMBonus column, you had to either insert zero into every other cell everywhere, or delete all other columns.

First I was upset – that a simple error message, or documentation on expected file format, would have helped avoid this. Then I realized something else.

Entire payroll for hundreds of people got stuck for a couple days, because the programmer had worked hard – but harder than necessary.

Think about code structure. It would have taken more work, more effort, to put in all this validation – “Check all cells have numbers, ensure none are blank!” Sure, requirements may not have covered this case, so as a programmer I am free to do anything. But if I am free, do I do things after thinking about it – being thoughtful about work? Do I do things for the user – being thoughtful about users? Or do I do things that are just technically correct? Instead of tightening by validation, a simple conceptual foundation would have reduced the programmers’ work and rendered flexibility to user!

Imagine if the conceptual foundation had been: any blank cell means nothing is to be done. If something has a number, update component to that number. Simple.

So when you get a sheet with many cells blank, entire columns blank, ignore the blank ones. And process only the ones with numbers. Did I say simple?

Think of code. This is actually less work, is conceptually clear, and means much more to user! Smart work versus hard work. Saves days of effort for the programmer. And, in our example, a difference of days in payroll processing!

Thoughtful programming is based on common sense. Thoughtful programming reduces work. Thoughtful programming can save the day. Days.

 

Entry-level/Fresher Salary at Mindfire Solutions

 

(Update Sep 20:

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FALSE CLAIMS IN HIRING:

Mindfire Solutions does NOT employ services of any external organization for our recruitment process, in any role at any stage. We do our OWN hiring COMPLETELY and nobody else – no placement consultant, no recruitment agent, no headhunting firm, no campus coordinator, nobody else at all – is involved in any way at all.

Please do not believe people making false promises to place you at Mindfire Solutions, or to get you an interview slot, or influence hiring in any way – and definitely do not pay anything for such claims. If you do believe and interact with them, it is at your own risk and loss. Mindfire Solutions is not responsible in any way for such interactions.)

 

Quietly.

Quietly, Mindfire has created one of the best packages for freshers, nationwide.

At Mindfire Solutions, we have always believed in providing industry-leading packages for talent. We have raised the bar in 2014 with a lucrative pay package and other elements that will surprise you.

1. Salary
Our uniform entry-level salary for all 2014 technical freshers is Rs 35,000 per month (Rs 4,20,000 per annum). All fixed, all guaranteed. This in itself is perhaps in the top 90%. Whoa! But wait – this is just salary. We have more!

2. Free Tablet
On the day you join, you take home a gift of a tablet (Apple iPad mini 3G or Samsung Galaxy Note 8) worth about Rs 30,000. It belongs to you. A nice little welcome to a new life.

3. Free Insurance
You and your parents/family are eligible for medical insurance, with annual premium up to Rs 6,000 paid by Mindfire, which generally gives you insurance coverage up to Rs 3 lakhs.

4. Free Lunch
For past 8 months, we have had free lunch at all our centers. We do not foresee discontinuation of this facility – people have been thrilled!

5. Zero Bonds
Mindfire is against bonds of any kind. We do not bind you with any bonds, disguised as “service contract” or any clever words. You can walk out at any time if you get a better option for your career/life (with a month’s notice). We wish you well.

6. Zero Deposit
There is no financial deposit of any kind. Neither a bank guarantee or anything. The only thing you need to give is your talent, your energy, your dedication. Everything else is for you to get.

7. Zero Bench
We will get you real work within 6 months of joining. You don’t have to sit idle on bench for 2-3 years, destroying your long-term career and future.

8. 100% Learning
You will learn by doing practical work. You will have active guidance and help and resources, and you will learn by doing and reading and discussing – not by being taught by someone. Being taught is passive, learning yourself is active – the chosen path for winners.

9. 100% Job Security
Mindfire has not had layoffs at any time in its history. Neither in the mega recession of 2000-2002, nor 2009-2010, nor at any other time ever. People are asked to leave only due to individual performance problems, and at 2% it is the lowest in industry. OK, let’s be direct: yes, if you have no interest in work and tech, we will ask you to leave.

10. 100% Stability
Mindfire is a self-funded organization with no bank loans or external debt or borrowing of any kind. We have hundreds of clients spread all over the globe in various industries, which diffuses risk factors and renders us an enviably strong and stable foundation. We have been continuously and comfortably profitable since 15 years.

11. 100% Software Development. Only.
Mindfire is a place for pure software development, nothing else. We do not do production support, technical support, and a zillion other types of work. We take up only work which is software development (programming and testing), so you will always get hardcore tech work only.

 

To Mindfireans: 11 is an odd number. Which item above should we cut (unimportant for freshers) so that it becomes 10? Or which other item can we add to make it a dozen?!

To Software Freshers: we love you if you love tech. As you can see above, Mindfire will give you a lot. The only thing you need to give is your talent and time. Do come on over and apply for the best IT/software jobs at http://www.mymindfire.in/AddMyProfile.aspx!

But shh, quiet. Don’t tell your friends where you found the best opportunity. Don’t tell them about Mindfire.

Shh.

 

 

Thank God It’s Friday – Mindfire Style!

 

At Mindfire, we recently had a proposal to have one day of the week as “Work From Home” (WFH) for everyone.

A day working at home would allow a day’s escape from the commute. It would enable flexibility in planning personal stuff, including spending time with family.

The ideal day was Friday. Practically, it would mean Fridays blending seamlessly into the weekend, and undiluted weekends. People with family few hours away could travel overnight on Thursday, work from home on Fridays, and have two full days at home. And it would make Fridays a little more fun and a little more free!

Awesome! Doable? Hmm.

We shared the idea with people at our Bangalore center, to gauge response and interest. It quickly became obvious that people loved it! Given Bangalore’s epic traffic and commute problems, it was not surprising that most people preferred to avoid the roads.

Of course, there are some problems. Some people may have connectivity issues and actually prefer to work in office. Some people may have hardware or device-dependent work which cannot be taken home. Some work may need bandwidth which is not available at home. And certain work (such as Hiring) simply has to be done at office.

But there are enabling factors. First is our 100% laptop environment, which allows both mobility and reduces power-cut issues due to battery backup. Second is availability of cheap and reliable Internet connections. Third is the Mindfire culture – of being outcome-oriented instead of needing to see people sitting at their desks.

There is the gnawing problem of unfairness for people who cannot enjoy Friday WFH because their work cannot be done from home. Will they enjoy the joy of others? Or will they hate a facility they are excluded from?

It is a balanced risk. People understand if they have work issues at home, they need to rush to office. People also understand that freedom and flexibility come with responsibility. And that good things come hard, but go easy!

To test the waters, we are rolling this out at our Bangalore center from August 22, Friday.

This is a trial, an experiment in Work 2.0. If there are problems with work, it will have to be discontinued. If it works, it will be rolled out at our Bhubaneswar and Delhi centers as well. Helping positive ideas succeed enables us to do more, to move forward, while failing takes us a step backward.

 

Will it work? I will update what we find out! Life is discovery.

 

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This truism is applicable to all, whether it is an individual or a company. The various facets which confluence to make an entity great render to it a unique flavor, one that cannot be copied completely. The innovative practices at Mindfire Solutions contribute towards its uniqueness and differentiate it from its peers in the software industry. Here’s how.

My last blog was on the 2 minute innovation where I told you how Mindfire Solutions follows a unique project status communication practice which makes use of rich media to communicate the day’s progress to the client. In this blog you will get to know yet another innovative best practice followed at Mindfire Solutions. Ever heard of the term collective intelligence? No? Well, simply put, it means 2 is better than 1. Only, in our case 700 is better than 1. This is an approach aimed at solving individual queries by the combined knowledge of an organization.

We all know that the true value of an organization can be closely gauged from what lies between their employees’ ears. And Mindfire Solutions not only encourages its employees to broaden their horizons but also gives them the scope to make the best use of it by fostering a culture of sharing. As time passed, number of projects increased and Mindfire’s numbers and ranks swelled, realization dawned that although the collective knowledge of the organization was increasing linearly the individual knowledge was more or less limited to his own area of expertise. Owing to a demanding work scenario and paucity of time there was hardly any scope to learn more at an individual level. In an organization where knowledge is treated as the most important asset, productivity would get a quantum boost if there was some way in which the information about the knowledge and skills of an individual can be shared with another individual in need.

And then a unique knowledge management practice was developed in Mindfire Labs and christened as Fluid Expertise. Based on his need, a Mindfirean can use this system to search on the particular topic and then get the content results as well as the list of colleagues who can help. The database for this project consists of the user profiles of all the employees (which include their expertise, blog links, seminars conducted, articles, projects, team space etc.) as well as the articles, tips, case studies etc. contributed by them and available on the website. The search results will be displayed to the user in his browser in a 2 part sectioned format. While the upper half contains the people search results (in this case Mindfire’s in-house subject matter experts), the lower half contains the results from a Google customized search. The user can then choose to proceed according to his wish, i.e. contact the expert on a communication window or click on the pages as suggested by Google.

How the system works?

The system either crawls through the website or parses text/html, word documents and PDFs and considers the content for further processing. Again in order to match the query against the document the text in the document is indexed. The match can be done against the URL, title or the description/content of the page and when the user clicks on the URL the content will be displayed.   As is expected, a lot of inputs are required to find out the top ten subject matter experts on a particular topic. And because we have too many inputs it becomes imperative to decide which among these inputs are primary and which ones are secondary. The primary inputs help in choosing the top 10 people and thereafter, the primary and secondary inputs both are used to rank them. The secondary inputs don’t have a role to play until the top helpful persons have been selected. The decision as to what could constitute the primary and secondary factors are left to the system owner’s discretion.

Following are some of the factors that contribute greatly in people search listing:

1. Content: Content has to be the most important factor to judge the level of an individual’s expertise. With the help of an open source indexing engine and a compatible server which helps add easy interfaces to add/update/query documents and pump more data, an expert’s contribution is closely gauged in his area of expertise.

2. Number of User clicks: For a specific search the system will track which links has been clicked by which user and which expert has been contacted by which user. This knowledge will be useful for predicting the result for the user thereby providing personalized search experience.

3. Peer Endorsement: In this case the system will take time to learn from user input and suggest right people and direct the user to the expert. To address this, there will be an offline input mechanism where employees should be able to specify who is an expert in which area. This will also form a part of the database.

4. User Feedback: While designing the system we realized that there should be an offline data collection mechanism to know whether contacting a person helped, in short a feedback is sought. Initially the system gives a default people rank to everybody. After collecting inputs from various users the people rank increases or decreases accordingly.

5. Interconnections: This factor varies from person to person. As the name suggests, these variables play a role to decide how easy it is for A to connect with B. This is determined based on the fact whether the 2 users belong to same team, same project, same center, same team space etc.

6. Previous search: To get this data the system should be able to store old searches by users and match the current search against old search and find relevant experts to solve the query.

In order to get near accurate rankings of the resident experts at Mindfire Solutions these parameters are constantly monitored and at times subjected to minor changes to give an appropriate listing. And in this way we make use of information readily available to not only solve client issues but also increase our knowledge base on a particular topic by learning it from the guru himself.

These systems and processes at Mindfire Solutions make it robust inside out. And when a customer engages with Mindfire Solutions, although he would interact with a small team, he would definitely feel the depth of knowledge in his work which is largely due to the collective intelligence behind it. That is what contributes to making Mindfire Solutions an enviable organization to work with and work for. Who wouldn’t?

2MV-Final

The 2 Minute Innovation

And before you come to a seemingly easy conclusion, let me be very clear. I am definitely not talking about Nestle’s Maggi noodles which can be cooked in about just two minutes. So what could be the 2 minute innovation? Ever heard of 2MV (short for 2 minute video) as a daily reporting tool? Possibly NO! Allow me then to introduce you to the 2MV Habit that is religiously followed at Mindfire Solutions.

About the 2MV:

The 2MV Habit is a unique practice followed at Mindfire Solutions. This was exclusively designed to address problems that are typical to outsourcing/off-shoring/remote software development companies. The common problems pestering this industry are:

  • lack of visibility in true daily work progress,
  • absence of the human factor,
  • lack of synchronous communication owing to different time zones and
  • unavailability of rich communication possibilities (email and documents have their own limitations)

We call it the 2MV Habit because it is a daily practice wherein the developer records his daily progress in the form of 2 minute long videos that are actually screen-casts (videos of the screen) with the audio commentary by the developer. This could also include a little bit of code browsing as well.

So how does it differ from emails/documents?

The use of video/media differentiates 2MV from an email/document by creating software engineering artifacts that are rich in information. After some initial hiccups the developer realizes that while he can make a 2MV in 2 minutes, he would take around 5 minutes to draft an email/document. However, on the flip side, while the contents of an email/document can be scanned in a minimum 10 seconds time, it would actually take 2 minutes to go through a 2MV.

How the 2MV works?

Clients can log in to Mindfire Solutions’ cloud based project management system with the credentials that are provided to them at the time of on-boarding. Successful login takes the client to the 2MV home page wherein all recent activity is listed as a stream of events. One can then view the 2MVs by clicking on the 2MV icon which renders a flash / HTML5 player and plays the video on the homepage. Comments can be made from the event stream itself. There are also options in the account menu to change the email preferences on new 2MV upload, note addition, transcription addition and resetting of password etc.

2MV workflow

Benefits of using the 2MV Habit:

  • Giving demos daily helps the developer to view the work from the user’s perspective
  • The developers feels accountable to produce demonstrable work every day
  • The human voice renders a personal touch and helps forge better relationships in a remote team environment
  • It also helps the developers bond better with the testers bringing in better coordination between teams
  • Easier, faster and better daily status reporting
  • Instills a sense of ownership in the developer as the 2MV carries their personal signature
  • Rich knowledge base with visible gradual evolution of software and codebase
  • Any misunderstanding with respect to requirements or specs is detected at an early stage and fixed accordingly
  • Easier, faster and better transition to new team members whether in case of attrition or scaling up the existing team
  • Better insulation from human risks in team

A 2MV experience:

Let’s be honest. Everyone was not really enthusiastic when the 2MV was launched. As with just about anything that is new, there was some resistance to 2MV initially from one of the project teams. This was mainly because they were not comfortable recording the video (Ironically, they assumed it would take them more than 20 minutes to record a 2MV). Also they wanted to hang on to the traditional methods of email and online meetings with the client as they believed that they could email faster than record the day’s work in 2 minutes. Before panning it completely, they were coaxed to give it a try, one last time. And then the rest is history. The client loved this mode of communication and decided to use this method instead of emails and meetings. This helped them cut down time spent on meetings. Finding a time suitable for both the development team and the client was again a hindrance, but the 2MV helped get rid of it. The developer could record his day’s work before he left and the client could review it whenever/wherever he wanted to using any device (desktop/laptop/handheld). In this particular case (and as with most other cases), the client not only applauded Mindfire’s effort but also gave valuable feedback that we incorporated subsequently.

For a company that is ONLY into offshore small team software development, Mindfire Solutions offers its clients this unique status reporting tool that not only adds a personal touch but is also a rich repository of evolving project information. One of our clients commented that:

“We’d just like to say what a great idea the 2 minute video is in maintaining a good relationship between us and Mindfire. It is often difficult to build a personable relationship over such a distance but we feel this definitely helps! Seeing the developer’s computer screen brings things closer and enhances trust and support.”

Yet another client found 2MV to be an interesting concept and was of the opinion that:

“A 2-min video is best for more general info and UI demonstration.”

As for our developers, most of them appreciate Mindfire Solutions for this initiative as it has helped them better their communication skills. The fact that the client can add comment in the 2MV itself makes the communication very clear and less time consuming. One of them said, I have also spotted some issues in my code while making the 2 MV at the EOD. So, it’s like testing the whole thing you have worked on before you leave for the day :)”

And when I asked another developer how the 2MV is a mutually beneficial initiative he said,

“It helps to make changes on the work from the beginning as client provides feedback on the work from the scratch level where as in text emails client sends changes/fixes only after seeing the complete task on stage and its sometime difficult for the client to visualize the work from text and provide feedback. Also it helps the client in decision making whether or not to continue/pause the current functionality and jump to some urgent fixes.”

As 2MV is increasingly becoming popular as a project status reporting tool, it would not come as a big surprise if clients begin to choose this as a preferred mode of communication over email and skype. We surely live in interesting times!

(N.B. : There are many such practices at Mindfire Solutions. Watch this space for more innovative techniques/processes practiced at Mindfire Solution. We use technology to be efficient!)

Who Should Software Developers Care About?

Manager/Lead or Client – who should developers care about?

Neither.

Software developers in outsourcing companies are a harried lot.

Demands come from multiple quarters – Lead or Manager, Client, Colleagues – to name a few. Sometimes a CEO and other random people are also part of the group. In large organizations, Marketing, Interaction and other teams join the party. And often there are multiple people of each type above. Time is always running out. And sometimes none of these people agree among themselves! What is a software developer to do in such a situation? Who should s/he care about? Who is most important?

None of them.

Software is made for a purpose.

That purpose is to be used by people for something. The only thing that matters in making software succeed, is whether Users will use it. If Users use your software, everyone will be happy. If Users don’t care, everything is wasted.

All the people above – Lead, Manager, Client etc – are representatives for the User. They are people with good intentions, but they are maya – illusion – from the software’s perspective. The only thing that software cares about is whether Users use it or not.

Software that is used is happy software. Software that is unused is grumpy software.

It follows logically that if software cares only about its use, the developers of that software should primarily care about the User. Generally, Client and Lead and others are also doing the same thing – they are planning and prioritizing and designing and doing everything for final User.

But!

Your Lead may find a short-cut that ignores user. Your CEO may want something done that is good for your company but bad for user. Your Client may prioritize something where user is short-changed. On top of this, ego and personal views may come into play.

In short, sometimes (although rarely) these other players may not have user in mind. In such situations your duty is to ignore them. If you can make them see reason, good. If you cannot, you still know what is right and wrong, because you know who to focus on – the User.

Your final responsibility is to the User. Your job is to make good software that Users love.

As a developer, your User is unknown, faceless and often doesn’t exist except in the future. It is easier and tempting to think of the representatives as real, and the User as maya. At core, it is just the opposite.

But my Client pays my company! But my Lead decides my salary!

In the place-time continuum of life and careers, you will find that the experience of making good software is what you will carry forever. Everything else will float away. Your Company will change, your Colleagues will change, your Client will change, your CEO will change, your Lead will change. But that experience of making good software that users use and love and you are proud of – that experience of exhilaration, that pursuit of excellence – that  will never go away.

As humans, we sometimes do what our head tells us, and sometimes what our heart tells us. But through it all, our conscience guides. Think of Clients and Leads as head and heart, and User is conscience. Client and Lead may tell you what to do, but let User be your guide throughout. As in life, so in work.

Use Users as your yardstick in all situations.

When in doubt, think of Users. When not in doubt, think of Users. Everything and everybody else is maya.

 

The architecture of a techie paradise

mindfire solutions techie paradise

“Do you really like working at Mindfire Solutions? “ I asked and saw my friend give me an as-if-you-don’t-know-it-already look. He said, “Whoever would want to leave this techie paradise?”
You may begin to think that I was merely doing a survey. No, I was not! It was a candid coffee table conversation between the two of us. Little did I know that this conversation would reveal the reasons why Mindfire Solutions’ attrition rate is way too much lower than the industry average? Here’s the gist which explains why my friend has been hanging around the Mindfire premises for almost a decade.

You work because you choose to!
Mindfire offers salubrious working conditions that encourage techies and geeks to blossom to their true potential. A flat organization structure ensures that people are free to speak their mind and “work because they choose to”. The wet blanket of bureaucracy hardly gets a chance to snuff out the embers of innovation at the workplace. If you look at the people working here, you will realize that they are a bunch of spirited guys and gals doing good tech work and always asking for more work. In fact one of the employees wrote a Glassdoor review saying “a year in Mindfire is equivalent to three years of experience. Thanks to the vast exposure that techies get at Mindfire with regards to technology areas and client interaction they have a steeper learning curve and a greater opportunity to grow in expertise and reputation (salary also comes under this purview) as compared to their peers elsewhere. A recent recruit who worked for one of the Big 4 companies opined that “We (Mindfire) are just the Right size for recognition of skills/contributions as opposed to getting absorbed in a big company where positions/awards are pre-determined”.

Cooperation, Collaboration and Innovation is the culture here:
There is a culture of collaboration at Mindfire. Most employees feel Mindfire is like a family where there are always people to help out. This camaraderie among employees makes the organization a healthy place of work. There are no walls at Mindfire. We have open workplaces and it should not come as a surprise to find the CEO himself sitting next to you and coding. Even the company financials are made known to each and every employee at the end of every month to ensure transparency. Innovation is the lifeblood at Mindfire Solutions. The way we make extensive use of technology to ensure quality in the work that we do ascertains the fact. We have homegrown systems and tools in place that check for bugs in the code that we write for our customers, keep our client updated using 2MV (2 minute videos), address requests, needs and problems at work, help make better and universally accepted decisions, catalyze day-to-day work, increase the speed of learning and be aware about the happenings in the organization. Stupefied? Aren’t you?

An organization of Knowledge seekers:
That Mindfire wishes to foster a culture of learning and has a knowledge driven culture is evident in the manner it wants its employees to get themselves certified. It has sponsored over 300 certifications with 95% certified software engineers holding Industry recognized certifications from the Industry leaders like Oracle , Microsoft, FileMaker, Zend etc. So it should come as a surprise to know that each Mindfirean has an average of two certifications per head. Not only that, it has sponsored ACM membership for all its employees. There is a great emphasis on dissemination of knowledge. After all, the more you share your knowledge the more you get to learn. Mindfireans have conducted over 170 seminars with a cumulative total of 4000 attendees across teams and centres. They zealously participate in technical forums and have earned brownie points for themselves and the organization. In our endeavor to provide quality software services to our customers, over 2000 code reviews from across various tech areas have been done and there is a dedicated team of 50+ QA specialists testing approximately 250 projects every week. There are 100+ subject matter experts to solve the developers’ queries anywhere and anytime. When it comes to IT spending Mindfire leaves no stone unturned. More than 500 people work on licensed software tools and this fiscal around 25 paid tools have been added in the extensive tools library. Mindfire Solutions is also the proud organizer of the DDM (Debasish Das Memorial) IT Quiz, a national level annual quiz fest for management and engineering students. This event is organized in the memory of one of our most talented employees whom we lost to a fatal road accident in 2010.

Oh and there’s a cherry on the cake too. In order to encourage its employees’ spirit of learning, Mindfire in a maverick move, distributed about 700 iPads and android devices to all its employees last December. Did you just let out a small sigh?

Flexibility in work life= great personal life:
One may begin to wonder that with so much work and learning going on at Mindfire Solutions the personal lives of its employees would be hitting rock bottom. But the situation is quite the opposite. We have fixed time for clients and that gives us more time for ourselves, family and friends. There are no strict rules/policies etched on stone and flexibility is given a lot of importance. Unlike larger companies where number of hours clocked is strictly monitored, people at Mindfire enjoy flexibility in working hours (no time sheets/registers/swipe machines) as long as the work gets done. New mothers/mothers-to-be can avail unlimited maternity leave, those who are ill can convalesce without worrying about losing their job and there is also the work-from-home option for those who cannot afford to come to office owing to certain urgencies at home. Also one does not have to haggle for leaves. Have you ever heard of a company that has a holiday calendar consisting of 365 holidays (366 in case of a leap year)? Well Mindfireans would know this better coz everyday is a holiday at Mindfire Solutions. Nobody forces you to work here. To reiterate a point already mentioned earlier, you work because you choose to. And last but not the least, in this world where “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL)” this organization offers free lunch for all its employees across the three centres. Surprised? Don’t be!

Here’s a company which offers tremendous work options in 60+ technology areas, a great learning opportunity and a flexible and laissez faire culture. Not to forget the handsome spot bonuses in lieu of good work done. I am sure now you understand what my friend meant when he said, “Whoever would want to leave this techie paradise?”

A Glass of Google, Anybody?

Alternatively called revolutionary and creepy, Google Glass has cyberspace up – up in arms and up for it. Hate it or like it, you can’t ignore it.

There are social, privacy and etiquette implications. Not surprisingly, places where privacy is paramount (such as dive bars), have banned Glass. This makes headlines because…nobody knows!

And then there are positive applications such as surgeons monitoring indicators without having to look away. This makes headlines because…nobody knows!

Nobody knows what will happen to Glass.

You can’t even put it in any one slot. Is it technology? Is it fashion? Is it vanity? Is it utility? Is it the first attempt at mass wearables? Is it the advent of the cyborgs? It doesn’t end.

The best way to think about Glass is by closing your eyes.

If the downsides are mostly about inappropriate use or privacy concerns, the assumption is that wearers will never take them off. Given that it is easy to take off, it is is easy to see that people will just adapt and remove them at inappropriate places.

The question is: what utility can it provide?

Consumer uses are highlighted by Google. However, I feel specific work applications will come up as developers and organizations re-imagine the possibilities. You can use live-streaming for experience-sharing among friends, or field support personnel can use live-streaming to transmit a malfunctioning machine’s innards to an expert. You are an augmented human being with capability to see additional relevant information to the task at hand.

How can software development be impacted? One idea: a constantly recording Glass app with N-recent-minutes recording will mean that testers always have access to what they just saw – elusive bugs which cannot be reproduced will always be captured.

Every industry will have ideas of its own on what Glass can do for them. If Glass can make nurses more accurate, real-estate agents more responsive, students more attentive – you will use them.

Will you look uber cool or downright stupid wearing them? Will you care, if it helps you do things better and faster?