Tag Archives: certifications

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?”

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Mission Certification: Accomplished

Since I have cleared two of the Microsoft’s certifications within a month I have been besieged with questions of my colleagues on how to clear the exam. There is phobia that the certification exams are tough and we must prepare rigorously for them. It’s nothing like that. Now I feel happy to share with you the inside of cracking the certifications.
Somebody said in the past that “Work Smart Not Hard!“.This is the trick since we do not get enough time as professionals.

Continue reading Mission Certification: Accomplished

“Quality” in simple terms

One small thing that we miss sometimes is the need to keep in mind the end user of the software products we build or the existing products we service. Our client would not in all cases be the final user of the products – for example say our client is into building games in Facebook. He can play the games but the reason he is building this game is to sell it as a business, in that case the end user would be someone we do not know. If we keep this end user’s need in mind and build an application which will delight him once he uses it – we can pat our backs and feel good that we delivered a good “quality” product.
Author – Atma Prakash Ojha
Quality ” – What does this term mean ?

Most of the time we make “quality” synonymous with “CMM” or “ISO” or some other industry accepted certification. The point is these are certifications by independent bodies to let others know that we have certain level of expertise/standard but without these too we can be good. How many of us are certified in the current technologies that we work in ? Does that mean we are not good – NO.

I will not define quality here but rather through some examples try to explain what it is.

You and your friends are planning to go out for dinner to a good place and out of 4-5 options you short list you zero in on 1 option and go there – right ?

Lets analyze what all parameters you would have used to decide on any one particular restaurant.

1st food should be good.
Meaning – you want that the “Quality” of the food should be good. Here quality means two things – first the stuff used for preparing food are fresh and good – no stale or sub standard stuff is used . Second the taste of the food should be good.
If I draw a co-relation to what our situation is – first our client would expect that the technical competence we have is good – that our people are very good in the areas that they work in. Second is our people have enough aptitude to understand the business of the client,i.e his requirement , and code accordingly. Difference here is – some people might know a technology theoretically – every syntax and options available but cannot comprehend a real life business scenario and put it into coding.

2nd thing that you evaluate about the restaurants is the ambiance – it should be good to eat and enjoy.

Here quality means quality of the place. The seating arrangement, the waiters, the plates used for serving etc – everything which is not your primary need (food) but something which will make you feel good and nice.
In our case – This would mean having good communication skills, so that the client feels comfortable talking to us. Communication skill has two main areas – Verbal and Written.
Both of these should be good in us to be a true professional – someone with whom people would love to deal with.

With these 2 things you would have decided to go to a particular restaurant. Imagine there comes up another place in town which in addition to all these also does the following. It discusses with you about your mood and the reason for the outing and accordingly serves food or decorates the place. This would delight you to such an extent that you may always want to go to that place.

In our case – we can check with our client who our end customers would be and accordingly make the product suit their need. For example say our client is building a social networking site for senior citizens ( retired government officials, army personnel, etc ) . Then in such a website having bigger buttons will be good, or building an application in such a way that it is not too deep rather is more horizontal in terms of page spread, i.e to get to a page too many links are not followed – every parent page should have maximum 3 level below pages not more.
Imagine we actually giving such suggestions to our client and implementing it in the final product. Not only our client but our end user will also be impressed to a point where they might just want to work with us for ever.