Open Source offers the most effective way of learning, that is ‘Do It Yourself’

I have known Divyansh Verma (Manager Software Development, Intel) since we met at Open Source India’s first event at Bengaluru (India) in 2012. He’s always been a strong proponent of Open Source. But, he’s one of the rare techies, who’s also passionate about business, and takes a keen interest in tech start-ups, and mergers and acquisitions…

Q. Can you describe your current role? What are the primary results that you are expected to achieve for your organization in this role?

A. As the senior technical manager, I am responsible for planning, architecture and design and delivery of a product line. We develop products based on next-generation Wi-Fi technology, with AI, mesh networking (Zigbee, BL, Z-wave) etc. Plus, work closely with marketing and develop strategy for business.

Q. What are the things that excite you–about this role?

A. Being closer to cutting edge technology and how it shapes the future of mankind, make life better. This role enables me to work closely on the “next frontier” technologies in wireless, that will significantly impact the connected planet. In this role, I regularly think and innovate on bringing human and machines closer.

Q. What’re the top 2 or 3 challenges for you in this role?

A. Getting the right skills, protecting the IP, Innovation towards next technology that will impact the world.

Q. Is this the kind of role that you had dreamt of when you were in college? If not, how did the shift happen? Are you happy with it?

A. It’s a great role, matches my 90% of expectation, except that my contribution for India is less.

Q. Can you explain the comment “contribution for India is less”?

A. In my role, I mostly develop technologies for the global audience and focus is not much on Indian use cases.

Q. What are the skill sets and academic background needed to reach this role?

A. Good electrical (electronics) and computer science knowledge, analytical skills. Domain knowledge is very important, so an engineering degree or a masters in electronics or computer science will be helpful.

Q. Is keeping up-to-date with latest technologies and their applications—a challenge for you? If yes, how do you handle the same?

A. It is a challenge, and Internet, reading, discussions with colleagues and like-minded people, attending conferences etc, help me to keep pace.

Q. What are the growth options (career) from here onwards?

A. Take techno-commercial roles with larger impact on industry, unlock value in new greenfield markets etc. My next aspired role is heading a business unit, which can merge streams such as artificial intelligence and machine learning with IoT and create beneficial solutions for the society.

Q. For youngsters dreaming to fill in your shoes—what would be your advice to them? What aspects should they work on to reach here?

A. Love for technology, innovation, good background on systems, passion to learn. Use open source for learning.

Q. Why the emphasis on open source for learning?

A. Because open source offers the most effective way of learning, that is ‘Do It Yourself’. There is no limit to the depth, one can go to when working with Open Source

Q. What are the key mistakes that you made that you think you should have avoided in hind-sight? Any learnings?

A. Could have completed a PhD in systems. It could have helped me become more knowledgeable in my domain and yes I am open to pursue it even now.

Q. Any good leaders that you worked for? What did you learn from them?

A. Yes. Perseverance and commitment.

Q. Any bad leaders (need not name them)? Any learnings from them?

A. Leaders who are only there because of their position only. These do not add value, but they demand respect just because they have a fancy designation.

Q. What is your leadership style in terms of managing your people? Any mantras that you have developed/follow to lead your team?

A. Lead by example, lead by knowledge, lead by compassion.

Q. How do you balance time between work and personal life?

A. I am a great proponent of time management during work. Plus, by being consistent and disciplined.

Q. If you were in college right now—what would you want to be in the next 5 years?

A. A successful entrepreneur.

Q. What stops you from pursuing that ambition–now?

A. A mental barrier that I am 40-plus and hence my risk appetite is low.

Q. What are the three things you’d like people to say at your retirement party?

A. Divyanshu always had a way (solution). Divyanshu is always very positive. Divyanshu always dreams big.

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