Conversation with Abhai Rai Sharma – The Incredible 25 Years with Softlink
1. Brief about Career Journey Before Softlink
I joined Softlink as a trainee programmer in Nov. 1994. When I joined, We were a team of three developers that included Myself, Girish and a guy Named Vipin. We also had another developer who wasn’t into application development; he was looking after the copy protection system. The other guys left soon and the responsibility of entire software development fell on our shoulders. I found a great colleague and friend in Girish and we kept working together complimenting each other. We were later joined by Chetan Patel and then Chetan Parulekar and I am glad to say that we are together till date.
As the company grew and the size of the development team grew, my responsibilities too increased. I started managing teams and today I am responsible for the entire software development of the organization. That briefly sums up my journey.
2. Brief about your Interview Experience in Softlink
Well, it was good. I had to undergo a basic test followed by a small programming task. Amit Sir interviewed me and gave me the job offer which I readily accepted.
3. How was your first day at Softlink?
I was curious and happy.
4. What was your Initial achievement in Softlink?
My first application was named SeaFrate, unfortunately, we sold just one license of it.
5. What did you find most challenging in Softlink initially?
I loved programming so work was never a problem. However, I was a perfectionist and I used to do things the best way I could, so I always found it challenging to adhere to the timelines.
6. Have you ever thought to switch job?
Yes, during the initial years, but once that was settled, I never thought about it.
7. What made you stay back for such a long span in Softlink?
After a few years in the company, I developed a bond with Amit Sir and colleagues, and it started feeling like home. It still does.
8. You may have come across many proudest moments so far, we would like to know some of them which you may wish to highlight?
I believe in being humble, not proud. Yet, since you have asked, I will try to recall some of the work that I believe was challenging and made a positive impact on the organization and everyone was happy including myself.
The first important project that comes to my mind was converting the DOS applications to protected mode to overcome memory limitations. In those days we were struggling a lot with this memory issue and it had become a nightmare. It involved rewriting some parts of standard Clipper library, C library in low-level languages like assembly and C. Without Google and without any prior experience of doing such thing, it was very challenging, at times frustrating also when I used to get stuck, but finally, it was done and I believe it was a great feeling of accomplishment then. Since this was my first work, it was special. Thereafter, it’s been a long journey and I have worked on numerous other projects that were challenging and I feel quite satisfied with my efforts.
9. Has being a leader changed you as a person?
Yes, it indeed has. Staying motivated is one thing, and motivating others is another thing. With leadership come responsibilities, expectations and sometimes criticism as well. So one needs to be very cool-headed to withstand the pressure.
10. What do you like most about Softlink?
Softlink does not treat its employees as just resources, it believes in building and maintaining a relationship with the person, and I believe that’s a great thing.
11. How do you find the culture of Softlink? Is it changed now or the same as when you have joined?
I already said that I find myself at home when I am in office; that sums up how I feel. As far as the change in the culture is concerned, I would say that the culture always evolves and we too are evolving. Many things have changed for good and I feel today we have a very healthy work environment.
12. What remains to be accomplished as a professional?
Software Industry has always been in a state of flux. New technologies, new methodologies, new ways of doing things keep emerging to address the ever-increasing computing challenges. So there is and there will always be a lot to learn and a lot to do.
13. What is “Softlink” for you? Would like to know your overview on Softlink?
After joining Softlink, I have spent most of my life inside the office, I have not just worked here, I have lived here, learnt here, I have made friends here. You can say Softlink is home to me.
14. How do you feel now when you look back? How Softlink has shaped up your career? Has Softlink played a very important role in your life?
Well, I have already said that Softlink is my home, even professionally. Today I am heading the development department of Softlink, which is an honour in itself. So I would say I am quite happy with the way my career has shaped up in Softlink.
15. What message would you like to give for Softlinkers?
I would say, learn something new every day and stay focused. Keep learning & keep evolving. Evolve is our motto.