Careers at Calcey, an engineer’s story

Rajitha Egodaarachchi is a software engineer working for Calcey Technologies; a Colombo based offshore software development facility catering to clients in the San Francisco bay area. Rajitha has been a fast track performer and was recently nominated by his managers for a promotion as a senior software engineer, in recognition of his abilities and dedication. I caught up with Rajitha during his afternoon tea break on Friday, 02-Nov, to learn more about his work experiences and interests.

Sanduni: Welcome to the interview, Rajitha, and congrats on your upcoming promotion. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Rajitha: Thanks Sanduni. Well, I’m a software developer working presently for Calcey Technologies. I’m 24 years old, and a graduate in IT. I’ve been working at Calcey for the past two years.

Which university did you study, and what subjects did you major in?
Rajitha: I got my degree from Curtin University, Australia offered offshore through SLIIT campus in Malabe, back in 2010. It was a”general degree”  in Information Technology. The subjects I studied however were focused towards software engineering.

Sanduni: Why did you pick software engineering as a career?
Rajitha: I had a passion for this subject from my school days. I got to do a lot of interesting little software projects while at the IT Club of St. Peter’s College, which ultimately paved the path for my working in the software development sector. I’s the buzzword of our time and whatever we do ends up having an information technology component in it. People literally hangout in cyberspace today, like on Facebook or Twitter, and almost every business we can think of can potentially be on the Internet. So I thought that specializing in this area would make my life interesting. The software industry is booming with new inventions every day.

Sanduni: Indeed. So why did you decide to join Calcey Technologies?
Rajitha: Well, a few companies called me for interviews. As soon as I got into the premises of Calcey I felt like it had the ideal environment for me to begin my career. I always wanted to join a “not so big” company that is well established in the trade. Calcey is a sort of boutique firm, where seniorfolks are always available for brainstorming, where there is easy access to resources, including Facebook and YouTube [laughs], and where the salary scales are good. Besides, I saw that we could play games in the evening or even shoot each other with NERF guns! I just loved the “developer-friendly” environment that I was introduced to.

Sanduni: What was the first project you worked in? Tell us what the experience was like..
Rajitha: It certainly was challenging. I landed on a C# project called Vertical Platform (later I got to know it as one of the coolest projects to work at Calcey). I was a new entrant to the industry… even though I was working at HSBC previously I had minimal development experience. So I had to work a lot harder to understand the requirements, the design concepts, and basically everything that is expected from the role of a Software Engineer. There were tons of stuff to learn, ranging from configuration management using GIT, to how to keep my cool under pressure.

Sanduni: How would you describe the work environment at Calcey?
Rajitha: Very appealing. Resources ranging from books to laptops are always available without restriction. We have an ethical, heterogeneous setup, and maintain high standards in terms of the industry practices. You can always speak to the management about issues. Plenty of stress relieving activities is available like computer games, foosball, carom or even a small in-house gym. You will find peers always giving out a helping hand as well as experienced seniors mentoring us with new concepts. Everyone’s informal and on a first name basis. The leads are also straight talking, and will point out your mistakes openly and often [laughs].

Sanduni: So Rajitha, what are your hobbies and interests? How do you make it all worth it personally?
Rajitha: I play computer games, sleep [laughs], swim, dance and work on personal R&D projects in my free time; I just hang out with friends on weekends. We do pub and club once in a while and all the latest movies are watched by us!

Sanduni: Great! Ok so do you really like your job? I mean, what improvements do you expect to see in your career in the future?
Rajitha: Yes I do like my job. The job I currently do is the profession I wanted to be, it goes without saying. Moving forward, once I grasp the engineering aspects completely, I would seek to manage projects. Thus I’m looking forward to beginning my postgraduate studies in the coming months. I think it will be helpful with my long-term career.

Sanduni: What was your learning experience like at Calcey itself?
Rajitha: Calcey practices Scrum, the most successful agile project management methodology that I know of, and I’m proud to have adjusted to an agile mindset. I also had to learn Objective-C and iOS development in double-quick time. It’s easy to switch between programming languages here, as there are experts in the domain that you can learn from. SQL, asp.net, MVC, iOS and JavaScript are a few areas of expertise that I tapped into, but I am aware that we also use other languages and frameworks like Python on AppEngine or even older technologies like ColdFusion.

Sanduni: What’s your best moment at Calcey? Is there anyone particular incident that sticks in your mind?
Rajitha: I’ve nothing in particular to single out, but the zillion birthday parties, farewell parties, trips outstation and hangouts are equally memorable for me. We are getting ready for a birthday party this evening, as you know…

Sanduni: Okay. Is there any advice you’d like to give to a newbie joining the industry?
Well, being a newbie myself just over two years back, I certainly felt the stern pressure put upon me when working towards deadlines coding complex features. Looking back after two years, the experience that one gains the hard way would be the best one could get, and would lay the foundation for a long and successful career that awaits you. Never be afraid to work hard, and play hard!

Sanduni: Thank you for your time Rajitha –  and good luck!