A Titanic Technologist: Indranil Sarker
In the wake of NES 2016, the innovators at NIT-R had a serendipitous opportunity to meet and interact with some of the most dynamic minds of the country. Present among them was Mr. Indranil Sarker, an alumnus of NITR of the 1990 batch. Hailing from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, he is a Principal Consultant at Tata Consultancy Services. The Innovator’s Camp at R.M. hall was inaugurated by him. He is part of the governing council of NASSCOM. In a tete-a-tete with the tech giant, MM explores multiple facets of his life. Excerpts from the interview:
MM: Can you tell us about the time you spent in NIT Rourkela?
IS: Over the years, I have had the opportunity to come to the college a few times. The college has significantly changed, things have been modernized, and the infrastructure has grown. We still yearn for those small moments of happiness in life. It was far less stressful those days. In retrospect, the four years were fantastic. I still cherish the bonds I made in the college and our friendship continues to stay strong owing to modern technology that has helped us stay in touch. I got my B. Tech degree in Computer Science and Engineering from NIT-R, following which I joined TCS. Our batch was the first, as far as CSE is concerned and we are all doing well. I have no regrets when I look back into those times and feel thrilled to have embarked on the journey called NIT-R.
MM: Please shed some light into your professional career.
IS: As I mentioned before, I joined TCS after completing my under graduation, following which I have continued to work for them. During my time here, I have been associated with various departments, starting from the Training department to R&D department. I also had a stint at the HR department.
MM: Do you think the ‘Make in India’ campaign will achieve its purpose?
IS: We find that our market is flooded with imported products starting from plastic hairclips to various electronic devices. Can we not produce simple things like hairclips in our country? As a technologist, I believe that we should focus our energy on creating things that really matter. Only then shall the campaign achieve international success. Channelling energy towards developing cutting edge technology that improves our resilience is the proper way to go.
MM: Graduates are moving out of their comfort zones and exploring new avenues in the form of start-ups and businesses. What measures do you suggest be taken by them for proper funding?
IS: I sincerely believe that if an entrepreneur has a good proposition, money will find its way to them. Their product should have an edge over other competitors and should be one of their kind which the competitors won’t be able to replicate. Only then the money from the investors will flow in. Investors don’t like to invest on risky endeavours.
Funding flows in as long as you have a good product.
Reach out to the right people using your connection assets and you have good mentors to guide you. Stay in touch with your alumni network, and get to know people from various fields of life. Pick up learnings from wherever it is possible.
MM: The start-up culture is not very prominent in NIT-R. What is your suggestion to improve it?
IS: With the advancement of the technology, the students have access to information and knowledge from across the world within the confines of their rooms. If the students engross themselves in a particular subject and utilize their time properly, endless possibilities will present themselves. We did not have many opportunities back in the 90s. I learnt programming in the second semester or possibly second year at NIT-R. However, there are students today who have mastered programming at very young ages. What I want to say is that a person should explore himself/herself and the multiple avenues presented, utilize the vast resources available and not be afraid to take risks.
MM: What do you have to say about the Innovator’s Camp and NES in general?
IS: I appreciate the effort of all coordinators and thought it was conducted well. Many of the ideas showcased in that were laudable and I had a good time. I’m very happy that NIT-R has put itself on a pedestal and events of such quality are being presented. I am a globetrotter and have visited many premier institutions like MIT and Berkeley’s. Competing on a global scale, I think NIT-R’s getting there. But the crowd needs to get out of their comfort zone and strive to create a world class product.
MM: What message do you want to leave for the NIT-R populace?
IS: Like I said before, the advent of technology has allowed us to expand our horizons beyond what anyone could imagine. But, Indians are shackled by various dogmas persisting in our society. Break those shackles. Set a conscious goal for yourself and try to achieve excellence in wherever your passion lies, be it arts, music or technology. Look at the best things persisting in the world and try to rise to surpass that standard.
Shoot for the moon and you’ll find your place among the stars.