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Contractor Spotlight – Kartik Aitha, Infrastructure Engineer

October 2017

“Kartik always exceeds expectations! He picks up new technologies very quickly (recently Win10 IOT), collaborates well with team members, and when faced with challenges (which is daily) and long hours, he continues to keep his head up high with a positive, can-do attitude. He is a great team player!!” – Sr. Technology Manager

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Incredible job to Apex contracted employee, Kartik on such glowing feedback from his manager! We’re thrilled to feature him as a ‘Contractor Spotlight’ and share a bit of his story and what tips he has for others.

Kartik is currently an Infrastructure Engineer, focused on backend and frontend systems, for a large retail company. After receiving his Masters in Computer Science and Engineering, he landed a great internship on an engineering team at a major technology solutions provider, where he did requirements gathering and analysis on engineering products. Kartik credits part of his career success to starting his career in a customer-facing capacity where he was part of the process to collect their requirements/needs and be part of the discussion on possible engineering solutions that then met those needs. A key skill in building great products is being able to truly understand the business problems, needs, pain points, etc. of the clients you’re supporting.

What advice do you have for others on becoming a top performer?

  1. Seek to understand the big picture perspective and understand your project, individual goals, and priorities through your manager’s eyes.
  2. Do your best to keep up to date with all the major technologies/tools you work with, especially new product releases.
  3. Explore and practice on your own time. I have a lab set up in my home environment, and I download products and play on my own to get acclimated and familiar with them.
  4. Use your network and consult and collaborate with the people around you.

So, learning and skills development is extremely important to you. What recommendations do you have for effective learning/skills development?

  1. Know what resources exist for accessing new products or versions that relate to your primary profession. As an example, I need to stay current with Microsoft networking product offerings, which I access through their online store. I can download new releases for free as a trial into my home lab environment.
  2. Find and consistently use a strong online technology training provider. Pluralsight is one of my favorite resources; it’s my preferred tool for learning!
  3. Find and leverage online forums, both as a contributor and benefactor. I’m also on GitHub and use the Reddit computer engineering forum. I’m very active in different messaging/discussion board forums, including posting questions/challenges to solicit feedback/suggestions as well as responding to others posts/issues. There are a lot of wonderful virtual technology communities out there that you can both give and receive from!

Are you a part of any peer groups?
Yes, I’m part of an informal engineering peer group as well! It consists of several folks I went to school with who were part of my engineering program. We stay in contact regularly, chat through problems, and exchange ideas. It’s a great forum for doing peer reviews from an outside perspective! We all know that we can always pick up the phone to talk through a problem we’re experiencing, or propose a coffee chat.

What do you think contributes to some people not reaching their full potential?
A lot of the time, it’s due to someone signing up for a role they’re not suitable for. Unfortunately, job descriptions have inaccuracies. People need to understand how to truly assess the job they’re interviewing for to then determine if that’s within their realm!

I’ve seen some instances where team members aren’t flexible to change. Especially in the technology world, people need to be adaptable to various situations and embrace change.

I’ve also seen stubbornness be a roadblock. It’s difficult for some people to ask for help or consult with others on alternate viewpoints. It’s always helpful to remember that you’ll never know everything, and therefore consulting with others can be extremely beneficial.

What other feedback have you received from current/past managers on your professional strengths?
That I never miss a deadline and am transparent/honest, even if it’s not an answer they want to hear! When I provide a target timeline/timeframe, I stick to it. I understand what’s realistic and what isn’t, and I’m honest with people when they propose a timeline that I don’t think is feasible. Some folks are “yes” men/women and overcommit or promise something that they know isn’t realistic, when it’s better to always be honest on the front end.

Any last thoughts/recommendations?
One of the most important traits you can develop and exhibit is versatility! Technology changes instantly, and you need to be comfortable learning new technologies, approaches, etc. Embrace change with an open mind!

Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies/interests?
I play soccer every Saturday and like exploring different coffee shops! Also, being a tech nerd, I play a lot of video games; some of my current favorites are Fallout 4, Skyrim, and Witcher 3.

Huge congratulations and kudos to Kartik on his contributions and recognition! Thanks for sharing some career advice with us!

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