In my ~14 years of experience in the software industry, I have worked in 3 companies (currently in my third). Prior to my current job, I spent a little over 2 years at Motorola Solutions (July 2008 - Nov 2010) and a little over 10 years at McAfee (Nov 2010 - Jun 2021).
While I had made some awesome friends at Motorola, I did not spend enough time to experience growth. Nor did I have the opportunity to witness products/programs growing from scratch to being used by thousands of end-users. However, I had an excellent mentor in PRam and some excellent friends, some of whom I am still in touch via social networks.
On the other hand, I spent over 10 years at McAfee, grew in my career, along with a mature, awesome product. Also, I was witness to a new product line being started from scratch and growing into a well-received popular set of products. I joined McAfee in November 2010, shortly after Intel announced its intention to acquire it (but not because of that), and worked there until June 2021.
In those 10 years, McAfee moved from being a public company to a subsidiary of Intel, then a private company that was spun off from Intel owned by private equity firms, then again went public and then part of it was sold to another private equity firm….
In those 10 years, the team that I belonged to moved from being part of Network BU to Content BU, back to Network BU, to Cloud Security BU to Cloud & Content Security BU to Network, Web and Data Protection
In those 10 years, the team worked on Email and Web Security (earlier known as WebShield), then the product was renamed to McAfee Email Gateway, which was eventually EOL in 2016, with support until 2021. Meanwhile, the focus in the company shifted to Data Protection and the team started working on the Network Data Loss Prevent solution/product suite.
In those 10 years, as seen above a lot of things changed.
But what did not change was the team - the people that worked together. This team was spread across 2 geos - Bangalore, India and Aylesbury, England. Between January 2011 and December 2018, the team of 20+ had about 4 people leaving voluntarily. As of January 2020, more than half the team members had spent over 15 years in the same team.
I used to tell those who joined our team more recently - This is not just a team, this is like an extended family. Those words aren’t rhetoric. The team was highly cohesive, cross-functional, supportive of each other, and backed each other without anyone asking them to do so, and in most cases knew each other personally. Work wasn’t always great - We had our share of mundane tasks. But the team spirit was always high. And the seniors in the team were quite willing to share their knowledge and experience.
I have the great fortune of having some great mentors - AJ, PN, HB, SchCr to name a few. I made life-long friends - AKR, HB, ACh, SV to name a few. I also had the opportunity to help and guide several junior members - TK, AM, DT, DMR to name a few.
In simple terms, it is the people that I worked with that made this job really great. A lot of what I want to say in these blog posts will be as much about the team, as about the learnings and experiences. The managers, colleagues, and friends there were extremely supportive of my career transition from a QA Engineer, to an Automation engineer, to an SDET, finally to being the Lead Developer.
I’ll end this first post with an expression of gratitude: To AK, ACh, and AR for hiring me; HB, SV, AR for trusting my abilities to transition from QA to other roles; ACh, PN, and HB for giving me the freedom to try doing things differently and trying new things; AKR for being my partner-in-craziness for many many years in trying to create some excellent tools, utilities, and frameworks; SSut for being the greatest QA Engineer-turned-Dev-turned-Architect that I’ve ever met; KSh, ACh, PN, BuSen, and SShre for role-models being automation engineers. SchCr for the design skills that I learned from his code; AJ for being the most humble, yet supremely knowledgeable mentor that one could imagine; and PN for tolerating all my tantrums and guiding me and mentoring me from my very early days at McAfee.
To be Continued… :)
To protect against social engineering attacks, where ever names of people are involved, I’ve used initials (or a variant to avoid ambiguity) instead of the full/real names of people. But most of my ex-colleagues who read these posts will be able to understand who I am referring to. :)
PS: I was part of McAfee Enterprise, which has since become Trellix
Edit 1: The tenure at McAfee was incorrectly mentioned as June 2022 in the 3rd paragraph. Corrected the typo.