THE INDUSTRY EXPERT: Sreekanth Iyer—Find Yourself a Career Mentor

By Masha Tseveen.

Welcome to  Industry Expert Interview Series. Pleased to  feature Sreekanth Iyer from IBM India Software Lab. Please join the conversation by sharing your thoughts below!

New PictureSreekanth Iyer is an Executive IT Architect on the IBM Security Systems (CTO) team, focusing on building IBM cloud security solutions. He is an IBM certified and Open Group certified Distinguished Architect with over eighteen years of industry experience. He has over 18 years of experience and has led several client solutions across multiple industries. He is an expert on cloud computing, information security, service-oriented architecture, event processing, and business process management. He currently works at the IBM India Software Lab. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter @sreek.

Can you tell us a bit about what you are doing in your current role?

Currently I work in the Chief Technology Officer office of IBM Security Systems Division. As part of my role as the Cloud Security Architect, I drive technical strategy and vision for IBM cloud security. As part of my job, I work with clients to understand customer scenarios and requirements on cloud security and on the other side work closely with our security product management and development teams to deliver the required capabilities in our products and solutions.

Share us about some of the world-class products and services IBM India Software lab is currently working on

Our security products and capabilities are delivered across multiple labs across the globe. We collaborate across various IBM locations and divisions to deliver the best solutions and integrations to the customer. The India security team focuses on the developing some of latest in terms of Identity and key management software which includes aspects like federation, privileged identity management, etc. I work on integrating some of these capabilities with some of the latest Cloud offering from IBM like IBM SoftLayer (IaaS) and IBM BlueMix (PaaS).

What skills and know-how’s should modern architects/developers gain to keep current with the latest in technology trends?

If we look at multiple surveys and studies show our talent pipeline in information security skills as extremely weak and more than 86% of IT students in India are not aware of cyber security skills. Only a meager percentage of the IT students can write secure code. We also see that many of the security programs being offered in colleges are not updated to reflect the latest threat and security landscape. Modern architects/developers should learn to produce secure software and should be skilled/trained to build solutions that are secure by design. They should also learn about the challenges and opportunities with the mega trends like cloud, mobile-bring your own device (BYOD), internet of things, social and big-data. Apart from technical skills, we also need to develop leadership and soft skills to speak with new buyers and Line of Business users.

If you were hiring people for your team, what qualities would your look for?

With the changing landscape of how IT solutions are developed and delivered, people have to be extremely good in learning new things fast. We are required to be very agile in terms of delivering incremental capabilities to the customer. People who can design, develop and deliver the next generation innovative solutions that are “born in the cloud” as well that are social, mobile and leverages analytics are going to be in demand.

How did you get started in tech? When you look at your career today, what excites you the most?

I was a lateral hire with around 4+ years work experience from outside. I started my career at IBM as a support engineer at Java Technology Center in 1999. “Solutions for a small planet” was an advertising slogan used by IBM in the 1990s. This slogan had a profound influence on me and inspired me to take up the IT Architect path. I was interested in building solutions but to be an architect required more skills.

I explored the Architect profession further and understood that it was about working closely with customers and providing a technical solution to solve their business problems. This required that you need not just the depth in few areas but the breadth in terms of understanding the industries, businesses as well as our larger portfolio of products and services.

I kept learning about our products and services and reading up on different industry segments on my own. When the lab services and solutions team was formed in 2005, I joined that team which provided me the opportunity to work with customers and apply the knowledge.

But to grow as an architect, it was required that you prove your skills, experience as well as knowledge through getting certified. IBM has provided me opportunities to learn and apply my skills as an Architect. I’ve a rich experience building solutions based on SOA, Cloud, Information Security, Event Processing for multiple customers and industries across the globe.

The customer’s problems and issues are not the same that we addressed 10 years ago. The new solutions are more complex and are being developed and delivered for new geographies. So you need to develop new skills, knowledge as well as make adjustments to the methods to build the next generation Solutions. I love learning and my job requires me that I keep learning so that I can deliver on these new challenges. This is an exciting time to be in when the way we are consuming and delivering IT is changing drastically.

On acquiring and sharing knowledge…

I have a good network through participating in various communities of interest internally and externally. I rely on this strong network of coworkers, professionals across the company and outside whenever I’m in need of any urgent information. I keep myself updated on the new trends, by taking relevant online courses internally available through Think Academy and IBM University. I’ve also signed up for few of the massive open source online courses. I publish a lot of my learning through my blogs ( and share relevant content to my network through Facebook and Twitter. I get to share and learn with my interactions with academia. I’ve conducted various IBM workshops at multiple campuses on Cloud, Cyber Security, SOA, etc which is another platform for me share and gain knowledge.

What three pieces of advice would you give to people who would like to follow a career path similar to yours?

Below are the three things that have helped me to grow in my career.

1. Take ownership and if you believe in something, follow your passion and belief right through the end. Even if you get push-backs, don’t quit. Think differently and look for alternate ways to solve the problem.

2. Find yourself a mentor – A career mentor can help you whenever you run out of options. Use them to validate and reflect on your actions and decisions.

3. Keep Learning & provide give back. The day you stop learning, your value will also drop. Share your learning, so that you can help the other person learn in less than half the time that you took to learn a topic.

Anything else you would like to share?

Building your technical eminence and excellence is critical for your growth in this digital world. Social Media can help in this. Leverage it.


***Source :

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IBM Career Exploration, 7 March, 2013

IBM India is hosting an online career exploration event on the 7th of March, 2013.

Why should you attend?

The half day virtual event is a great way for university students and new graduates to hear from and interact with IBMers who are among the world’s leading experts in their chosen fields – in business, technology and research and development.

You can explore career opportunities, chat with subject matter experts and explore specific job roles. While you are there, stop by the various information booths, network and understand how to position yourself in a highly competitive job market. You can also make a quick visit to the resource center, download collateral to learn more about IBM India and familiarize yourself with our learning and development programs.

To be a part of this event, register today.

Together, let’s build a Smarter Planet.

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Women campus hires power IT workforce

The Times of India featured IBM’s leadership in recruiting women.

Reporters: Sujit John & Shilpa Phadnis, TNN

BANGALORE: In a landmark for the IT industry, maybe for most industries, IBM India has this year hired more women than men during its campus recruitment. This is significant because it’s happened in an industry where mass recruitment is the norm.

Of the campus recruitments done by IBM India till June, 52% were women — a quantum leap from the 38% in 2011 and 32% in 2010. IBM doesn’t disclose the numbers it hires, but large IT companies in India have hired over 30,000 people in recent years. Of these, about 70% have been campus hires.

Of the 265 engineers SAP Labs India hired this year, 42% are women, up from 34% last year. For Cisco India, the figure is 22% this year, down from last year’s 25%, but significantly higher than 16% in 2010.

The significant jump in the number of women hired by leading IT firms is remarkable especially because, as IBM’s recruitment leader for India Vardanahalli A Rangarajan notes, the average admission of women across engineering colleges in India is just 18%. Most companies have been working with placement cells in colleges to achieve these high numbers.

IBM says a major reason is awareness about facilities offered to women employees. “Our flexible work policies, the workfrom-home option, the ability to customize working hours are big attractions,” says Kalpana Veeraraghavan, diversity manager in IBM India.

Rangarajan says IBM has many women role models, including CEO Virginia Rometty.

SAP Labs targets the few women’s engineering colleges, including the Cummins Engineering College, Pune, and Meenakshi Engineering College, Chennai. It also conducts an online recruitment test for women across all engineering colleges on International Women’s Day. “It’s for women doing computer science and with a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of about 8. This year, 3,000 took the test. We flew in over 200 women to Bangalore for the final interviews, and selected 45,” says Anil Warrier, director for staffing, SAP Labs.

For the past five years, Cisco has been organizing every year a programme called Girls in Technology, where about 100 engineering graduates are invited to the company’s campus in Bangalore and exposed to the labs, work environment and culture.

Protima Achaya, Cisco’s lead for scaling services staffing in Asia-Pacific and Japan, says flexible workhours and excellent creche facilities are big attractions . “The number of women who join Cisco after this programme has been increasing every year. Such recruits tend to stay on for long,” she adds.

Accenture doesn’t disclose its women recruitment numbers. However, a spokesperson told TOI: “We have exclusive campus engagement programmes for women. We have Diversity Zones, a campus event which talks about several aspects of working at Accenture. Students get an opportunity to interact with senior women leadership and young achievers, who share their experiences about working at Accenture and how they are able to manage the work-life balance.”

At HCL Technologies, the overall percentage of women is almost 25, but the campus recruitment percentage is only 12. However, Srimathi Shivashankar , AVP for diversity and sustainability, says the percentage has been steadily rising and HCL has women-focused recruitment drives.

It’s increasingly acknowledged that diversity at the workplace is not only good in itself, but also has a profound influence on the operations of an organization. “Numerous studies show that increasing gender equality enhances productivity and economic growth. The best ideas flourish in a diverse environment, and companies benefit from accessing female talent,” Shivashankar says.

Adds IBM’s Kalpana Veeraraghavan : “When you mirror external reality at the workplace, employees feel more at home, and they behave more naturally. And that environment enables us to access a lot more talent.” At IBM, the overall percentage of women still remains about 28%, but the most recent initiatives suggest that the number could quickly rise to the ideal 50%.

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Hiring the Perfectly Abled!

IBM has a long standing commitment to diversity in the workplace and equal opportunities. The company believes that people should not be discriminated against, because of race, creed, religion or their physical limitations.

The hiring of the first candidate who was differently abled, as early as 1914, is ample proof to the strong emphasis IBM places on inclusivity in the work place.

In line with this focus, IBM India Recruitment conducted an all India Hiring event for candidates with disabilities on the 8th of September 2012. The event was conducted across 5 IBM locations – Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune & NCR. All arrangements were made to ensure an excellent candidate experience. While the Employee Referral team constantly endeavored to publicize the event, garner support from fellow IBMers and ensure a smooth execution, the operations, facilities and security teams at each of the locations supported the recruitment team in all their efforts.

What did the one day event result in?

As many as 68 candidates were selected for offers as a result of this hiring drive and most candidates who interviewed with IBM were appreciative of the nature and the scale of the hiring event. This defines success at IBM – Empowering others and fostering their progress.

Be a part of this ongoing journey. Be an IBMer. Our Employee referral channel is always open for all candidates.


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Know why IBM India is the thriving career platform

India with its rich heritage, diverse culture and a thriving IT work force provides the perfect platform for IBM, a company that is itself known for its values, ethics, and innovations. Since inception, read more

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IBM – by the people, for the people.

Right from the start, IBM’s constant pursuit has been to create an environment where employees are happy to be a part of the culture and workforce. We believe the first step to running a business, read more

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Campus Hiring – Work for the World with Pride!

At IBM, we unite different cultures, languages, professions and perspectives in one globally integrated enterprise. It helps us to fuel our rapid growth in markets all over the world, read more

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Managing Gender Diversity, the IBM Way

From hiring first woman employee in 1899 to naming Fran Allen as the first female IBM fellow in 1989, our commitment to diversity is rooted in the philosophy of our founders. read more

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IBM Diversity – Not just a program but a culture

In the year 1899, IBM hired its first woman employee. It was long before women won the right to vote in the country. Then the company hired its first employee with a disability in 1914; read more

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IBM – A Way of Life… Contd

If you’ve read my previous blog post, you will now have a fair amount of understanding about the work culture and ‘the way of life @IBM’. read more

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