Life lessons from our youngest Tech Lead

Nandini Patel

August 2, 2021

We generally hear a lot of developers say that they always knew they wanted to be a techie. That was not the case for me. My background in engineering was in Electronics and Communication. I was one of those students who couldn’t sit through writing yet another calculator program or doing a palindrome check. But everything changed once I started coding professionally.

A first time for everything

It was a whole new world of problem solving, analysis, scenario-based reasoning and logic. I soon realised that I enjoyed it! Writing code was just the final step in the process. I was working with AS/400 (now Cgidev2) at the time, when I came across the opportunity to interview with TVS Next. I joined as a second member to the team working with a large US based healthcare facility.

Part of the engagement was to develop web applications on top of the existing client system, and I had no prior experience with web-based applications. The next 2 months were a period of rapid learning where I learnt on the job, in addition to taking web programming courses through e-learning at work. My first year at TVS Next made for an incredible experiential journey of learning and meeting challenges head on. All the effort I put in paid off and reflected in the form of appreciation notes from impressed clients who extended our engagement.

An ode to learning

At the end of my first year here, I was promoted to Senior Software Developer. Our team grew, and the following year, I was offered the opportunity to lead the team. I’ve always believed that growth is all about moving out of your comfort zone. So, keeping myself open to newer challenges worked in my favor. It’s also one of the best things about TVS Next. They firmly believe in everyone’s potential.

Today, I lead a team of people that I love working and interacting with, just as much as I’ve come to love coding. But I continue to stay hands-on. A good chunk of my day goes off in managing the engagement with the client and my onshore counterparts. I prioritize my team’s needs, making sure we’re all on the same page, and helping them out whenever they get stuck. The rest of my time is spent coding and learning new things.

Celebrating small wins

Not everything you do has to have a major impact. There are applications that I’ve developed on my own. Knowing that what I developed works well within a system of 300 odd applications is a matter of pride, even if the functionality is minor.

Being around inspirational people also teaches you a lot. I didn’t plan to become a team lead. But I’ve always looked up to the people here leading and representing their teams. I wanted to be just as inspiring.

Looking ahead

A major part of my future plans is learning. The current client will soon undergo modernization of their legacy systems. I want to learn the new tech stack so that I can continue to be part of the engagement.

I’m still new to this lead role and I want to be better. I’ve worked out a parallel path with my internal mentors, to learn project management and become a certified scrum master. A little further into the future, I see myself taking on data engineering. It seems like an interesting space with huge potential.

The makings of a good developer

I’d say a good developer needs 3 things. Analytical skills and programming are key to getting tech work done. But efficiency is just as important. It’s not about the hours you spend working, but how much work actually gets done.

The other thing any developer would benefit from, is looking at the big picture. Even a single line of code can impact the entire system. So always looking out for and being mindful of how your code interacts with other components and applications, is a necessary skill.

I’m also a firm believer in “anybody can code”. I know from experience that coding doesn’t need to come naturally, for someone to be a good developer. All you need is the focus, and the logical understanding of how it works. There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of.


Nandini Patel

Lead Software Engineer

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