Winds of Change
More than a month has elapsed since I decided to undertake arguably the most drastic switch of my career thus far. Those readers connected to me through FB know already of my move to take up a position with Microsoft, Hyderabad, in the Bing group. The new job has felt like an entirely uncharted territory so far. I am no longer in the comforting cocoon of computer vision, and it has taken me a while to get used to that. After all, it’s something I had been immersed neck-deep in for over half a decade. Having said that, I am not at all averse to information retrieval or machine learning, and once I have learnt the ropes, I look forward to solving interesting problems therein.
Initially, I had confined my job search in Hyderabad to computer vision profiles. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t have even applied to Microsoft at that stage, had it not been for the insistence of few ultra-zealous consultants. However, it soon dawned upon me that there were precious little vision-based opportunities in the city unless I was willing to take a considerable pay cut. Thankfully, things panned out favourably in the MS interviews, the first and only set of interviews I needed to give this time around.
The decision to switch was dictated by manifold reasons, the most compelling of which was an Ankylosing Spondylitis treatment I am undergoing in Hyderabad, entailing daily visits to the clinic for a few months. That was closely followed by the fact that Sejal and (to a slightly lesser extent) I had become sick and tired of Noida. Moreover, Hyderabad presented me with the opportunity to reunite with my little sister Ruchi, an MS-by-Research student at IIIT-H (Btw, it’s uncanny as to how much our paths have overlapped – including school, bachelors college, masters college, engineering branch, and most importantly, ideology).
As much as I look ahead to what Hyderabad and Microsoft have in store for me, this is an apt time to reflect on the 2+ year stint in Noida with Kritikal Secure Scan – an IIT-D incubated small (70-odd-employee) firm. Hands down, KSS’s was the best job profile I have ever had (MS included). I thoroughly relished devising algorithms for real-life computer vision problems. The balance between research/exploration and coding was spot on. To cap it all off, I got the opportunity to lead a team in exploring and implementing computer vision algorithms. The only down side was that owing to a lack of peers at my level in the organizational hierarchy, I couldn’t develop any friendships to write home about (though I got acquainted with some great blokes). I guess I was reluctant to get overly casual with my boss, and those who reported to me were no different :). From early indications, MS seems to offer a brighter scenario in that regard.
Despite having already devoted a good chunk of the post so far to ‘why Hyderabad’, I’ve actually saved the best for the end: bridge – a captivating (mind) game of cards :). It’s been just a shade over two months in the city, and I have already played nearly as much bridge as I probably did in all my time in Noida! I reckon, this change of fortunes should be attributed to having a few Gujarati folks to hang out with. Over the years, I have denounced a couple of the typical Gujarati attributes (such as indiscriminate reverence of all things abroad), but I also value some (such as business enterprise and insights). May be, our preference to spend our leisure time playing is something I should add to the latter list :).