“Data Is The Lifeblood Of All Organisations”

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With cloud adaption growing at a massive speed today, staying updated with latest technologies is the need of the hour. Manoj Sharma, HR director, NetApp India, talks about why developers should upskill themselves, skillsets in demand today, open source opportunities, hiring, academic and internship programs at NetApp with Ankita KS


Manoj Sharma HR director, NetApp India
Manoj Sharma HR director, NetApp India

Q. What skillsets are required for a developer to get hired in a company like NetApp?

A. Data is the lifeblood of all organisations, and in today’s digital era of business transformation, cloud computing is a lucrative skillset to acquire. Developers and young engineers should focus on building technology expertise in such domains as Agile development, DevOps and containers.

Full-stack developers are also one of the most sought-after roles these days.

At NetApp, we look for candidates who are strong in programming, database and DevOps skills such as C++, Kernel, Java, Angular JS, Node JS, Dockers, Containers, Kubernetes, Cloud Service APIs with microservices and Rest API. While we strive to get the exact fit for the roles, we also understand that the right mindset and attitude can help us train people from a different domain, provided their technical aptitude is strong.

Q. What is your advice to developers working on cutting-edge technologies?

A. Cloud adoption is growing at breakneck speed, and staying up to date on current technology trends is now more important than ever. Always be open to question, contribute and create. Borrow ideas from unrelated fields if it helps innovate.

Cloud development environment may still be somewhat new to developers and they must become familiar with new platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Q. What type of roles do you hire for?

A. Typical roles that we hire for are software developers, software architects, cloud architects, cloud operations engineers, automation developers, QA engineers, programming analysts and systems analysts.

Q. Tell us about NetApp’s academia partnership programmes.

A. NetApp collaborates with academia and universities on several levels. Other than internships, code-a-thons and university hiring programs, we run Academic Alliances Program and University Research Partnership Program.

University Research Program has been in force since 2007. Its primary focus is to collaborate with professors of international repute conducting research in technology areas of interest to NetApp.

The programme revolves around two types of fellowships granted to the institute. NetApp Faculty Fellowship (NFF) is the flagship grant, which NetApp provides to professors for furthering their research agenda.

The second type is where we support students more directly, and it is the central part of NetApp Student Fellowship (NSF). Here, we take recommendations from a professor on a student research project, typically a part of a larger project and provide grants on the same lines as NFF.

University Research Program has led to fruitful collaborations with reputed universities across the country. Through these partnerships, advances have been made in the areas of building systems that give early warning of impending system problems and pro-active problem avoidance.

These research relationships help identify important tech trends on the horizon. Spotting such trends, building expertise around them and finding out the implications is essential to remain at the cutting edge of technology.

Q. Could you brief about the Academic Alliances Program?

A. With this programme, we work with faculty at colleges and universities to provide them the curriculum and teaching resources to infuse storage, data management and cloud-related content into their curriculum. The goal is to help develop students’ expertise in data management technology and help build industry-ready talent to drive the ecosystem in long term.

We also provide access to shared learning resources like NetApp Massive Open Online Courses and Virtual Simulators, which provide an opportunity to gain industry certification, NetApp Certified Software Associate, which, in turn, increases their chances to gain better jobs.

Q. How does the internship programme help freshers be industry-ready?

A. The program is based on three Es, namely, education, exposure and experience. It has been built to provide meaningful work to enhance industry and NetApp knowledge, and also provide a diversity of interaction through cross-functional engagements with senior leadership. Internships can be converted into full-time employment.

Q. What are the selection criteria for the internship?

A. There are various criteria including partner colleges, and eligibility in terms of degree, branch and graduation percentage. We hire after rounds of online tests and interviews.

Q. How do you motivate your team?

A. NetApp is an employee-first company. It is our employees who bring the energy, passion and mettle it takes to achieve our vision. Our leadership plays a crucial role in employee motivation and leads by example.

Innovation is vital to us, and all-round health of employees is important to prepare a fertile ground for disruptive ideas. We look at well-being holistically by providing flexible working hours.

NetApp Employee Assistance Program is an all-round wellness programme available 365 days a year. We also have an on-site doctor and ergonomist. Our Bengaluru campus has varied opportunities for recreation and comfort for employees.


This interview was first published online on 21 August 2019, read the full interview here.

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