In the daily grind of project deliveries, learning may not be the top priority in employees’ minds. As the head of “People and Culture” at Net Solutions, I strive to put in place programs that invest in long-term growth of our employees. “Wednesday Wisdom”, is one such program I started six months back.
The format of the program is deceptively simple. We gather best of our people for one hour every Wednesday. One of them takes the stage and talks about a relevant technology topic in detail and then, the floor is open to questions and answers.
In the past six months, we have discussed designing REST APIs, OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities, SVN workflow, identifying performance bottlenecks in web applications, using Google Analytics for tracking e-commerce transactions, and many other topics relevant to their work.
We invest the best of our thoughts working on anything and everything at Net Solutions. Likewise, we devote an equal amount of zeal and thoughtfulness in selecting the topics for the Wednesday sessions.
Our topics for discussions fall broadly into three categories:
1. Key Technology Concepts That Developers Find Hard to Implement
Here we focus upon all those technology concepts which our developers identified as the most challenging to execute. Sample web security as an example. Even a non-technology person like me can understand the significance of security of the applications that we develop. But when developers race against project deliveries, they struggle with practical questions on web security. How can we imbibe secure-coding practices during the development process, how to test the developed binaries for vulnerabilities and so on.
Rajnish Kumar Sharma, our resident web-security in-charge, led the discussion on OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities. We discussed and debated the required processes and tools to address the gap.
SVN workflow is another topic, we discussed, in this category. Should all development happen in the trunk? How to fix bugs found in production, as the development of next set of features essential technology concepts which our developers find difficult to implement. continue? Should we check-in configuration files with passwords? If not, how to handle automated deployments? Manish Garg led this interesting discussion.
2. Sharing the Practical Wisdom Experience and of Implementing The Latest Technologies With Other Teams
We propagate acquired knowledge. Over the 16 years of our journey, we have implemented diverse technology solutions for the breadth of industries. We have developed a Youtube-styled enterprise learning system, a ride-sharing app for family and friends, a location-based grocery marketplace and so on. In developing these applications, our developers have gained enormous practical knowledge in integrating with 3rd party systems, tuning applications to support more than 3000 concurrent users and so on.
We make it a practice to share such knowledge with all our developers so that they can build on existing institutional knowledge.
Amandeep Singh shared the practical knowledge on integrating an e-Commerce application with Shutl, a delivery service in the US & UK. We also had discussions about developers’ experiences in using Google Analytics for tracking e-commerce transactions.
Head of our PHP practice explained how to track performance bottlenecks in a large e-commerce application and tune the application (along with appropriate infrastructure) to support more than 3000 concurrent users.
3. Collaborating With External Experts To Get Best Out Of Both Worlds
We don’t want to stand on past laurels alone. We discuss latest trends too. For this, we don’t depend only on our own developers. We bring experts from outside, as well.
Rishabh Sharma(https://twitter.com/rishabhgarian), demonstrated how IoT (internet of things) works by controlling a light bulb with an Android app. Subsequently, he led an exciting discussion about IoT and its impact on different industries.
Srajit Sakhuja (https://twitter.com/Srajit3016) talked about using twitter for sentiment analysis. He showed how he gathered initial data for training the algorithm and how he proceeded to formulate an unsupervised algorithm. For both the talks, participants stayed back after the talks to interact with speakers clarifying so many questions.
From what I hear from my counterparts in the delivery team, these sessions are immensely helping to improve our delivery capability. From the perspective of my department (People and Culture), I see three indirect benefits that have accrued over these months.
We all know that everyone is afraid of public speaking. Since we encourage our developers to talk about what they know in front of the people they know, they never feel intimated by the whole engagement.
Time and again, I have noticed that our developers rehearse well and talk with ease during these sessions.
The public speaking exposure has helped our developers talk confidently during the client calls.
I have observed that their interactions during the Wednesday sessions have helped them bond well and communicate better.
We make consistent efforts to nurture the skills and knowledge of our employees and it our duty to bring out the best in them for the learning and inspiration of others.
Do you want to be part of the great learning culture at Net Solutions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to accelerate your career growth.