Everyone wants to be at a higher position in professional life, and there is nothing wrong with it. Just having technical knowledge isn’t enough for this. The chief technology officer ensures that current applications, hardware, and processes support the business goals and keeps the developers happy. CTO is one of the highest-ranking IT positions in a typical corporate hierarchy.
Today’s post is about an interview with Mr. Sanket Berde, the CTO at Blackcurrant Labs. He will guide us through his journey and give some tips for people in the tech industry.
- How you started your journey as CTO?
Well, I started my company right out of college, and let me tell you I was not qualified for it at the moment. I struggled a lot and learned a lot during my initial years. I think the reason I learned so much so quickly is that I was put in a position to make decisions by the circumstances around me.
- What are some challenges you have to face as CTO?
Choosing between competing technologies and frameworks, choosing between different cloud-based architectures, etc. Are some of the difficult challenges Ihave to face and there is no simple right and wrong.
- What is your exact role?
I am involved in the initial phase of a project at Blackcurrant. My role is to understand requirements and choose the best architecture considering scaling, cost, and performance requirements. I design the cloud architecture and build the CI-CD pipeline. I am also involved in the initial database design to make sure there are no bottlenecks.
- What all are the points that you take into consideration while taking technical decisions?
A decision based only on technology and the “technically” perfect way of doing things might not always be right. I need to make sure the team is comfortable with the new technology and the ecosystem around it is evolved enough so we can get support for years after release. That does not mean we never choose cutting-edge innovations which are recent, but we make those decisions in a calculated way.
- How do you approach a problem?
In terms of project related problems, When I spot a potential red flag, I never ignore it. In fact, that’s the first thing I focus all my energy on.
For technical problems or “bugs”
I go by the process of eliminating what’s not the problem, this way we can tighten the circle in which the bug lies one experiment at a time.
- What is your process of learning something new?
I always scan the documentation of a new project or framework before fully diving into it. Think of it as scanning the index of a book before reading it. Even if you skip a couple of the details, as you’ve read the index you can always come back to it later, but knowing it exists is very very important. Also, I try to go through documentation with an end goal in mind. So as I’m reading it, small things fall into place and I can spot features I’m going to use for things in the product that I’m building.
- How to handle tech emergencies like DB disasters or server meltdowns?
The unfortunate reality is that these things happen, even in the world’s best companies. The first thing to do if you’re in the middle of such a situation is to calm down. You’re of no use to anyone if you’re panicking. Always have a restoration strategy, point-in-time backups, and actually make your team practice a full restoration so when it happens in production, it’s not the first time your team is dealing with it.
- What is the most important skill/s one should have to be the CTO?
You should know a little bit of everything, not necessarily be an expert in everything, although that helps. Knowing how the tech logo connects is crucial and spend time figuring that out. I would state it as “Jack of all trades, master of Some”.
- What is your advice to a newcomer in the tech industry?
Try to put yourself in situations where you don’t know everything and there are large chunks of the puzzle you don’t understand. They will force you to pick up the pace with the team and you’ll end up learning a lot faster.
- What is the general advice you want to give?
Don’t be afraid to be opinionated and own your decisions. Also, don’t be defensive if you’re proven wrong. Rather accept the correct solution, reframe your opinions and move fast. Often times there is no one clear solution that fit’s all and you have to take calls based on the things you currently know but with a fair bit of unknowns in the equation. Don’t look back and blame yourself if what you chose was wrong. You did what you did with limited information and that’s ok.
I hope this article is helpful if you want to pursue your career as CTO. Thanks for reading.