Born and raised in New Delhi, India, until a year ago Swati had never left her home country. Now Swati resides in the Dutch province of Gelderland, working as an Integration Consultant for one of the fastest growing tech companies in the Netherlands.
Hi Swati. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to Rojo?
I finished my university education in 2012 in computer engineering back in India, then I got recruited straight from college by a big multinational consulting firm. That’s where my journey with SAP began. New graduates recruited fresh from college usually undergo an orientation training, where you learn about industry trends and landscapes.
After a few years, I moved to another big consulting firm, which was a similar story. I was there just for a few months when I connected with Rojo via LinkedIn. For me, it was a long shot, I had no idea it would all work out and I would find myself moving from New Delhi to the Netherlands to work!
How did you feel about moving across the world for your job?
I believe that when you have the right support from people, it becomes easy. Support from family plays a very big role in it, because decisions this big often need a lot of deliberation, especially if you have a partner; their support is essential. It’s also very important to have a frank and open discussion with your employer about where you are going, what the office atmosphere is like, the company culture, so you can get a bigger picture and place yourself into that specific context and think about whether or not you could be happy and fulfilled in that environment.
Can you tell us about the work that you are doing?
I’m in the process of becoming an Integration Architect, but right now I am an Integration Consultant, learning the craft. An architect’s job needs a certain level of experience and exposure as well. Technically within a few years I should become one, especially with the exposure I am being given here.
When I look back at my years of experience in my previous roles for the giants, and look at my one year here at Rojo, I have without doubt learned more than those previous years put together. The growth is tremendous, the opportunities are real. The best thing is, you get to do what you really like. I have added a lot of new skills, tools, and techniques to my repertoire.
Is your work solitary or more collaborative in nature?
It’s a healthy mix. We get personal projects usually within the research and development aspect of Rojo. You have the opportunity to develop an idea with a goal in mind and it is up to you to execute this. At the end of the project you present it to the team during one of our monthly pizza sessions, which is an interactive platform for knowledge and ideas sharing, as well as brainstorming new projects and exploring new trends.
Then, there is the consultancy aspect of the company, which is very client focused. You typically go to the customer and speak with them in-depth to get a good understanding of their issue and the solution we can provide. There are always a set of people that know the business very well and a set of people that know the technology very well, the key is to be the bridge between both of those islands. That is the job of an integration consultant: developing technical solutions to business challenges.
Integration isn’t yet a very well-known industry within tech, would you agree?
Unfortunately, there is not much hype about integration, and it’s something that people tend to overlook. But its impact is huge. When it’s a good day at the office, everything simply runs as smoothly as it should. Only when something stops functioning you realise how crucial it is.
Our work as integration consultants is to ensure all those pieces work together. If you have ten stand-alone systems, then there won’t be any synergy. So, we streamline business processes and ultimately, businesses. My job is to go to the customer, understand their processes and work to automate it. In this process, we remove a lot of opportunity for error and manual actions that were needed before.
Do you ever get clients that have a vision of what the end goal is, but they don’t know how to articulate it?
Exactly, we act as an interpreter. Usually when you visit with the client, it’s not uncommon that they don’t know exactly what they need. You have to put it in to context, understand their perspective: what industry are they coming from? What are the business goals? What are the vital steps to perform these functions and processes? Good consultants can focus on the important pieces of information to create the bigger picture. But not all clients have that clarity. You need to give perspective to their business and their products, and anticipate what they might need in the future as they develop.
Integration is still very a niche area of expertise. Do you think there will be an increase in demand for integration specialists in the near future?
Absolutely, without a doubt. Indeed it is still very niche, but people really need to start thinking about getting maximum value from their businesses. If you have one hundred different systems all working independently, what value are they creating? But if they can communicate with each other… Wow, that’s really exciting. It opens up so many possibilities never before thought of. The demand for integration is something that is not likely to end anytime soon!
Do you think that there will ever be one coding language that all technological system can understand?
It’s difficult to say. As technology evolves, methods of communication also evolve. Just think about people and languages. They evolve over time independently of each other, so it would be difficult to hypothesise about one universal language. There needs to be interpreters. And really, integration is like translation for different systems. Until every party is prepared to learn every other language, which seems unlikely.
Do you think that there is anything outside the realm of possibility with integration? At some point, do you think there will be two things that cannot connect?
No. When there is a common goal, then integration can be achieved. It all starts with an idea, “what do I want these two systems to do together?”, then you can think about how you can get them to communicate with each other. The fulfilment you get from knowing and understanding the function of systems and knitting them seamlessly together, is extremely satisfying.
Do you have any words of advice for young people that are interested in a future in integration?
I started learning to code in sixth grade, so giving back to our community through Rojo’s initiatives like teaching school kids to code, is very rewarding. One of my school teachers that taught me to code was why I went on to become a software engineer. Now, I get to work with the pioneers in integration, so it’s incredibly rewarding and inspiring.
My advice to students today? I think you should find your passion and dedicated yourself to it. There can be no limit to what you can learn within integration so keep studying, and find a good company that will recognise your passions and talents, and who offer a supportive environment with plenty of opportunities. They do exist!
That’s great, thanks Swati.