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· 3 min read
D Balaji

In the pursuit of professional excellence, one occasionally stumbles upon the state of being set in flow—a harmonious engagement where time seems to slip away effortlessly. Today, as I mark my fifth work anniversary with my fourth employer, I am overwhelmed with the euphoria of this accomplishment. Throughout my career, I have experienced various moments of significance, and in this blog, I wish to share four events that have shaped my journey.

Embracing Opportunities: The Impact of a Tech Conference

As fate would have it, the most promising opportunities often arise when one is least expecting them. Such was the case when I attended the GIDS conference in 2018. Among the myriad of stalls, Sabre's presence caught my attention. Completing intriguing challenges and applying for hiring opportunities, I secured some delightful takeaways from the event. Little did I know that my enthusiasm would lead to a profound connection with the hiring manager, ultimately leading to my employment at Sabre.

Stepping Into Uncharted Territories: The Cultural Shock of Full Stack Development

Having honed my skills in frontend development, joining Sabre introduced me to an entirely new world of full stack development expertise. The experience proved to be both exhilarating and challenging, as I was entrusted with responsibilities beyond the frontend realm. Despite the initial stress, my foundational knowledge in Java enabled me to navigate through unfamiliar territories with confidence and adaptability.

The Challenges of Brownfield Software: A Lesson in Agility

In the dynamic world of software development, greenfield projects often garner excitement, but the complexities of brownfield issues are seldom met with the same enthusiasm. Overcoming these challenges requires not only technical expertise but also strategic proposals to secure the necessary resources. Adapting to the agile development approach, I learned the significance of addressing outdated software libraries and the importance of proactive solutions.

Embracing New Horizons: The Power of Internal Job Postings

Throughout my five years, I remained unbound to a single project, exploring different avenues within the organization. This willingness to embrace new opportunities led to a pivotal moment in my career when I received a promotion to lead engineer. Embracing a role within the Enterprise Design Language team, I was immersed in the world of frontend development, which I found to be exhilarating. The experience reinforced the significance of internal job postings, fostering growth and organizational exploration.


As I reflect upon my journey over the past five years, I am reminded of the power of seizing opportunities, embracing change, and striving for growth. Each experience, whether unexpected or planned, has contributed to my professional development, molding me into a more resilient and adaptable individual. With gratitude for the past and excitement for the future, I eagerly await the challenges and triumphs that await in the next chapter of my career.

· 3 min read
D Balaji

Self-taught individuals, boot camp graduates, mentored professionals, accomplished interns, and dedicated experts are some of the remarkable talents that have joined our workforce. While their technical skills are exceptional, it's important to recognize that becoming the best programmer at work entails more than just technical expertise. To make a comprehensive and valuable contribution to our organization, it is crucial to cultivate the following skills:


In the corporate world, even individuals who have been laid off often had a significant workload and a backlog of tasks. This highlights the substantial volume of work within most teams. As new joiners, it is essential to actively and purposefully select assignments that challenge your abilities and contribute to unblocking the team's progress. Additionally, identifying tasks that align with your strengths can further enhance your impact.

Let your peers know your strength through your work that you do.


Being a coder goes beyond the act of pushing code to a repository. It involves reviewing, providing feedback, and improving upon the work done by the team. Many codebases contain sections that have remained untouched for years. By reviewing such code, new joiners can engage in knowledge sharing and take the initiative to improve areas that may be unfamiliar to others.

Being proficient in reading and understanding others' code can accelerate your career growth.


The contributions of individual developers often go unnoticed in most teams. Exceptional communication skills are highly valued in such environments. Developers who can effectively communicate, lead engaging meetings, facilitate discussions, and manage virtual interactions are highly sought-after. Remember that meetings are an integral part of corporate life at various levels. Adhering to basic meeting etiquette, actively contributing valuable insights, and making meetings enjoyable can make a significant impact.

Keeping mum and over talking on the job are dangerous.

Professional Behavior

It is common for young engineers to form friendships within their intern groups, typically with individuals of similar experience levels. However, as young joiners in a professional setting, different expectations apply. Actively engaging with senior engineers and learning from their expertise through close collaboration is essential. Displaying good manners, maintaining a professional demeanor, and exhibiting positive attitudes contribute to professional growth and attract attention within the industry. Simple gestures like a firm handshake, a warm smile, and a proactive attitude establish credibility, respect, and foster positive relationships.

Youre being watched by your peers, behave diligently even when out of office.


A well-rounded professional understands the needs of the team and actively seeks opportunities to contribute rather than being solely focused on individual goals. By honing these skills, you will not only excel in your role but also establish yourself as a valuable asset within our organization.

· 8 min read
D Balaji

Here is a short memoir about the right sizing function happening at all major organizations in 2023.

Businesses Cycles are Real

Warren Buffett is a renowned investor who has made a fortune by investing in undervalued companies. He is also known for his wit and humor. One of his most famous quotes is:

"Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked."

This quote, which was originally intended for investors, is also applicable to corporate employees. Not long ago, we experienced a period of rapid hiring, with employees receiving multiple offers and corporations going on a hiring spree. During this time, employees were able to negotiate favorable terms, such as high salaries, compensation packages, and positions. However, economic cycles are real, and eventually, companies become overstaffed and their financial results suffer. As a result, companies begin to lay off employees.

The quote "Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked" is a reminder that economic conditions can change quickly, and that companies need to be prepared for downturns. When the economy is strong, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and make decisions that are not sustainable in the long run. However, when the economy turns, companies that have been overextended will be the ones that suffer the most. The employees at these companies will suffer the most.

2023 is the year of right-sizing companies, and it is having a significant impact on Indians working in multinational corporations.

The media and press have been reporting on layoffs, and this has created a sense of anxiety and uncertainty among employees. When a common person meets a techie, they often inquire about their job security. The abbreviation "CFBR" is also becoming increasingly common on LinkedIn. This stands for "Commenting For Better Reach," and it refers to the practice of commenting on posts from people who are looking for work.

There are a number of factors that are contributing to the right-sizing of companies. These include the global economic slowdown, the rise of automation, and the increasing competition from emerging markets. As a result of these factors, many companies are finding it necessary to reduce their workforces.

The right-sizing of companies is having a significant impact on Indians working in multinational corporations. Many employees have been laid off, and those who remain are facing increased pressure to perform. The job market is also becoming more competitive, as more and more people are looking for work.


Here are your observations about right sizing and how to mitigate risk, in a more professional tone:

There is no good news

Right-sizing, or downsizing is the process of reducing the size of a company's workforce. This can be done through layoffs, attrition, or a combination of the two. Right-sizing can be a difficult decision for companies, but it is often necessary in order to remain competitive.

There is no good news for employees who are affected by right-sizing. The job market is already competitive, and right-sizing can make it even more difficult to find a new job. In addition, right-sizing can have a negative impact on the morale and productivity of the employees who still remain with the organizations.

Most companies are not actively hiring during this economic downturn.

The Education material may not help you greatly

Right-sizing can lead to an increase in demand for education and training. Employees who are laid off may need to upskill or re-skill in order to find new jobs. However, the education sector may not be able to keep up with the dynamic market nature.

In addition, employers may be reluctant to hire employees who have only recently completed education or training. They may prefer to hire employees who have deeper experience in the field.

Everything looks scary, Generative AI & Self Doubt

Right-sizing can be a very stressful experience for employees. It can lead to feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. In addition, employees may start to doubt their own abilities. They may worry that they will not be able to find a new job, or that they will not be able to find a job that is as good as their old one.

Generative AI and other new technologies can also add to the stress of right-sizing. These technologies can make it easier for companies to replace employees with machines. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and obsolescence.

Multiple rounds of layoff disturb morale at work

Right-sizing can have a negative impact on morale at work. Employees who are laid off may feel betrayed and resentful. In addition, employees who remain may be worried about their own job security. This can lead to a decrease in productivity and an increase in turnover. Both physical and mental health will suffer.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst

There is no surefire way to avoid being laid off. However, there are some things that employees can do to increase their chances of surviving right-sizing.

  • Join a profitable company. Employees are more likely to be laid off from companies that are struggling financially. Therefore, it is important to join a company that is profitable and has a good reputation.

  • Ensure that your work has a business value. Employees who do work that is essential to the company's operations are less likely to be laid off. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your work is valuable to the company.

  • Become a valuable asset to the company. Employees who are valuable assets to the company are less likely to be laid off. This means being able to do more than one thing, being able to work independently, and being able to think outside the box.

  • Be positive and proactive. Employees who are positive and proactive are more likely to be seen as valuable assets to the company. They are also more likely to be able to find new jobs if they are laid off.

  • Have a financial cushion. Employees who have a financial cushion are less likely to be stressed out if they are laid off. This means having enough money saved up to cover your expenses for at least six months.

  • Embrace rightsizing as part of career and plan accordingly. Avoid spending on lifestyle inflation like a fancy car, flat, etc. Instead, spend time on marketing yourself like personal website, network, etc. Employees have a shelf life like any other commodity.

Other myths

Sure, here are some myths related to right sizing in tech companies, along with some clarifications:

Myth 1: Young and low-level engineers are exempted during right sizing.

Fact: Everyone is examined through a different lens, regardless of experience level or position. In some cases, young and low-level engineers may be more likely to be laid off, as they may be seen as less essential to the company's operations. However, this is not always the case, and there are many factors that companies consider when making layoff decisions. No department is safe during right sizing including human resources and accounting.

Myth 2: Seniors and managerial staff are most hit during right sizing.

Fact: While managerial staff layoffs and top level exits are widely discussed. In fact, in some cases, companies may choose to retain managerial staff in order to maintain continuity and leadership during a time of change.

Myth 3: Contractors will be let go first.

Fact: Contractors will be impacted, but they are not always let go first during right sizing. In some cases, companies may choose to retain contractors in order to finish the ongoing projects. Once the work is done, their contracts may not be extended.

Myth 4: Companies cut all the extra costs before considering right sizing employees.

Fact: While companies may try to cut costs in other areas before laying off employees, this is not always possible. The fancy pantry, expensive office buildings will still operate with some modifications. In some cases, the only way for a company to remain profitable is to lay off employees.

Myth 5: Jobs cut in high-cost centers are moved to low-cost centers.

Fact: This is not necessarily true. While companies may sometimes move jobs to lower-cost centers, this is not always possible or feasible. In some cases, the only way for a company to remain profitable is to lay off employees in all locations.

It is important to note that these are just some of the myths related to right sizing in tech companies. The specific factors that companies consider when making layoff decisions will vary from company to company.


To sum up, right-sizing can be a very stressful experience for employees. It can feel like a runtime exception at work, where everything is suddenly thrown into chaos. However, by following the tips above, employees can increase their chances of surviving right-sizing and finding a new job.

Only during right sizing activities we realize the value of money and time.

· 2 min read
D Balaji

1. Input

Chatgpt - text based dialogue like queries

Alexa - voice based interface

2. Output

Chatgpt - text based on the input query

Alexa - voice, can perform action and do small tasks

3. Usability at work environment

Chatgpt - can be used a quick research tool, good at organizing and listing facts.

Alexa - can be used as a timer, Its more of a personal device.

4. UI

Chatgpt - Its well thought of and you can organize your work within chatgpt. Goto previous queries etc.

Alexa - Its a exceptional tool to manage all things personal/office like music, devices, simple queries, etc.

5. Common drawbacks

Chatgpt - Good at facts but content lacks personal touch or anecdotes or stories

Alexa - As good as the alexa skills but most specific questions are taken to web search


AI tools have entered into our life like a bicycle for a kid. We have to learn to use the bicycle else there wont be much fun. Identifying professional use cases for AI without compromising data security and privacy is a challenge like the kid ensuring not to fall from cycle before his friends while learning to drive it.

· 7 min read
D Balaji

dhbalaji teams window

As a lead engineer on the enterprise design language team, I am responsible for evangelizing the work that we do as part of React components and EDL. We have strategic touch points through which we keep in touch with the developers who consume our library. They are

  1. Newsletters through email
  2. Broadcast on monitors across the office or even the display on the coffee machine
  3. MS teams meetings
    1. Training sessions through MS teams meetings
    2. Internal talks for niche audiences again through MS teams meetings
    3. Open office hours for actual developers through MS teams meetings
    4. Highlighting the EDL and its significance to the managers and above through MS teams meetings
    5. Syncing up the designers about the component variants and their usage
    6. Consulting with product teams when they need professional support

At least 60% of our activities outside of the code editor rely on the MS teams. To be successful at MS teams meetings, here are a few tips which I have learned from experience.

Here are the tips

  1. Schedule the meeting at an accessible & convenient time.
  2. Give presenter access to a select few on MS teams, the rest are the audience.
  3. Use the apps & tools in MS teams to boost interactivity and empower the introverted audience.
  4. Use a raised hand to unmute the audience to avoid distractions during meetings.
  5. Have a meeting plan in detail. This includes
    1. Pre-meeting plan
    2. Actual meeting plan
    3. Post-meeting follow-up plan

Tip #1: Schedule the meeting at an accessible & convenient time.

If you are leading with power, then you need not worry about the timing of the meeting. A Friday evening call would work fine but as a lead engineer on a little-known team, your options are limited. Here are things that I look for before scheduling a meeting across the org.

  1. Find out the other events falling on the same day at the organization level and avoid overlapping times or avoid the day. It could be
    1. Town halls for verticals
    2. HR events
    3. Employee engagements
    4. Standup meetings
    5. Coffee time and lunch breaks
  2. Find out if there is a holiday either on the before day or on the next day. People would be in a hurry to get work done from the previous day or leave for the holiday the following day.
  3. Find out if the presenters or organizing committee members are available for the day.

Once the hurdles are identified and inventory is prepared. We have to intimate the team which sends mass emails to the audience.

Tip #2: Give presenter access to a select few and the rest are audience on MS teams.

I have been in multiple meetings where the audience join the meeting with their mic and camera turned on. What a condescending distraction that could be. The cure to this problem is to know your controls on MS teams. I am sure, not everyone in the larger crowd shall be presenters or even willing to do so. Here is what we need to do

  1. While you schedule meetings, go to meeting options and preselect the presenters to organizers. The rest of them are audience by default.
  2. For the audience, the default settings are microphone muted, and camera disabled.

This would reduce the risk of someone joining with the camera or mic on.

Tip #3: Use the apps & tools in MS teams

There are a plethora of apps on MS teams but my favorite is the polls app. You have a bunch of options within polls that would enable you to conduct

  1. polls
  2. anonymous polls
  3. quiz
  4. word cloud

My next favorite is not an app but a setting on meeting options. Checking Q&A would enable you to show the question and answers tab. You can allow the audience to ask questions

  1. Ask questions anonymously
  2. Ask questions
  3. Ask questions but allow questions that go through moderation.

Moderation is a tricky tool. If there is a moderation delay, then the audience asking questions could be disappointed. You can allow/disallow the audience to react to the question. That would act like feedback to the questions.

Tip #4: Use the raise hand feature to interact with the audience

If more than one person is talking on the microphone at the same time. It could be a race-around condition and such things are to be avoided in a professional meeting. It's better to ask the audience to raise hands through teams and then we can ask a moderator to allow their microphone.

If a person is spamming with raised hands, we can put their hand down as well. Here is the workflow.

  1. Allow the audience to enter the meeting as attendees
  2. If an attendee wants to ask a question to the presenter, ask them to raise their hand on the teams
  3. Once a raised hand is spotted, the moderator can unmute their microphone for interaction
  4. If an attendee wants to present/share their screen, we can ask the moderator to promote them as presenters.
  5. Once the attendee has finished his interaction, the moderator needs to do some cleanup activity like disabling the microphone or revoking his presenter access.

Tip #5: Have a meeting plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Use your brain to avoid the pain

A bad plan is better than no plan

What wonderful quotes they are, I adore them. I wish I could write them on the office wall. But here is the summary of a bad plan. The meeting starts late and attendees are left in silence for a decent amount of time. When they are about to drop out, they are given some content with no key takeaways or context. The worst part is a bad meeting running late even after the end time.

But here is what you can do to avoid the shame of a bad meeting. Have a

  1. Pre-meeting plan
  2. meeting plan
  3. Post-meeting plan

Pre-meeting plan

The key parts of the pre-meeting plan are

  1. Identify the right date and time for the meeting
  2. Identify the topics of discussion
  3. Identify presenters and moderators
  4. Prepare an introduction for the panel or guests
  5. Plan for contingencies like power cuts or bad networks

Meeting plan

  1. Identify sections of the meeting along with the time
  2. Have games to play with the attendees to break the monotony
  3. Have preset questions to discuss in the Q&A part
  4. Prepare a closing speech
  5. Share notes and key takeaways

Post meeting plan

  1. Send the attendees detailed minutes of the meeting
  2. Send the attendees the solutions to unanswered questions after your research
  3. Ensure the attendees remember your brand/product
  4. Ask the attendees to join the appropriate team's channel
  5. Ask them for feedback and reward them


Running successful meetings can be hard. It's even harder when your audience never expected or does not have a pain that you can solve. My mantra is

Keep your attendee expectations low but keep your content quality high

Take away for you

  1. If you do a good job, there is a possibility of a repeat audience attending future meetings.
  2. MS team is a tool, as a meeting organizer, you are expected to know the tool in detail.
  3. Have a co-organizer moderate the meeting or contingency.
  4. Use the right mix of apps, content, and features to bring in interactivity.
  5. More than the tool/MS teams it's your energy, passion, and content that matters the most.