Team MentorClub.in in conversation with Amit Gupta, Head of Product and Software Development at a startup

Amit Gupta

Contributing Writer – Virender Pratap Singh

Name – Amit Gupta

Profession – Technology Head (Current CTO @ Delta)

Age – 27

Gender – Male

City – Gurgaon

Industry – Technology

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/akg339/

Insights

  1. Do lot of research before joining any profession especially aspects like job security, promotions etc. Don’t just go by words of few people.
  2. In early stage startups, job security can be an issue. So, do watch out for same before making any decision.
  3. However, if you can afford to live with startup’s job insecurity, then learning is far better and more broad than large companies like Microsoft, Google etc, where one is restricted to a very small area.
  4. Paycheck in Software Industry is better than their peers in most of the other industries.
  5. To do well in this profession, you need to have a good aptitude and reasoning skills.

Where have you been born and raised? What is your family background?

I was born and raised in a small town in district Mau, Uttar Pradesh about 100 Km from Varanasi. We are six siblings. Three sisters are married, two brothers are running their respective shops in the hometown. Our family runs two small businesses — Tent house and Halwai (Sweet making).

I studied in a Hindi-medium Government school till 12th. Even I used to sit at Tent house shop till 12th. After passing 12th, got in touch with cousin who used to stay in Delhi. He told me about IIT-Jee preparation and suggested to go to Kota for same. After convincing my father for more than a month and half with the help of a close uncle (who is somewhat educated), finally I got the permission to go to Kota.

I joined Bansal classes in Kota, which used to be one of the best institute for IIT-JEE preparation then. Initially I faced lot of problems as I was from Hindi medium and all the course content was in english but later somehow, I managed to cope up with same. Even I got promoted to one of the top batches.

I studied hard and cleared IIT-JEE. Then faced the most tough question of my life — which college and branch to choose? There was no mentor to help me in making the decision. So, I had to make the final decision on my own. I filled my career counselling form taking reference from previous years counselling brochures. When results came out, I got to know that I was allotted electrical engineering in IIT Roorkee.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

I was most influenced by my uncle Kedar who is my father’s close friend. He is one of the reason that I was able to get out of my hometown for study in Kota which later became the breakthrough for my career.

Please give us a summary of your career.

I started my career as a Project Engineer with Raheja Developers, a real estate company based out of Gurgaon. I was getting a good paycheck along with stay, food, travelling which were free. But I didn’t enjoy this job. Hence left within 1.5 months only. Meanwhile at Raheja, I had developed interest in startups.

Then I joined Phone Warrior as an android developer, at less than half the salary of Raheja, as I didn’t have much choices then and the financial stability was one of the prime motive. I was there with Phonewarrior for almost 6 months.

Then I took interview with Proptiger. After that I worked with Proptiger and OYO at the very early stage of their technology development.

I left Oyo to start my own startup Fella Homes in late 2015 which was a technology enabled chain of branded rental homes. We raised around INR 11 Crore funding from a Noida based conglomerate. I used to look after Tech & Product and Marketing & HR at Fella. Fella got acquired by ZiffyHomes in Late 2017 and I started working on one more startup as Co-Founder and CTO which is still in stealth mode.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

IITs are one of the best institutes in Nation for engineering. Along with IITs, few NITs, BITS Pilani etc. are few of the other top institutes in country. The exposure you get in these institutes is far more than what you can get in any other engineering institutes of the country.

For getting into IITs, you need to have Maths subject along with Physics and Chemistry in your 12th Grade. In our times, we were required to clear JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) with All India Rank under 8,000 to get into any of the IITs. IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi were considered the top IITs followed by Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and Guwahati.

For preparation of JEE, there were professional institutes and Kota was one of the main hub. Bansal, Resonance, Vibrant, Allen, Narayana, FIITJEE, Vidyamandir were among the top coaching classes.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?

It varies hugely depending on whether you are joining a government college or private. In our times, the average semester fee was around INR 45k. So, my total cost of B.Tech. degree (including tuition, hostel and food cost) was around 3.6 Lakhs.

I have heard that the fee structure has been revised and now the fee is almost double of what it used to be during our time.

What are the typical entry level jobs in this profession?

Usually it depends upon the skillset and the type of organization. In startups, you can join at a good designation but in bigger organization, you might need to start with junior position. Though there are no fix criteria defined for the roles in this domain.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?

Income progression of an Average Software Engineer

These are tentative figures and can vary as per the skillset of the individual.

Describe your work? What do you typically do on a normal work day?

I usually work 5 days a week, but sometimes I must work long hours and on weekends to complete urgent work such as product launch or when timelines are aggressive.

My main responsibilities are team management and technology architecture. I check my schedules and plan the whole day accordingly.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

Though we have several lakhs of IT/software engineers in India, however, good talent is scarce in India.

All industries are using technology to improve efficiency and to automate task. This trend is growing exponentially and in the coming decade technology will be playing even greater role.

Therefore, there are immense opportunities for a good technology person.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

I don’t think there are much challenges associated with Software Development as career. Though, if, you are working in a startup, there is job insecurity especially in early stage startups.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

Anyone who is passionate about technology and aggressive towards his career, Software development is the best choice considering you have the right mindset and skill-set for it.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned? Would you pursue another profession or a passion perhaps?

Given a choice, I would select again something in Technology domain as my career.