WOW, one year already? Time flies when you are having fun!

Can’t believe I have already completed a year at Harness. It seems like it was only yesterday when Hemant took my interview in a coffee shop.

By Pranjal Kumar
September 4, 2019

Before Joining

It all began back in Oct 2017, when a BIG Labs project came out of Stealth Mode and was named as “Harness”. I found that a company is solving inherent problems in the dark side of DevOps/CI/CD world. Harness was building a tech platform that would help engineering teams deliver software to end-users faster through the use of artificial intelligence. All this sounded interesting to me and hence I applied directly on Harness Site. One fine day I had a call with Jyoti. Yes, you heard it right, I had a call with CEO of Harness. Turned out that Harness had plans to start an office in Bangalore, India.

Hiring Process

This was the first time I was interviewing at an early stage startup and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was impressed with the entire interview process at Harness, it  was simple and transparent. As there was no India office back then, most of the interviews happened via Skype and the final in-person interview happened at a coffee shop in Bangalore. Harness has a very comprehensive approach to interviews and hiring. I was tested on core skills and technical expertise (both theory and hands-on). It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, but at each stage, I was given detailed feedback and heads up about areas that I was going to be evaluated on during the next round. I was fortunate to have made it through the interview process and get hired.  

After Joining

Finally, the day that I was waiting for arrived, we had finalized our office location. I along with a few other colleagues, would be the first few to start working out of Harness India office. I knew it was going to be an exciting journey but one that would involve focus, determination and strong will.

Image: Sunil (R) and Pranjal (L) on the first day at Harness India Office

I realized in my first week, how everything at Harness was systematic and detailed.  Soon after I joined, boot camp sessions with Jyoti, Rishi, and experts in specific domains within the organization started. I had not come across such a unique onboarding experience before, where every founding member of the company was there to welcome you.

After my on-boarding, I became a member of the Continuous Verification Team. Within a couple of weeks of my joining, I was asked to travel to HQ (San Francisco). I had four weeks to gain product knowledge, get up to speed on the technical side and also make an impact. 

Startups offer a lot of opportunities to learn and demonstrate your expertise, you need to spot the right one for you and sign up for it. Here are some of my personal learnings. 

Lesson No: 1 – Seize the opportunities and make an impact.

A day before my travel, I got to know that Harness was looking for someone in-house to share their knowledge on AppDynamics – Deep dive on usability aspect. I signed up for it, put together a presentation and demos in a short time and made it happen. The impact was everyone in the company knew me on the very first day. 

Lesson No: 2 – Stay hungry & keep learning

Within four weeks of joining Harness, I started working closely with Continuous Verification (CV) team. It was a small team working on great stuff and delivering phenomenal results. As soon as I joined the team, I set up discussions with the team members and within a few days had established a good rapport. The team had a great synergy and it felt as though we had been working together for years. I’m so thrilled to be part of this team. Two quarters later, I was actively working on Kubernetes, AWS, GCP, Azure and with all verification providers. Normally it takes years for someone to learn all these technologies/platforms but at Harness we use them every day. Being in CD world gives us the opportunity to work on all areas of the platform. If you have the passion and drive, there’s a lot to learn at Harness.

Lesson No : 3 – Be a Leader

As an organization, Harness promotes openness, collaboration and thinking out of the box. I have had enough opportunities to go beyond my regular work and drive things. One such opportunity for me was using ML to build a framework to monitor our own Platform. This project had a huge impact and visibility as it gave us insight on how each functionality of Harness is performing. 

As I write this, I realize what a wonderful journey this past year has been. I’ve had the opportunity to learn and contribute. Being a part of the Harness family has given me the necessary boost for moving ahead in the exciting world of Continuous Delivery, where things are moving fast and in a big way. I feel ready to take on even bigger challenges and work towards the best possible business outcome.

Pranjal.

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