I am Eakan Gopalakrishnan and you can view my resume online by clicking here.
I am on LinkedIn and other networks as you can already see from the social links on this blog but I have not kept it up to date as I did not want my employer prying on changes to my profile 😃.
I was born in India, raised in United Arab Emirates and now live and work in the United Kingdom.
Curiosity is what got me into computers. I only really had a personal computer by 1998. Everything about it fascinated me and I wanted to learn how it worked and how to make programs and build them. Gradually that led me to major in Computer Science at University.
I am currently an engineering leader at a fantastic, fast paced, retail energy SaaS provider called Kaluza.
I started my career in tech after I graduated from Amrita School of Engineering, India with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering in 2007. Companies came to the university to recruit candidates and that’s how I got my first engineering job! I took a year away from work to do my Masters at the University of Southampton in 2009.
I took on a managerial role as an opportunity came up in 2015 at FactSet to do something other than being a technical lead. It was a radical change but I had great support and coaching from my manager at the time who helped me understand the do’s and donts of engineering leadership; switching from the mindset of my accomplishments are my contributions to enabling my team to achieve their objectives and their success is my success.
In 2018, I decided to apply what I learned from a large mature product organisation like FactSet to a much smaller, start-up like organisation. That was when I came across a small underwriting firm in London that had just got investment to develop software in-house.
The role was loosely defined and demanding as it required the candidate to be an individual contributor and to manage a team of 5 engineers. So I often found myself working long hours. The managerial challenges were more complex than the technical/engineering challenges. This was when I had a glimpse of what’s described in the books, The Phoenix Project and The Unicorn Project. The business side of the company didn’t understand IT or software development and hence trust was low, so deadlines were hard to negotiate, technical improvement projects were hard to prioritise, morale was low but stakes were high.
What I loved about the opportunity was that we had a challenging time devising a process to streamline the funnel of requirements coming into the IT department, taming the work in progress, choosing the right team topology, improving the hiring pipeline, leading the application support team and improving the support workflow, and developing career frameworks for engineers at the organisation. It was a roller coaster ride and it gave me great pleasure seeing my engineers grow through these challenges and viewing the impact my team had created!
Gradually, as I gained some of these hard to acquire managerial skills I wanted to take it further in to an empowered product based company.
And that’s how I got to where I am today.
My role at Kaluza is what I define as a role that stretches engineering management. As an engineering leader at Kaluza, unlike many other companies where I have worked, you lead two teams! That is quite a lot of context and about 12 direct reports. You also have to keep all the strategic context in mind, push initiatives that will move the company forward, not just your teams. That’s the exciting bit - managing all that with the time you have.
What do I write about
I mainly write about engineering leadership these days. I have in the past written about my experiments with frameworks, programming languages, tools, or software engineering in general.
I have a wide variety of interests, some of them include:
- Photography 📷, Music 🎵 and Dance 💃
- Running 🏃♂️ and Cycling 🚴♂️
- Reading 📚 (fiction and non-fiction)