One of the great things about my role with Esri is the opportunity to interact with employees around the globe—in this case, some 8,300 miles away. Rohan Ganapathy, a product engineer in the Esri R&D Center–Sharjah, tells us about his work since joining Esri in May 2014 and his passion for Formula 1 racing.
How did you end up at Esri?
I was working for a GIS and mapping company called Fugro MAPS as a Product Support Executive for software called PromptServer. I worked mainly on the client side of this software and helped out with testing during its development in Sharjah. This Esri office was just a floor above MAPS.
After I left MAPS in 2013, I met with the general manager for the Esri R&D Center about a possible position as a product engineer. I was eager to take this, as I had experience with Esri software from the development side.
Tell me about your role—what keeps you challenged and what your involvement with the teams in Redlands is.
As a product engineer, I test the fixes built by programmers on various issues or bugs in the software. On software that is commercially released, we look at ways to enhance the user’s process flows. If any issues are reported by clients or other product engineers, the programmers fix them. I test these fixes to make sure they work and do not break or cause issues in existing processes. I also test the additions and enhancements for the upcoming releases and patches.
What I like about my role is knowing there will always be something new to look at. At work, anything new on the development side is a challenge and I like that. Be it a new raster type or a new enhancement that gets a user faster to his/her end result, or just simple usage of a new version of an existing process/analysis, there are constantly new projects to work on.
We have a high level of collaboration with the Redlands team. We have weekly meetings on the progress of development or various fixes. This allows us to prioritize work based on the requirement.
I understand you recently served as a marshal at the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. What was that experience like? How did you get involved?
I have been a Formula 1 fan since as long as I can remember. It just fascinated me and I’ve followed it ever since. The sport is not just 22 cars going around a track for 50+ laps—there is a lot of strategy by the teams and skill of the drivers involved. The first Grand Prix at Abu Dhabi was one of the best experiences I have had as a spectator, and I watched the second one as well from the grand stands. Little did I know my colleague Randall was actually marshalling that particular race. He knew I was a huge Formula 1 fan, and as he was a post chief he was able to arrange it so I could join his team. It was a far better experience than being a spectator.
As marshals we get to stand right next to the track and see the cars whizzing past us at over 200 mph. Twenty two Formula 1 cars zipping by you at that high of a speed is an adrenaline rush in its own class.
I am the intervention chief at my post and have a team of five intervention marshals. We have been marshalling for the past four Grand Prix’s and are a pretty experienced bunch. We have been lucky to get a post right next to the starting grid—we get a bird’s eye view of the first corner as the cars get off the grid all jostling for position.
Formula 1 is a huge event and the media coverage is global, so all marshals and safety crews are well trained in case of any emergency. As marshals we are responsible for the removal of the driver and retrieval of the car(s) and any debris on the track in case of any incident in our sector. The faster we clear the track, the shorter the time for the cars lapping behind a safety car. A race without incidents is always a good race. The last race was the sixth one and I’m looking forward to being involved in many more.
Is there anything else about the Sharjah office and the work experience you would like to add?
It has been about ten months since I joined and I can’t think of a better place I’d rather be.
Join Rohan and the team in the Esri R&D Center-Sharjah. We currently have two product engineer positions open. Learn more about the jobs and apply online.