At the helm of ~400 team members from CA Technologies, India is Sakaar Anand. He is a CA Technologies veteran with more than 21 years of experience in Information Technology and Human Resource Development.
Sakaar joined CA in 2008 as a Senior Director, Software Engineering and since then has held various roles at CA. Today, he is the Senior Vice President of Software Engineering & leads an enthusiastic team of software professionals, who help CA customers gain insight into their applications, their networks and their infrastructure.
In this Q&A, we speak with Sakaar about his role at CA, his career journey, his thoughts about an effective leader and what CA looks for, in an ideal engineer.
Tell us about your role at CA Technologies?
My teams own the development of CA Products which become part of an organization’s DevOps toolchain. We also own the internal deployment of the same DevOps toolchain for CA Technologies.
How has your career at CA Technologies evolved since you first joined the company?
I joined CA as a Senior Director, Software Engineering in 2008. I headed Technology and Process Shared Services for CA India for 2 years. Then I became the Vice President of Software Engineering, where my role was to provide expertise to CA product development teams in the domains of usability, accessibility, business intelligence and localization.
After this role, I got an opportunity to head HR for CA India. Though I was never planning to move to HR but when the opportunity came my way, I grabbed it with both hands as I wanted to learn about the other lines of business like Finance, Marketing and Sales, to be able to understand these functions by working closely with these Business Units.
After heading the India Human Resources Team for almost 4 years, I got another opportunity in the US to head the Global People Team for product development of all the products. Simultaneously I started heading Product Operations. I was in this role for almost 2.5 years and it was a dynamic and changing environment for me where I got to work with new people, new processes, experienced new ways of approaching the problem, new challenges of business and in my journey, I continually adapted to the change and learnt that ‘to adapt is to grow’.
During this time, I became the Senior Vice President for Product Operations and Human Resources.
Very recently, I moved back to India as the Senior Vice President for Software Engineering.
I always feel that there are a lot of opportunities for those who can embrace the change to excel. It is imperative to adapt to the changing times by updating our skills and experiences to stay relevant for an exciting future.
In your opinion, what makes for an effective leader?
To me, an effective leadership requires real accountability. Accountability towards your goals, towards your work, towards your colleagues and towards the organization. Because when leaders take personal accountability, they are willing to face the consequences of their decisions and actions in all the circumstances.
That sense of ownership and responsibility also inspires the team and makes things happen. If you are accountable, the company can and will trust you.
How have you fostered a high-performance culture in the team?
I would again stress the importance of accountability here, because by fostering a culture of accountability in the team, you empower the employees to take ownership and when team members constantly demonstrate ownership and accountability, commitment to work increases. This results in high levels of trust amongst the team members and which ultimately drives high-performance culture in the team.
I always encourage all the leaders to drive the culture of accountability in the team and build trust through support and encouragement. Creating a culture of constructive accountability may require a culture change within the team but leaders will find the results well worth the effort.
Having joined CA in 2008 and then becoming SVP of India Agile Operations Team in 2017, what would you say are your top tips for climbing the ladder within an organization?
Three things that have worked for me are:
Never say ‘’No’’ to new challenges and assignments – Don’t get too comfortable in a role. Step out of your comfort zone and push your limits. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to take on more responsibility is a great way to grow personally and professionally. I have always felt that when you step out of a role to embrace something new, that’s when you make real progress.
I have never said ‘’No’’ to any role that the company has offered me. And a ‘’Never Say No’’ attitude towards any new role or a challenging project or assignment has made me reach where I am today.
Put the company first – Getting to the top position requires the simple concept of hard work day after day. As an individual who wants to grow in an organization, you shouldn’t get impatient and put the company first. Leaders should put the interests of their organization above their own. Give back to the company, create more capacity for people around you and it will automatically bring growth to you and to the team and the organization.
I have never asked, what the organization can do for me, I have always asked what can I do for the organization.
Don’t ask for a title, always ask for new roles and responsibilities – A promotion or salary increase is the most sought-after reward in the corporate race. And many people want to just go after a raise or a title. Instead, you should ask for new roles and responsibilities that you are willing to take on. Be proactive and look for opportunities, share your career goals with your leaders and talk about how you see yourself fitting in the new role.
What’s a unique career lesson you can share?
I always keep telling people that in today’s competitive world, those who are willing to take risks, those who are willing to step out of their comfort zone will be the ones achieving the greatest success.
Only when we take the risk & come out of our secure zone, can we take on a new opportunity, build potentiality and accomplish more. As we do, our confidence to take on new challenges increases.
I have never let anything, keep me from stepping beyond the confines of my comfort zone. We must continually introspect whether we are letting our fear of failure keep us from taking the actions that will move us forward and help us take the right decisions.
What is it about CA Technologies role that keeps you motivated and inspired?
I have been at CA for over 9 years now. We work in a unique environment that supports talent, innovation and creativity and the variety of projects, tools and technologies that we work on is truly exciting. My favorite part of my role is getting to work with inspiring people and my team, helping to make a difference.
Besides the amazing team and the exciting work that we do here, I have got tremendous opportunities to work in various roles, a wide array of projects and assignments. I have been lucky enough to get the chance to work in different geographies as well. The constant change and new & exciting opportunities have always kept me on my toes.
It is the opportunities for taking on new responsibilities and challenges that make working for a global company like CA so rewarding. These windows, in turn, bolster spirit and motivation.
We are consistently innovating and helping various organizations develop an agile architecture. The direct relation between the work we put in and the positive impact that comes as a result is so inspiring and empowering.
You’re hiring. What type of people are your looking for? What kind of qualities do you seek when hiring young engineer candidates?
We are a technology-driven company so we are looking for people who have a passion for technology, who keep themselves abreast with the emerging technologies, who have technical depth in their area of study, but at the same time can also expand the breadth of their engineering knowledge, who are inquisitive and fast learners.
In closing, do you have any advice for engineers who want to join the Tech Industry?
Be well rounded and don’t just learn to code. Be curious and study about latest developments in technology, technology trends and industry trends. And if you have a passion for technology, the grit to resolve the problem and the ability to see the bigger picture, then IT field is for you.
In addition, for any project team, agility is integral to the success of the project and it is extremely important for agile teams to be able to communicate their ideas well to the team members and the customers. I want engineers to be aware of this aspect as well.
We couldn’t have said it better. Thanks to Sakaar for sharing his thoughts and advice for young software engineers! You can follow him on LinkedIn here.
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