Yin meets yang

(Interview re-published from IBM DevelopeWorks)

Blog Authors:  Valerie Skinner   is part of the IBM developerWorks team, getting to know the real developers who make up the My developerWorks community and exploring the world of social networking. I’m enjoying learning what makes developers tick! I’m very interested in exploring online communities and social media and understanding real world application – how they can help people solve problems and work together.

Interview with Naveen Balani, developerWorks Master Author from India

vskinner | Mar 23 2010 | Tags:  interview websphere bpm mydw java dw_author j2ee apache spring india | 3 Comments |5,783 Visits

This week’s interview with Naveen Balani – a software architect and developerWorks Master Author –  is especially timely, given the start of the 2010 Devolothon, a 14 city tour in India.  developerWorks India is often on the cutting edge, trying unique things – connect with fellow IT professionals in India by joining the developerWorks India group.

And now, onto my interview with Naveen Balani.  You can learn more about him in his My developerWorks profile.  And in Naveen’s blogs on My developerWorks. And in his many articles on developerWorks.

Tell me about yourself and what you’re currently working on…
I work as a Software Architect with India Software Labs, Mumbai. I am part of WebSphere Business Services product development team and currently working towards our next release of the product.

What has your IT career journey been like? How did you get started? Did you choose a specialty or did it evolve?
I started my IT career in year 2000. I have always been keen to learn about new technologies and wanted to specialize on software design and architecture. Early in my career, I used to spend most of my time researching on various technologies and contributing articles, white papers on it.

I started off with a services organization where I was involved in designing and developing solutions for banking and  insurance firms primarily on Java and J2EE stack. I was always looking out for opportunities where I could work on challenging assignments and get to design and architect solutions and products. Over these years, I have played various roles right from a developer to an architect and have worked on product development as well as designing and architecting solutions.

What IT project are you most proud of?
I would say all projects that I have worked on have helped me in my career in some way or the other. Early in the career, I worked on various services engagement projects where I was implementing solutions for US Banking an Insurance firms. One particular implementation of a security algorithm that I did seem to be still being used in there various banking solution.

Next, I would like to mention about a BPM workflow implementation project, where I was involved in architecting and realizing an end to end BPM work flow solution, where we wanted to replace customer’s exiting process and fully automate it. Being in startup firm, you handle lot of responsibilities and I owned the entire business process solution and database design. There were various design challenges, integration challenges and various strategies that were required in terms of planning and execution to make it successful. An interesting thing about this project was this was the first BPM work flow implementation for a particular environment and stack which had it own challenges.

The other project that would always remain special is Business Service Fabric, which I have been working on since its inception, which got acquired by IBM in 2006.  Product development is completely different from software services engagements and working with this product has immensely helped me to increase my technical knowledge over these years.

I love your blog post where you share about your philosophy of “Just go for it”, as a technical author of over 50 articles. Do you have any personal techniques you use like goal setting that help you succeed?  
I always try to keep myself updated on new ongoing trends and technology. I usually try to learn something new every year and then come up with a blog, white paper, book or an article or some medium which I can share with the community.

When I started, I never had set any personal goals about the number of articles I need to publish. I simply have a passion for writing and I feel publishing your work in some medium is best form of sharing your technical work and giving back to the community and collaborating with them.

Obviously you need technical acumen, but what are the other important skills to be a good technical author?
I feel you should have a deep understanding about the subject you want to write about.  When you write about topics, you must know your target audience and target it to the right audience level, beginners, intermediate or advance levels.  A good technical author should aim at simplifying existing technology information or write about topics in simplified terms.

What new technologies or products are you learning about this year?
I am planning to get myself updated on Spring framework 3.0 release and update my article on Spring series which was widely appreciated by the readers.  Last year, I wrote a book on Apache CXF, this year. I am planning to write a book on advance web services development. I also plan to write learn about Apache Incubation projects – Apache Shiro framework and Apache Aries.

How do you use developerWorks?
I think, this is best answered on my blog. Apart from publishing articles and tutorials, I use developerWorks to read blogs and articles, look for the resolution of issues in forums or respond to forums whenever I can. I haven’t utilized much of the My developerWorks capabilities as I intended, but have created blogs on dynamic BPM and semantic web, created groups on BPM to form a community group around BPM to share their experiences and knowledge and to stay connected with the developerWorks community.

What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Apart from developerWorks, I visit, The Server sideMSDN and read community blogs on various technologies.

When you’re not working, what interests or passions do you enjoy?
When I am not working, I like to read about any topics that interest me, watching movies, listening to music, catching up with friends. At some point, I would like to write a movie script and direct it. 🙂


The author Navveen