“Start contributing to open source, write technical blogs and learn what’s trending in the technology universe”

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Set up in 2017, Josh Software is a software services company that does product engineering using open source technologies. Sethupathi Asokan, co-founder and director of Josh Software, talks to Sreejani Bhattacharyya of OSFY about the company’s growth plans and the technologies it is implementing to achieve its targets. In this exclusive interaction, he also recounts how he got interested in open source and what the journey has been like so far.

Q: What is your business model? How do you generate revenue?
A: We get into rescue missions for our clients, and deliver a very scalable and high quality product. Reputation is the key. With our good reputation, we get referred by our clients to potential leads, which generates new business.

Q: Can you talk about some important projects you’ve completed and others that you are working on?
A: We are working with a well-known media channel in India, now part of an international group. We were introduced to the company to rescue its product, and complete the work needed on it. We are also working with the insurance company QuickInsure, as a technology partner.

Q: What are some of the major challenges you’ve faced while working on these projects?
A: We haven’t faced any major challenges on the technology side — just a few non-technical issues, like adapting to the differing work culture of our clients. These were overcome easily.

Q: What are the essential skills required to be hired by Josh Software?
A: One should be eager to learn all the time. Make mistakes but don’t repeat them. Those who wish to join us should know that this is not just a job. It is more than that.

Q: What are the company’s expansion plans, outside or in India?
A: We have already set up Josh Software Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary, in Dallas, Texas. As we grow, we will expand to other places in India and across the globe.

Q: How has your firm grown in the last two years? What do you believe are the reasons for such growth?
A: Growth has been tremendous, both in headcount as well as in revenue. Basically, we get into the new technology trends and showcase our expertise in those areas.

Q: What are the latest open source technologies and languages that you are working in?
A: GoLang, Kotlin, AR, ML and ServerLess are the new technologies and languages we have adapted over the past few years. We are also working in Ruby on Rails, MongoDB, ReactJS, Android, ElasticSearch, Data Engineering and Flutter. This year we are planning to get into Rust, TensorFlow and RPA.

Q: What kind of internship programme do you offer?
A: We go to colleges to select students for internships. We evaluate them during the training period and if they are good, we offer them jobs.
Marks are not a criterion for applying to the internship programme. We check how well-versed the students are in the various languages and in solving problems. We conduct a written test, and two rounds of interviews to assess the students.

Q: How can experienced professionals get a job at Josh Software?
A: We post about the new opportunities on job portals when we need to recruit. We also put up job vacancies on our website.

Q: What kind of package do you offer to freshers?
A: For freshers, we offer a CTC of Rs 600,000-700,000 per annum. It includes medical coverage for parents as well.

Q: What do you think are the skills required in open source, in the future?
A: One needs to showcase one’s skills by contributing to open source, speaking at meetups/conferences, and by writing blogs.
The open source journey

Q: What got you hooked to open source? How did you get introduced to it?
A: Initially, I used to work on both closed source and open source software. In the case of closed source, getting the issues fixed takes a very long time compared to open source. I started understanding the power of the open source community and wanted to be a part of it. So, as a company, we started contributing to open source — organising meetups/events and sponsoring the open source technology conferences, like RubyConf, GoLang Conf, DroidJam, DevOps Days, etc.

Q: What were you doing before you started Josh Software?
A: I was a technical manager at Veritas, managing a development team of a product.

Q: What challenges did you face while starting this company?
A: Initially, when we were new to the business, it was a challenge to prove our strengths. The technologies we worked on were new, so it was difficult to convince our clients about something they had not heard of.

Q: How did you overcome this?
A: As I mentioned earlier, we started contributing to open source, and organising meetups/events, apart from sponsoring open source technology conferences. We are now well known in the community.

Q: How do you think the open source space has evolved in India?
A: India has come a long way. It was very hard to get out of Microsoft’s technologies which were closed source with licences. Slowly, Linux penetrated the market and Android phones evolved. The great part about open source was it got rid of the issues linked to software piracy.

Q: What can be done to improve the open source ecosystem? How can the government help?
A: We are working on a government project, for which there aren’t any restrictions on technology. The government is already open to open source technologies.

Q: How do you think the Indian open source space is different from, say, in the US?
A: In the US, open source is very popular at the student level itself, and they know how to leverage it by building their profile on it. In India, students come to know about open source software and to value it only after they get a job.

Q: What advice would you give youngsters interested in contributing to open source?
A: Start contributing to open source, write technical blogs and learn what’s trending in the technology universe. Don’t learn the language just to fulfil an immediate job requirement. Learn continuously, master a new language every year and build your profile online – which is not only about the resume. Your expertise will be noticed.

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