Suma Seshadri headshotThe Life @ Cohesity blog series shines a light on the various ways Cohesians — what we like to call ourselves here at Cohesity — foster community, lead by example, and live out our RADIO values in the work that they do both inside and outside of their #LifeAtCohesity. 

In this edition, learn from Suma Seshadri, senior engineering manager a bit about her passion for giving back, the benefits of asking for help, and why an engineering career at Cohesity is fulfilling. 

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Suma Seshadri, and I am a senior engineering manager based in Bangalore. I’ve been here for over two and a half years.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I like to keep quite busy! I spend time volunteering at a few local organizations and orphanages. I work to connect the orphanages to people in the community that can teach classes like music, art, or dance. We want to provide opportunities for the children to explore and learn all different types of extracurricular activities they otherwise might not have access to.

I also am a part of my resident’s welfare association. During the pandemic, we organized vaccination drives and we prepared custom, homecooked meals for families that had fallen sick and were unable to cook meals for themselves.

What did you want to be when growing up?

This is funny actually, growing up I really wanted to be a pilot.

When I was growing up, there were not as many career options to choose from as there are today. You had a choice of medicine or engineering. So for me, the choice was easy. While I did not pursue becoming a pilot, engineering was the next best thing.

I love computer science, it’s my passion. Pursuing a career in engineering was the right decision for me and I still really love it today.

Looking back on your career so far, what has been the biggest lesson?

Never hesitate to seek out help when you need it.

Even if you have to redo your code four times, it is never a reason to be embarrassed, every time you re-did it, you learned something every step of the way.

I’ve learned that no matter where you go, there are so many smart people around you. These people have probably already worked on the problems you are trying to solve. Asking for help doesn’t show weakness, and there’s no need to be embarrassed. Seeking help when you need it accelerates your growth and tightens the community around you. When I began to understand that, I realized that the journey we are all on will never become too difficult or too intimidating, because you will not be in it alone.

What is your favorite part about working at Cohesity?

There are so many unique, challenging problems to solve in data management.. There is something new to learn and solve every day.

What I love here at Cohesity, you get a lot of exposure to learning and solving these problems. Day in and day out, you work with these issues at scale and improve the customer experience. At bigger companies, you might be responsible for a small piece of the puzzle, but here you own and solve complex problems.

Cohesity has also given me the opportunity to share my passion for giving back with my fellow Cohesians. I am an ambassador for our corporate social responsibility program, Cohesity Cares. I’ve been able to work on initiatives like raising awareness about Electronic waste disposal. It’s our environmental initiative —it is something that we have borrowed from our next generation.

What is the engineering environment like at Cohesity?

There’s a lot of collaboration which helps to create a high rate of learning for the engineers here. Everyone collaborates and communicates with each other —our engineers, our CTO, managers, leads— they all want to help you succeed.

There’s an opportunity to learn and grow your skills rapidly. When you join as an engineer, you are not bound to any one team or function for the entirety of your career at Cohesity. In engineering, we encourage career movement and skill development so you can really find your passion.

We also love to celebrate the successes of our teammates in all aspects of our lives. We celebrate promotions, big life events, really anything. We share and celebrate special events like marriage, parenthood, and vacations. I would say we interact at much more than just a professional level here which helps us stay connected with each other while working from home.

As a manager, how do you set your team up for success?

As a manager, I put a lot of emphasis on personal development for all of the people on my team. If there’s anything they want to learn, I want to be aware of it. That way I can ensure they are given the right opportunities to grow and develop in a way that aligns with their personal goals.

I want my team to feel safe, encouraged, and energized. They should never be afraid of making mistakes or not knowing the solution to a problem right away. That is why I really encourage them to try new things or ask questions when they need to. You learn the most and can develop new skills when you can seek help or learn from a previous mistake. Providing an environment that continues to encourage this and values different perspectives. On my team, we don’t all need to think about problems in the same way. I don’t want us to all think the exact same way. We learn more and have better solutions when we are able to discuss different perspectives.

I really care about the success of my team because that is also my success too. I was so proud that four of my reports were promoted in this past promotion cycle!

What are the top skills or qualities that you look for when hiring for your team?

Outside of the technical skills that are required for the role, to me, attitude matters the most. It’s not something that can be taught the way technical skills are taught. I consider myself to be very positive and I try to approach everything in life with a positive mentality. Having a positive outlook and doing your best to avoid seeing the negative, even when solving hard problems each day, is an extremely important quality in an engineer to me.

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