Yes, you read the title right. Meet Vaibhav, the man who loves cooking but finds eating to be a chore. Tell me about it, right?
Technical Leader at Tusitala by day and a certified professional in Spirits(No, we don’t mean the Supernatural) by night, join us for this week’s #PotatoSpotlight as Vaibhav shares more about what he does at Tusitala alongside some other interesting hobbies and pastimes.
1. Tell us a little about yourself! (Doesn't have to be centred around work!)
I am an avid Urdu and Hindi Poetry fan. I always carry an Urdu/Hindi poem book in my backpack and read it mostly when commuting. I have tried to write poems a few times, but to be good at it, is a dream that seems far away.
I also love to cook (primarily Indian cuisine) from time to time, especially over the weekends and avoid eating outside food. Spoiler – I also enjoy experimenting with alcoholic recipes and trying them on my friends.
2. What does it mean to be the Technical Leader at Tusitala?
Tusitala is a digital storytelling firm; being a Technical Leader is more than being a typical "IT guy" in a company like this. It comes with a lot of perks as well. I get to experiment with certain new technologies and platforms, be more hands-on, and potentially use them in our storytelling projects to make the project more immersive and interactive.
Apart from managing the IT infrastructure, one also has to manage the interns and freelancers, consult or advise ideas and platforms on what possible "trendy" interactive technology can be executed, and work as an incubator to help nascent projects. In layman's terms, be responsible for all the "tech tech" things.
3. After accumulating quite a bit of experience in the industry, what are some of your favourite projects/moments?
To be honest, I always consider the latest project I'm working on my favourite.
4. What's a common misconception about your job?
The biggest misconception about being a developer is that one must be good at maths and have a college degree. So I don't recommend any rebellious young teenager reading this to drop out of college. But I mean to say, anyone passionate about learning to code can self-teach themselves to become a developer.
People assume a developer's role is only to sit in front of a computer and develop websites or apps, but that is usually not the case. Instead, most planning is done away from the computer, putting pen to paper and drawing a rough idea of the steps or logic of the process to solve the problem.
5. Seems like you are qualified in Spirits, what made you want to pursue studies in that area?
I have always enjoyed having a chilled beverage or cocktail with my friends and family after a long work week. However, I think my geeky nature, in general, made me more curious to know more about the process and effort that is gone through to make a smooth and fine spirit.
So when I got to know about WSET, I immediately enrolled myself for their course in Spirits. I have done Level 1 and Level 2 right now. Unfortunately, levels 3 and 4 are not yet obtainable in Singapore. I might need to go to London to pursue further studies in this topic, but I do not intend to go for it. After finishing all 4 Levels, you'll hold a Diploma in Spirits. I never thought someone could graduate in Spirits!
One of the other reasons is also to sound more "atas" when drinking with my friends. LOL
6. What do you enjoy most about studying Spirits? Share with us one lesser-known fact about Spirits!
The most enjoyable thing about studying spirits is you get to drink while learning about them. So I would say it was one of my best schooling experiences. At the end of the day, the whole classroom, including the teacher, is tipsy.
Did you know?
- Scotch Whiskey is typically aged or matured in used barrels that once held bourbon. Scotch whiskey producers buy the used barrels from Bourbon producers.
- Frequently, brands mix the old produced spirit with the new one to maintain consistency. So that is why a new packaged bottle of Jack Daniels will have similar colour and taste to that of a 5-year-old bottle.
7. Do you have any advice for someone who aspires to be a Technical Leader?
Being a programmer in this modern era with an option to work in different domains and industry comes with much freedom. The most straightforward advice I can give newcomers is to understand what domain they are more interested in, learn about the current industry trends, and try to play around with different technologies or frameworks. Then, take one step at a time and, based on the current trends, start developing side projects for the portfolio. The essential part is understanding the business logic and how or why a particular tech will be helpful.
Being a technical leader is not at all about being the best programmer. Of course, the skills and expertise in the field are essential, but one should also be good at soft skills and learn to delegate specific tasks within the team. Be open to harvesting the knowledge of their team members and synthesising them into a better solution before deciding on the course forward.
The ability to understand the technical part and phrase it out in a simple, straightforward way is also essential. One thing I have learned while working in Tusitala is how to explain all the technical jargon in layman's terms to our clients or within the team itself, which has indirectly helped me understand the technical part from a different perspective.
8. Describe Tusitala in 3 words!
Storytellers, Creative, Immersive
9. Pick one- Never need to eat or never need to drink again? And why?
"Never need to eat again" – By now, anyone would have guessed my answer. Even though I love to cook, eating has always been a chore for me. I read an excerpt somewhere in Urdu/Hindi, and I live by that statement. "Mai hain toh main hoon, Mai nahi toh main nahi" roughly translates to "I'm where drinks are, I'm not where no drinks are."
For more about Vaibhav and Tusitala, click here!