Encouraging Happiness to Enable Greatness
A senior software engineer with 15 years of experience at major corporations, Sourav has been a driving force in Shell’s software development division. With over three years in the company, his expertise allows him to confidently lead teams of over 30-strong and mentor more than a few budding developers along the way.
What was the motivation, as a mobile developer at the time, to join an energy company like Shell?
While at my previous company, a few of my colleagues joined Shell. As we kept in touch, they had nothing but good things to say about the working culture here. How they have never had meetings on weekends and the senior colleagues are really supportive. They even explained to me how Shell was moving into tech spaces and diversifying its efforts. I was already an accomplished software engineer and had been part of the pioneering team that began developing 4G applications for a telecommunications company. It was a no-brainer for me to apply.
What has your journey at Shell been like?
I was hired here as an Android engineer for a project called ShellApp. However, when that project came to an end, I acquainted myself with other technical skills. Eventually, I moved to Shell’s aviation business and I was leading a project within six months. After that, I worked in both telemetrics and on a project which focused on our customer centricity roadmap for a couple of years, before recently shifting to support the Shell Fleet Hub team.
Today, I manage three teams, and coordinate their efforts under my supervision. We’re building a cross-platform website to connect all of Shell’s fleet managers, allowing them to centrally track their locations and expenses. It’s a challenging project, given the sheer number of stakeholders involved, and certainly my biggest responsibility to date. It’s been a steep but exciting learning curve.
In Shell, work life balance is supported. And because I can give time to both myself and my family, I’m full of energy in the office because I’m healthy and happy.
How has working at Shell been a different experience from your past roles?
Working in the services industry, there was always a deadline. This made it nearly impossible to maintain a decent work-life balance; my managers simply never respected my personal life. In Shell, however, work life balance is supported. And because I can give time to both myself and my family, I’m full of energy in the office because I’m healthy and happy.
I now have free time to go swimming and hit the gym regularly, and even my vacations are hassle-free. It’s a refreshing change to see how the company sincerely cares for employees’ well-being.
We have yearly review meetings where, aside from possibly receiving bonuses for great performance, we’re also reminded that we should be upskilling over time. Our line managers here are available to chat, giving us advice on how to improve our capabilities and move on to bigger and better projects.
How do these work habits affect your career trajectory?
We have yearly review meetings where, aside from possibly receiving bonuses for great performance, we’re also reminded that we should be upskilling over time. Whenever new engineers join, Shell gives them a year or two to acquaint themselves with other technologies and pushes them to become full-stack developers.
The other important point is that Shell has a fluid hierarchy when it comes to projects like ours. For instance, I have 15 years of experience in IT and the fresher that recently joined us reports to the same boss as I do.
Our line managers here are available to chat, giving us advice on how to improve our capabilities and move on to bigger and better projects. They’re also supportive if a particular project isn’t really touching on our interests or strengths. All it takes is a mention to them and our line managers can then act as liaisons with our project managers to figure out the best solution for everyone. It’s my job now to do the same for the juniors under my wing as well.
Given what you’ve said about how office hours treat you, what has that changed for you at home?
My flexible work hours allow me to spend so much more time with my two-year-old daughter and my wife. Being there for all her important milestones is something I’m sure we’ll both greatly appreciate in the future. Aside from that, I also love driving. An open stretch of road for hours on end is so therapeutic that my vacations often take the form of road trips. My next attempt will probably be to drive from Bangalore to Assam, just for the fun of it.
Is there a particular “Shell formula” you think IT employees should have?
They need to be self-motivated above all else. It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t know the technology they have to work with, they need to want to learn. It also helps to be able to communicate in a respectful manner. With teams like ours, with people from across countries and cultures, there will always be language barriers. What helps more than anything is the honesty and respect that a work environment like Shell builds.