About the blog
Hello friend 👋
In this blog, I write about my learnings, observations and trends in the Software world. Besides software, I also talk about photography, travel stories, books and movies.
I write for my future self and reader friends of this blog. So I try my best to give proper context to every article.
You can consider subscribing to me to learn how an engineer thinks at Big Tech.
Please feel free to suggest a topic or shoot an email to me!
About the human behind this blog:
My name is Narendra Vardi; I consider myself a Software Wizard, and my work involves writing software which I believe is closer to sorcery.
I am based out of Bangalore - The Silicon Valley of India.
I have authored half a million lines of code that you might have never seen. I wrote code for organisations like Google, Flipkart and Amazon.
As of 2021, I am working as a software engineer at Google, helping them build a moderation platform for Google Maps. Software Engineering at Google book gives a glimpse of what it's like to work at Google.
Before Google, I was a core member of the Order management systems team at Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce company which created the Butterfly effect in the Indian Startup Ecosystem. Here, I have built various features that almost all the customers of Flipkart use. I had a great time building software with which millions of people interacted.
I did my internship and my first official job at Amazon. I learned a lot about writing high-quality production software while building software for the internal services of Amazon.
I worked hard and had fun while working at these beautiful companies. Making History part, let's revisit it later :)
College Life and the interest in building games
Before receiving any paycheck, I did my Bachelor's in Information Technology degree at the prestigious VIT University, Vellore campus.
During my college time, I was passionate about playing games. One such game I would like to mention is the then-famous 2048 game on mobile.
I read about Gabriele Cirulli, the author of the 2048 game. He was a teenager when he developed the game. This inspired me, and I started working on writing the 2048 game. After a week, I built a clone of 2048 using Java swings. The UI of the game was crappy, but it gave me the confidence to code new games.
Following 2048, I have written the following games and Open Sourced everything on GitHub.
- Guess my number
- Minesweeper and
- Double Table game.
All the above games are simple ones. Minesweeper is a command prompt version, and it's not even fun to play. But these helped me learn game(software?) development.
While writing games, I needed to master data structures and algorithms (DSA) to build games more effectively and quickly. Thanks to these small games, I learned the importance of DSA during my college time.
I wanted to join a gaming company after college, but there were a tiny number of companies in that domain. So here I'm now, as a Backend Engineer.
Want to know more about my professional life? Check out my LinkedIn profile.
You can find the code for all the games I have written under my Github profile.
On a personal front, I like to travel. I have
- I went on a solo trip to Europe, visiting four different countries. (France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany).
- Drove bike from Leh to Nubra Valley, passing the famous Khardungla Pass. It was the most exciting, scary, and adventurous trip ever.
- Celebrated Christmas in Paris and New Year in Barcelona.
- Witnessed the beautiful sunsets of Thailand.
- I trekked the valley of flowers in Uttarakhand and a few other places in South India. Depending on the people I was trekking with, I either loved the trek or hated it. Want to become good at trekking? Find the right set of people to trek with.
- Drove a car for a good 1700 kilometres covering Southern cities of India, along with a friend.
(Sorry if it feels like I'm bragging. I'm trying to notify potential travellers that I'm a traveller they can count on 😅)
One of my favourite trips I have in mind for the future is to do a road trip in Italy, covering the places listed below (in no particular order)
- Milan countryside
- Vatican City
I want to cover these cities in a car along with some friends. Besides, I don't want to have trouble driving a vehicle alone in a foreign country. Reach out to me if this plan excites you! :)
I love taking photographs with an interest in Street, Travel and Portraits. I also want to become an expert in street portrait photography, though I am not yet comfortable in this segment.
Brandon Stanton and his work, Humans of New York, inspired me a lot. Thanks to him, I kept my goal in photography to release photobooks of my work. I am miles away from this goal, but I am taking the initiative to reduce the distance, one step at a time.
If you like the above three images, you can consider checking my Instagram page: @worthyphotographer.
I watch movies, TV Series, and Anime. I also read books. But all of them are in moderation.
I recently finished watching The Office, a series I've watched entirely without missing a single episode. Thanks to Netflix and Prime Video.
I have been following One Piece anime for over a decade, and it's still going strong. The last thing that I want to do is pick another anime. So I've not started any new anime yet.
Some of my favourite books include
- Becoming by Mitchell Obama
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson
- The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
I love graphic and photo books. Some books that I think are exceptional in this category are
- Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
- Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
If I talk about movies, this article will not end soon; let's discuss them later! :D
Teaching & Mentorship
I like teaching. As a child, I wanted to become a teacher. But my teacher said, "Teaching is a slow process of becoming everything you hate." I thought she feared the competition I would bring to her job. After understanding the operational load involved in teaching, I believe she was right. So, I explore ways of teaching without taking the operational burden.
That's when I stumbled upon mentoring. I've mentored many new joiners while working as a Software Engineer, and all of my mentees have become critical contributors to their respective teams.
During my free time, I also mentored a handful of freshers at online academies which train Software Engineers. Under my mentorship, students received job opportunities from companies which offered to pay 2x to 3x of their current salaries (Though salaries are a terrible benchmark, I'm sure you all agree that 2x to 3x salary is far better than 1x salary as a fresher). Some students have made significant progress as software engineers over the last two years.
As part of teaching, I also deliver guest lectures. Apart from KT sessions in the offices, I've delivered the following guest lectures at my Alma Mater, VIT University.
- API development using Python Flask
- Java 8 101
Stand up comedy
I love listening to stand-up comedy. Initially, I had slight friction accepting it, but I liked it over time. Comics use unique and funny ways to discuss complex topics, which is something I want to learn.
Homecoming King by Hasan Minhaj is one of my favourite stand-up comedy specials.
Finding a community that helps you thrive is very difficult to find. It was hard to meet my friends in Bangalore since they were scattered all over Bangalore, and the infamous Bangalore traffic made it even more difficult.
As I was trying to find a wonderful community to hang out with, I found Toastmasters. It has been a great community. Besides, I learnt how to write speeches and deliver them in front of an audience.
If there's anything that I learned during COVID, it is Digital Art.
Here's one of my best drawings:
I watch cricket and occasionally, Badminton and Tennis. The first time I watched an entire football match was the semi-finals of FIFA World Cup 2018, and I believe Croatia's gameplay was mesmerizing. Now, I'm eagerly waiting for the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
I play badminton with friends and colleagues.
Good god! that was a long read. Surprisingly, you stuck this far. I think you enjoyed reading about me. If yes, click the button below and Subscribe! :)