Go behind the scenes at Zoho: an interview with a WorkDrive developer

Most of us know that software developers ideate, design, and build computer programs and applications. From the video game you played as a kid and the word processor you use to create documents to all the smartphone applications you rely on every day—programmers created them all.

Software development as a career option has exploded in popularity in recent years, but even though much of our day-to-day tech usage depends on software developers, many of us don't have a lot of insight into what a developer's job looks like. Thus, we're giving our users a peek into the job of a software developer here at WorkDrive by interviewing  Chandramathi Murugadass. She'll share the nuances of the role and her experience at Zoho WorkDrive.

Question: What's your typical workday look like?

Answer: My workday starts at 10:30 in the morning. First things first, I'll check our email for support tickets. If there are any, I try to respond to the person who sent the request or to the support team within a few hours.

Our team is involved in the initial phase of feature design and discussions with the product management (PM) team. These discussions usually happen between 3 to 4 PM every day.

We have 24/7 monitoring set up for our servers in our Internet Data Centers (IDC), so we get immediate alerts if anything goes wrong with our servers. The problem will be identified and resolved as soon as possible. This is an unplanned work item.

The rest of my time is dedicated to coding and architecture design.

Q: How is an idea created and transformed into a feature?   

A: At Zoho, an idea can come from a developer, tester, or marketer. Usually, the PM team gathers intel and comes up with feature ideas. Once the base design is complete, we build a prototype to analyze and compute the cost of building the feature. If the prototype is successful, we'll add it to our product road map.

A feature release isn't a one-step process, and we'll have multiple developments and testing iterations. Once the feature is stable, we'll have an internal release and get feedback from our employees. If we get enough positive feedback, we'll release it.

Q: What tools and websites does the team use daily?

A: We use Zoho Projects for end-to-end task management for design, UX, and marketing. The development process is tracked using monthly milestones in GIT. We get our developer tools from our own technology website. We also use in-house automation and build creation tools to help with continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD).

Q: What exciting projects have you worked on so far?

A: Every project we work on is exciting, but if I had to name a few then it'd be: authorization layer and a fine layer of ORM-like interface. The authorization layer has been in existence for more than five years now and we didn't have to make any changes.

Q: What made you a developer?

A: I was brought up in one of the remotest parts of the country. I was fortunate to witness the transformations with the advent of technology and how it bridged the gap between the world and my village. That's when I wanted to be part of the tech providers who made the world a better place.

Mathematics was always my favorite subject. That one kid with a geeky interest in math and science in every class? Yeah that's me. Computer science and math complement each other and that's how they shaped me as a developer.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a developer?

A: Learn, and the best way to prepare yourself is by doing. Pick up a pet project, work on it, and you'd find a million ways which it could go wrong and another million ways to fix those issues. Those fixes are what make you a developer.

Q: Why did you choose Zoho and how long have been here?

A: It's the people of Zoho and their values that made me choose the company. I've spent more than seven years here. All credit goes to the work culture and supportive environment that made me comfortable to stay.

Q: What Zoho values resonate most with you and why?

A: Zoho values people based on how eager they are to learn and not based on their degrees. Having come from one of the remote parts of the country, I appreciate the extra steps the company takes to incorporate and develop rural talent.

Q: How have you grown as a developer since joining Zoho?

A: You grow faster in a place where you have the freedom to explore and experiment. Zoho gave me the space to do both. I joined here as an intern in 2014, then became part of the team as a Member Technical Staff (MTS) and worked my way up to be a Member Leadership Staff (MLS) in 2021.

Many thanks to Chandramathi for sharing your experiences as a developer!

Zoho WorkDrive has been consistently growing since its initial release in 2018. We started by serving a team of four users and we are now able to serve users around the world, with teams as small as four and as large as 40,000. Needless to say, it wouldn't have been possible without our developer team's hard work and creativity.

If you'd like to stay up to date on what our developers are releasing next, follow us on Twitter, visit our community forum, and check out the WorkDrive blog.


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