I Waited Five Years to Join Salesforce and It Was Worth It

by Valerie Nadi

 
When Salesforce Software Engineering Lead Member, Technical Staff (LMTS) Kranthi Baddepuri arrives home from work in the evening, his daughter is waiting. But before he can enter the house, he must pay a “toll” — perhaps a sweet or a small toy. If he forgets, she closes the door without letting him in. She’s his toughest customer. It’s a ritual that’s become a favorite part of his day — a day filled with challenges that stimulate him in an environment that’s like a second home.
 
“Most people leave home to go to work. For me, I leave home to come home. That’s the Salesforce culture. It’s a culture of family. Internally, our employees know this well. But external candidates can’t truly fathom it. Not until they’ve experienced our culture firsthand.”

Starting the Journey

After graduating in 2011 from the J B Institute of Engineering and Technology (JBIET) in Hyderabad, Kranthi relocated to Pune where he joined India’s Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC). Over the next three years, he applied his skills in Python, PostgreSQL, and other software languages to security and defence related projects.

Although Kranthi embraced his role, he was looking for something that combined new challenges with a family culture. Later that year, he learned Salesforce had been named a top workplace for exactly those reasons — opportunity and culture. 

“Until I found Salesforce, it seemed most companies’ primary concern was growth and revenue, not employee happiness. But it was obvious that Salesforce really cared about employee happiness in and out of the workplace.”

 

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In 2011, Kranthi applied for a role in software engineering. The timing wasn’t quite right, but his interest in Salesforce continued. Salesforce maintains a database of applications and searches them as new roles arise to find candidates whose skills align with our opportunities. So Kranthi was excited — and a little surprised — when a recruiter reached out years later to see if he might be open to discussing a new role.

The interview process included a coding assessment, three telephone and two video interviews while Kranthi was still in Pune, and one face-to-face interview in Hyderabad.

“All the interviews were friendly discussions. Not intimidating encounters where I was expected to have the right answer to tough questions. Interviewers were interested in how I might resolve a customer issue or how my approach to optimized coding could also maintain security.”

For the coding assessment, Kranthi was encouraged to use “smart skills” to optimize his approach to solving the coding problem. He was not expected to identify a pre-determined solution. Smart skills allow someone in a technical role to approach a problem from dual perspectives — that of the developer and customer.

“I recommend prioritizing quality code over completing the entire assignment. Salesforce wants to know that your code can maintain its standards for performance and security.”

Making an Immediate Impact with Space Reclamation

For any cloud-based company that hosts data for its customers, maintaining enough space for that data is vital. Salesforce continually invests in its storage infrastructure to meet this need. Nevertheless, as customers delete data from their Salesforce databases, the servers that hold the data become fragmented, so empty space cannot be reallocated to new data. Multiplied across hundreds of databases, this fragmentation wastes a lot of usable space.

In his first project after joining Salesforce, Kranthi developed an automated space reclamation framework using Python and Java. Database administrators (DBAs) can trigger space reclamation through a visual interface to the framework and the process is designed to run during off-peak hours, so it’s transparent to customers.

“Before the project, space reclamation was very manual. DBAs logged into each database and executed shell code to get the fragmented space back. But when I joined Salesforce in 2016, we decided to fully automate the process. Automation boosts efficiency by saving time, and in two years the project has reclaimed more than two Petabytes of data.”

The Pause that “Refreshes”

In order to prepare a customer for continued growth, Salesforce occasionally needs to perform an activity called instance refresh, where we upgrade the infrastructure supporting an instance in our data centers. Instance refresh means moving customers to different ports. There are two conditions that make this necessary: insufficient capacity for customer data and old hardware, in some cases both. Once a port is upgraded with greater data capacity and new hardware, it’s ready for the customer’s instance.

We communicate with customers four months in advance so they can prepare for the downtime refresh requires, which is about two hours. During downtime, customers can still use their Salesforce instance, but they cannot add or delete anything. Once the refresh is complete, customers will notice significantly improved performance.

“The process used to take much more time and it was very manual, but the time has been cut substantially with the automation tools we’ve built.”

Finding the Perfect Fit

When the call to join Salesforce came in 2016, Kranthi moved back to Hyderabad from Pune. Early on, his team was primarily based out of Singapore, so he worked remotely with them. This was a new experience that gradually evolved. The team expanded to add local members as the Salesforce presence in Hyderabad continues to grow. And with tools like GitHub and video chats, communication and camaraderie are robust regardless of geography.
When asked to offer some guidance for those looking to join Salesforce, Kranthi is enthusiastic. He says, “Be sure to keep monitoring the job board. There are many roles available and new positions are added frequently. I found my job through the career portal. It's how I learned about the company and the role I wanted. Be patient and good things will happen. And while you’re waiting, don’t forget tools like Trailhead where you can learn new skills.”

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