This company is truly diversified. It provides an inclusive environment and unites cultures and life experiences for all of us who are working around the world. This diversity gives us all exposure to a variety of new ideas and perspectives.
Every month, we get to know a member of our team, highlighting their unique and essential role here at Kaiju. In an age of extreme specialization, we sometimes know very little about jobs outside our sphere. In this space, we also get to know a bit about our colleagues’ personal lives, and how those have informed their career journeys. Finally, Meet Kaiju is a way to celebrate the diverse cultures and backgrounds of our global team.
All of these threads come together to undergird Kaiju with a rich mixture of strengths. Hint: it’s never technology; our people are the company.
This month, our spotlight is trained on DevOps Engineer Uthayan Nadarajah, who hails from Sri Lanka and currently resides in Toronto. For those not in the know, “DevOps” is a portmanteau of the terms “software development” and “information technology (IT) operations,” and in Uthayan’s capable hands, it results in constant improvements to Kaiju’s technology.
That may all sound like a mouthful, but as you’ll see from this Q&A, Uthayan brings clarity to this otherwise esoteric concept. He also explains what he’d like to do at Kaiju in the future. He makes the technical accessible for the regular people. While a lot of people may be intimidated by such terms as “container-based ecosystem” and “microservice-oriented,” Nadarajah lays it all out so it’s not just understandable, it conveys his excitement about doing things in new ways.
As part of our ongoing “Meet Kaiju” series, we caught up with Uthayan to ask him about growing up during wartime and uprooting himself to move to North America. We think you’ll find that he’s a thoughtful person with a lot of aspirations and a lot of vision for Kaiju’s future.
Q. Where did you grow up and what was your family like?
A. I grew up in northern Sri Lanka during the civil war, which lasted from 1983 to 2009. I managed to flee the country and landed in Canada as a refugee with just $100 in my pocket. I worked a lot of different full-time jobs so that I could eventually pay my own way through school. My education made all the difference for me, and it was something my father always prioritized.
My dad was a hard-working businessman who didn’t have an opportunity to get a great education himself, so he always made sure that I applied myself at school, no matter what life threw at me. I was always drawn to technology. Even at an early age, I participated in school contests where I could show off my skills. My parents always encouraged me to pursue what I was passionate about, and they supported me every step of the way.
Q. You've worked for some very large companies in the past, such as Unilever and Hewlett-Packard. What were some of the pros and cons of that type of environment?
A. Being able to get a job at a large, well-known corporation is a testament to the fact that hard work breeds career success. It gives you great opportunities for advancement, and as long as you’re willing to work hard, you’ll stand out.
The problem is that in many large corporations, your responsibilities are well-established and if you try to solve a problem that isn’t specifically owned by you or by your department, you’re likely to step on someone’s toes. Those kinds of “ownership” issues can be a real problem in larger companies with a lot of different departments, and they can really interfere with a company’s ability to rapidly improve its technology.
Q. You also worked at Cancer Care Ontario. How was that different from working in the corporate world?
A. It was different, very much so. Working there gave me a sense of purpose. I was proud to be of service to the community I lived in.
I was helping to improve people’s lives through technology. We helped measure, manage, and report on surgical waiting times for more than 3,300 surgeons across 121 healthcare sites. We also helped capture and report data about surgical efficiency in 850 operating rooms across Ontario, as well as MRI and CT scan waiting times for 107 healthcare sites.
The data helped healthcare providers monitor and manage patients' waiting times and health system performance. It also made healthcare facilities more accountable. So yes, it was different!
Q. How did you end up working at Kaiju?
A. I wanted to work remotely. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time travelling, because I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family. As I explored opportunities, Kaiju was looking to expand, and we found each other. Timing is everything!
Q. Are there technologies that Kaiju doesn't use yet that you'd like to integrate?
A. I’d like to move towards a container-based ecosystem and change the factoring of our applications so that they’re more microservice-oriented.
Container-based ecosystems allow developers to create and deploy applications faster and more securely, whether the application is a traditional monolith or a collection of loosely coupled services. I would like to see the company move more in this direction.
Containerized microservices allow developers to build applications from the ground up. That means that we’re taking what was once a complex and unwieldy application and turning it into a series of much smaller, specialized, and manageable services. Existing applications can be repackaged into containers – or containerized microservices – that compute resources more efficiently.
Q. What would you say is Kaiju’s biggest strength as a company?
A. This company is truly diversified. It provides an inclusive environment and unites cultures and life experiences for all of us who are working around the world. This diversity gives us all exposure to a variety of new ideas and perspectives. David Schooley, our Chief Technology Officer, always encourages us to explore cutting-edge technologies and solutions, which are great learning opportunities.
Photo by Ricky Flores
Daniel Bukszpan's reporting and commentary on finance, technology, and politics has been published in Fortune, The Daily Beast, CNBC.com, and other outlets. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.