My Transformational Journey; An Intern to a Full-time Employee #lifeatlucideus

Aneesh Relan

Software Engineer — 3 | SAFE, Lucideus

Who would’ve thought bunking a boring lecture would land a fresher into the world of cybersecurity and get introduced to a company that is dedicated to securing the digital space.

How did it begin?
Early days into computer science engineering, we all wanted to learn about that geeky stuff, programming, development, but, you get restricted to the traditional boring college lectures, especially subjects like Physics and all you can think of are ways to bunk these lectures.

I was constantly looking for ways to miss out on an upcoming Physics lecture and that’s when I saw some student volunteers advertising an Ethical Hacking Workshop, Hack-X-ploit happening. In no time, I had myself enrolled in and went on to attend the workshop. This 2 day workshop was an eye-opener! I saw some really serious hacks getting demonstrated. Towards the end of the workshop, there was a small task; on successful completion of which one could get a chance to work as an Intern at Lucideus. I finished the task in about 30 mins (for which we were given 24 hours) and quickly mailed my task report which landed me an internship interview.

Back then Lucideus was new with a fairly small team and I bagged the opportunity to be an intern. Here’s where it all began! A stimulating, challenging journey of immense learning opportunities in cybersecurity. I was working directly under the mentorship of Vidit Baxi (Co-founder) and learned secure coding in terms of web and system development.

I worked on some web-based as well as system-based projects, which as you can imagine, were very exciting for a college fresher. By the end of the first year, I had numerous projects to cover the entire engineering curriculum. Then onwards, every summer/winter vacation I headed over to Lucideus to work on some new projects and contribute to some actual products that the company was developing. Even when I had to rejoin college, I would work remotely on the development projects and was in constant touch with the company’s projects.

Where every voice is heard!

It was time for my college placements and I wasn’t happy with the job offers that I had, both in terms of the profile and the package. At the back of my mind, I wanted to work on cutting-edge technology and was already inclined towards cybersecurity owing to my internship experiences at Lucideus.

In these 4 years, Lucideus had grown exponentially in terms of its projects, client base and the team. I contacted the Lucideus HR with my profile and quickly stated my past experience with Lucideus as an intern and now my interest to be a full-time employee. The interviews were set up quickly, most of these were with the mentors who I had been working with, I eventually cracked the interview process and got hired for the profile which I always aspired for. I got an opportunity to develop some interesting features for the company’s product, SAFE. I was responsible to establish and develop some cutting-edge modules for the product in terms of networking and network infrastructure.

Progressing with the client base, I moved into client-facing roles related to product deployments at client premises, attending client meetings and carrying out automated security assessments over our client’s technology infrastructure. From completing 10–15 product PoCs and leading various full-scale PO deployments, I was awarded for the Best Employee in Client Interaction Kudos award just before I completed my first year at Lucideus. With this kind of exposure to some large conglomerate clients, top banks of the country, I have learned a lot in terms of technology, network/server infrastructures and handling top-tier clients, managing expectations, delivery and escalations.

The amount of responsibility given to me, at first, was daunting given my experience (as a college fresher) and my confidence. This was the sole reason for the extreme learning curve that I could witness in myself.

After successfully, completing and handling almost every client that the company had for its product, I am now back into the development of the product, incorporating & developing some new features; ideas we received from the clients’ feedback. Since, I had an exposure to the client as well as the development, I could easily relate the feasibility of any upcoming feature and suggest suitable modifications that were mostly considered and embedded into the product.

Your voice is heard. Here, at Lucideus, there has not been a single day, when something that I have put forward, or any developer for that matter has brought on the table, has not been considered. Each of them is seriously considered and given a chance to work on ! This is when I feel I am a part of the Lucideus’ family and each team member is treated at par.

Wearing multiple hats

At Lucideus, we are encouraged to wear many hats and that is something which has contributed to an overall development both in terms of technical and interpersonal knowledge. I have been constantly working on multiple domains within the organisation.

Ranging from developing core modules of the product, handling clients, product feature requirements & deployments, automation and modern DevOps approach to the product’s development cycle, carrying out technical interviews, to leading an entire development team responsible for some crucial aspects of the product. With such vast experience and exposure at various domains and levels, Lucideus has enabled me to become an all-rounder.

The Journey since
There has been an exponential learning curve in my five years association with Lucideus, from when I joined as an Intern to now. From working on PHP/NodeJS based hybrid web apps, Python scripting, C# based windows scanners, to implementing some efficient and optimised solutions into the product using RabbitMQ queues, Redis caching. I’ve had the chance to set up these technologies from the very basic to defining the communication and the product architectures for such solutions. Going through this learning experience and a startup journey has its own ups and downs. I clearly remember some challenging times where it seemed to be a steep downhill slope. Some quick development tasks and ad-hoc features kind of messed up the product and got us into what could’ve been a major technical debt.

As soon as we realised, we took a step back and actually carved out a small development team to work on just refactoring and stabilising the core features of the product considering the fact that we may have to rewrite the entire codebase that initially took almost a year to be completed within a month. We worked day and night at a stretch and eventually delivered a much more robust and efficient version of the product that has now served as the strong roots of the product. Since then, we’ve progressed towards a much more stable product, incorporating some industry best practices in terms of development, initiating peer code-reviews and an automated build-release cycle to reduce manual effort and minimise chances of errors.

Today, when I look back at my college days, I see a great transformation in myself both in terms of my technical knowledge, skills and mostly my confidence. I had never imagined the magnitude of opportunities and exposure this early my career. The learning has been exponential, almost like witnessing a J-curve. I feel nothing short of honoured and proud to be a part of the Lucideus team or what we sweetly call the Lucideus Family.

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