Saran Babu had never used a computer until he was 18, but now heads a team that creates world-class IT products.
Opportunity knocked at Saran Babu’s door when he was 17. Saran had just finished Plus Two in a Corporation school in Guindy and was looking for a BPO job to make ends meet at home. That is when Saran was picked up by Zoho to undergo an 18-month training programme and chanced upon Zoho University, an initiative by Zoho Corporation, Chennai.
When Zoho visited Saran’s institute, about 50 students applied to take up the aptitude test, out of which 30 were shortlisted, and finally, only six joined. Zoho promised a decent stipend besides a possibility of getting absorbed in the company. However, “Not all the students took that leap of faith, but I’m glad I went ahead with it,” says Saran.
Saran Babu had a passion to learn about computers and was keenly interested in the subject since Std XII. “We were a batch of six who spent time learning computer languages such as C Programming, HTML and others. We used to try out the programmes on real time and the practical experience motivated us further.”
He was offered a job at Zoho Corporation soon after his training and today, at the age of 25, Saran manages a high-performing team of 10 engineers and plays an important role in the online database creation tool. Saran collaborated with his colleagues to create an online database builder. An easy drag-and-drop interface, this software lets one create a customised application for every data collection need, defining a workflow and configuring business rules that are unique to a particular business.
Saran has also helped develop some of Zoho’s key products like Zoho Sites, Zoho spreadsheet and the Zoho office suite, which compete with software giants like Google and Microsoft. He added another feather to his cap when leading search engine corporation Yahoo!, impressed with his software products during a presentation in Japan, offered a lucrative job which he turned down to continue his work at Zoho.
In the software industry where engineers from reputed colleges are in high demand, Saran proved his mettle with just 18 months of training. “It’s not necessary to be a graduate from an IIT or Anna University to be able to develop world-class products,” says Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho Corporation. “When youngsters give it all to their work and solve problems meticulously, they will surely be successful.”