Vishnu H Prasad : An Accidental Civil Servant

Life @ Ittiam

Memories  fade. Since all the fun lie in the parts you forget, I am writing this memoir about my 2 year stint in Ittiam. I hope this can be helpful to those who intend to join Ittiam just like Renjith Ponnapans’ blog helped me.

Ittiam Systems is one of the few companies in India that use the Intellectual Property (IP) Model  (The company has started to slowly experiment with new business models now). It’s core area of expertise lies in Embedded Systems with main focus on Embedded Media. While the company had started to focus on more areas when i was leaving, I believe, given the demand for embedded systems and the need for optimum technology in the domain, Ittiam will remain focused in this area for some time to come.

The nature of the job you will do and the domains in which you will be able to build expertise can be gleaned from the Ittiam Website. I intend to elaborate on what it feels like to work in Ittiam.

Ittiam has a very talented workforce. The range of colleges from which they recruit is very varied, right from Maryland to IISC to CUSAT. The recruitment process is fairly good and conventional. It is not neither too tough nor too easy.  We had a written test followed by one round of technical interview and one round of HR interview, all conducted at the Richmond Road Office.

During the first two months, you attend a lot of initiation sessions, which are kind of like recap sessions, where you go through the fundamentals of many concepts that you learnt in college. You learn how these concepts are applied in a larger project. You are also taught many practices specific to Ittiam:- Like the Ittiam Coding standards, code guidelines, check-in policy, hardware handling precautions etc.

Parallel to these sessions you will be slowly inducted into a project ( There were two kinds of projects when I was working with Ittiam. Roadmap projects and Customer Projects. Roadmap projects were internal projects that were futuristic aimed at building the core software and IP that Ittiam uses in its customer projects. I was assigned to a Roadmap project) and the fun begins.

The company culture in Ittiam is very good. You can have a lot of fun while working. Being a small company ( strength wise), you tend to know every other person. Having gone through a similar situation in my college (which had only three engineering streams at the time) I loved this. You get the feeling that you are doing more than works and the professional environment loses the kind of tautness that is usually seen in other larger companies.

There are activities like “Tamasha” which will help you blow steam. In addition to this there are a lot of unofficial clubs dealing with subjects from Photography to Music to even evening snacks. Your first salary, birthdays in the team, festivals, everything calls for a celebration. The composition of the teams had started to change by the time I was about to leave. They had started some major organisational revamp and the numerical strength of most teams increased. Every now and then you have Team Outings/Business Unit Outings/Project Outings.

As a fresher, Ittiam is a very good place to be. You get to learn a lot of new things and in most cases there are people to hold your hand and walk you through. You get to work with cutting edge technology and most of Ittiam’s clients are very high profile. The kind of responsibility that is thrust on you right from the start, I think is very encouraging.

The salary and benefits in Ittiam are on par with industry standards. It is in noway comparable to likes of Google or Yahoo!, however a lot of other factors should also be taken into consideration when you take up a job. The rumours that did rounds when I was working there was that the company management had rewarded the loyal employees who staid during the Recession were handsomely rewarded when the tide subsided. So, if Ittiam makes a killing out there, you can expect your fortunes also to rise. However, what I have seen most people do is to rake in enough experience and learn as much as they can and then leave for higher studies or better options.

The HR Team is good and co-operative. I did not have any complaints regarding them during my stay at Ittiam. Given that most of my friends hate the HR Department, I believe this was a marked step up. They are approachable and helpful in most cases.

There are three downsides that I would like to add here

  1. The work becomes hectic many a times. Especially towards the date of customer releases, you will have to slog it out. If you are a 9-5 person, or believe in the 40 hour work week, skip Ittiam.
  2. Most of us used to complain about the lunch that was served. There was a “Brahmin” bias, I think. The food was vegetarian, and there were not many items. However, it was always healthy. I never had any health issues eating the food served there.
  3. There is no sprawling campus. So if you aim to have some personal development along with work, then Ittiam will disappoint you. Consider this:- In Yahoo! there was a seriously fantastic gym, library, food court etc. Ittiam simply can’t match up to those standards.


Some of the people whom I worked with were

Some of these people still works in Ittiam. If a company is able to gain that kind of loyalty, then it should be doing something right, Right?


My Application Specific Media Systems Team @ Ittiam. Later we were renamed VNS

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