Ajoy Kumar Singha

There is always a risk associated with my name. Whenever I pronounce my name for someone who needs to write it down, there is 60% chance of my full name being misspelled. My name is 'Ajoy Kumar Singha'. Of these three words Kumar is often the only correctly spelled one.

I spent my childhood in a bengali dominated area. The pronounce the word 'ajay - commonly written version of my name' as 'o-joy'. So when I wrote my name in primary school they modified it to 'Ajoy'.

Similarly with my surname 'singha'. When you write this spelling in Bengali or Manipuri, the pronunciation is 'sing-ho'- lion in Bengali. 'Singha' is not a popular surname in rest of the India except in southern Assam. So when you say your sure name is 'singha', they write either 'sinha'- popularised by Shatrughan Sinha or 'singhal' - extra L to suite what they have heard so far.

Here is some of the problems I faced due to my incorrectly spelled name: :-)

1. ICICI Bank sent me a gold credit card with incorrect surname 'Sinha' although I had submitted my passport copy, PAN card and salary slip with the application.

2. An MBBS doctor spelled my name as 'Ajay Sinha' in his prescriptions, all test reports and medicine bills. I had a big fight with my medical insurance company when I wanted to reimburse the cost.

3. I donated Blood during my college days. I was awarded with a donor's card with 'Ajay Singha' written on it
.....list goes on.

A friend of mine sent me a list of names with meanings of each name. I did not find my name 'Ajoy' in that list. That inspired me to do some research on my name. The easiest way was to do some Google search. Here is what I found out.

1. Google web-search with 'Ajoy' returned the following : Results 1 - 10 of about 345,000 for Ajoy. (0.19 seconds)

2. The same search when I clicked 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button directs to http://www.ajoy.com.au/

3. According to register.com information, ajoy.com, ajoy.net are already registered domains. ajoy.info is still available.

4. Google Image-search with 'Ajoy' returned : Results 1 - 20 of about 6,060 for Ajoy. (0.09 seconds). All size image with moderate sate search on.

5. Google web-search with 'Ajoy Kumar Singha' without double quotes returned the following :Results 1 - 10 of about 743 for Ajoy Kumar Singha. (0.21 seconds)

6. Google web-search with 'Ajoy Kumar Singha' with double quotes returned the following :Results 1 - 8 of 8 for "Ajoy Kumar Singha". (0.26 seconds). All this results were related to my blog, my comments on other blogs, my profile on wikipedia, my engineering college website guest book entry.

7. I did the same search with the pages from India option. I got the following result : Your search - "Ajoy Kumar Singha" - did not match any documents.

8. I tried 'define:Ajoy' (finding the definition of Ajoy) on Google search did not give any result either.

9. While doing all this I found out one river in West Bengal (India) called 'Ajoy'. I did a Google Map search for the same but could not locate it.

10. Finally I surfed http://babynames.indobase.com/indian-boys.php and found out the meaning of 'Ajoy', which says the meaning is 'Joyful'.

Here is one image search result from http://spiritnetwork.com/ajoy/titleajoy.gifajoy/titleajoy.gif

So next time you want to use my name for writing, pronouncing, please do it properly.
I wasted few hours for writing and you wasted few minutes for reading this post. If you want to do the same time wasting activity, please go ahead, do a same type of research with your name. And send the material, link or e-photocopy to aksingha@gmail.com I would be happy to waste some of my minutes for you.

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Ajoy Kumar Singha

Mohit wrote this in one of the orkut communities.

"Hi Friend,
Actually I am working in a call centre in technical support Division. Work is related to maintenance. I passed out with electronics from an REC in 2003. But looking the family conditions I have to join whatever got that time. with a bond on 2 years. Now I managed to setup my family and want to come in real field. I come to know from my friends about software testing , which an emerging field and easy to get into.I also have done Software testing course of 2 months from xxx training institute.
In my present field there is not so growth, and moreover I have to work as a technician.
There are not vacancies for fresher or they prefer 2006/07 pass outs.Dear friend can you advise me? Should I apply as a fresher or with showing 2 years of experience in software testing? In this case , will company investigate my past?
I have not made my resume yet. Please advise me. I have taken the firm decision to change my field. Looking for a job at Delhi.
Thanks again."

..... And there are so many Mohits in today's IT industry, specially in software testing. People think software testing as a launch pad to IT industry, easy, and not requiring hardcore technical, coding, system knowledge etc. It is not. Software testing is not an easy job. It requires skills to find defects in software, ability to think beyond the obvious, think in different ways. Doing a 2 months theoretical course is not enough to become a software tester. Developers write codes, testers find defects. It is similar to students writing paper and professor checking them. Testers are the guardians of the product. They are responsible for software's quality. It is well said that "testers do not make software, they make them better."

So here are some advice for Mohit and etc:

1. Yes it is very easy to use software testing as launch pad to IT industry, but it is equally difficult to keep flying if you do not have the real skill. It is very easy to clear interview, but equally tough to do the real work.

2. If you show 2 years (fake) experience, most of the companies will do a background check. If you are caught, you are black listed.

3. Doing a course in software testing is good. But do not assume that the training provider will get you a job. It all depends on your skill. Do not listen to fake promises by training institutes.

4. Learn skills that are required to be a tester. Talk to the experienced people who are in the same profession. Keep your eyes, ears open. Learn about the new technologies. Prepare for ISTQB exam. If you can, do this certification.

5. Enhance your reasoning ability. Try to think every possible thing in different ways. If you are a fresher, download some beta version software and test it. Compare your results with other fellows testing the beta software. If you find some bugs, mention them in your resume.

6. Be honest. Say that you are a fresher in software testing. But mention that you have work experience (Call center technical support in Mohit's case). Prepare a valid reason why you want to join IT industry. Don't say growth opportunity. Show your passion for software testing.

7. You will eventually become a technician if you do not have skills. To achieve growth (in any industry), you have to be proactive, prove your skill and perform better than the team. This is same in IT industry as well as in BPOs.

At the end, anyone who is hard working, smart working, skilled and honest will lift the cup. Prepare yourself. Don't be knocked down by your past. You have a war in future to be won. All the best Mohit.

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Ajoy Kumar Singha

1. Passport validity date.
2. Visa Expiry date.
3. Invitation letter from the company for which you will be working.
4. Buy some dollars or euros (check out the conversion rate with respect to Indian Rupee).
5. Air Tickets (Both ways, if applicable), keep photo copy of all papers in a separate folder in case you misplace something, this will become handy.
6. Note down the address for Indian Embassy offices for that particular country. You will find this in any tourist guide books. Note down the telephone numbers.

1. Determine how long you will stay in that country.
2. Study about the weather changes.
3. Take clothes suitable for that weather. I suggest taking clothes from India unless they are cheaper in that country.
4. Make sure that your baggage weight is less than the limit allowed by the airlines. There will be some fine if your baggage is heavier than allowed limit. Check out with local airlines authorities.
5. Take commonly used medicines with you. Most of foreign countries require a doctor prescription for buying any common medicine.
6. If you are interested in Photography, buy rolls from India only. Rolls will be costlier there (I am talking about Europe/UK/US).
7. Buy a prepaid tele-calling card as soon as you arrive at that country, unless you have international roaming mobile. For most the countries if you need to make ISD calls you have to use prepaid calling cards. You can insert those calling cards in any public call booths and make calls to anywhere.
8. Know about the food habit of that particular country/City. Prepare yourself according to the local norms. Lots of people find it difficult in first few days to adjust food habits. For example you will find difficulty in finding daal rice/chapati in Europe city unless you are familiar with the city whereabouts first. Take help of local guys. Vegetarian guys take special attention of this.
9. Don't forget to adjust your watch to the local time as soon as you reach there.
10. Also you have to take care of the sleeping time cycle. It generally takes 48 hours to adjust to local time.

At the airport:
1. Try to arrive at the airport 3 hours before departure time. Keep your tickets, passport with visa, and any other relevant documents with you. Don't keep these things in your luggage. Once you check in you will get a boarding pass which will also mention your seat number and gate number through which you have to board the flight. You have to fill a migration form and submit to the customs before boarding the flight.
2. Don't take heavy lunch/dinner before the flight. Drink lots of water. It will save you from dehydration during the flight.
3. Don't leave your baggage and walk away. Submit the baggage at designated airline baggage handling department. Take proper receipt for it. Generally they will give a barcode sticker once you submit the baggage. You can take a small hand bag with you inside the flight.
4. After reaching your destination airport, don't forget to collect the baggage. Perform all necessary activities particular for that country for visa stamping and migration check.
5. Ask your friend/company to send someone to pick you up from the airport itself. Otherwise take a prepaid cab to the destination/your hotel.
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Ajoy Kumar Singha

Recently I came across a good email which was forwarded to me by my colleague. It is about staying late at office, specially in IT organisations. I have seen, in my small career in IT industry, that lots of people stay back in office after normal office hours (9am to 6pm). Why do these people stay back in office after normal office hours?

I can list down some of the reasons:

1. 45 hours a week: Most of IT companies work 5 days a week. So you need to spend 9 hours a working day. People come late to office at 10am or beyond that. So to compensate 9 hours they have to stay back in office.
2. Personal Work: Lots of people indulge in personal work while in office. It is done better when most of the employees leave after 6pm. With no managers and colleagues around, it is fun to surf internet, chat over the office telephone keeping aside free coffees and Air conditioned rooms.
3. False Impression to Manager: Most of the managers think who stays back at office after office hours put extra effort to project. They misinterpret sitting late as working late. People leaving the office at late hours are considered as hardworking and dedicated.
4. And lots more..

So is it a good practice?

I don't think so. Let me tell you why.

1. Sitting late should not be confused with working late.
2. People who stay late do not know how to manage their work, finish work in time. If you cannot finish your work within normal office hours, you are a slow worker or your manager does not have good estimation skill.
3. People who come to office late are late risers. Late rising is not a good habit.
4. Flexi hour does not mean coming late to office and staying back without any reason. Flexi hour gives you flexibility to compensate missing hours when you have some urgent personal work in the office hours that you cannot avoid.
5. Staying late at office will cost your oraganisation with extra energy spent for office lighting. USA has Daylight Saving Time (US Energy Saving Act). They work one hour ahead during summer so that they can save energy. Give earth a chance !
6. I don't know how ethical it is to do personal work in office hours. When internet is so cheap, internet cafes are available at every corner of your locality, why do we need to spend so much time in checking gmail, orkut, yahoo and youtube in office and doing ALT+TAB when project manager is around? Oh yeh, I forgot to mention, internet cafes do not have firewalls and IT Administrator watching your browsing behavior.

I had a manager who used to come to office at 8am and leave office at 5.30pm. I have always appreciated this habit. This gives a lot of advantages. You come to office with no one around, less traffic in road, perform the important tasks quickly. If you find any problem there are plenty of time remaining within the day. Leave office early before the peak traffic rush hour. Go home quickly; spend time with your family. Watch your favourite TV programs.

So please complete your work within time. Don't make a habit of staying late unnecessarily. Once you do this and make it a habit, your manager will take it for granted and expect you to do this every time. And think when you get family life and leaving office early (on time) your manager will think that you are no longer dedicated as earlier. You are a looser then.

Vinit Nayar, President, HCL Technologies, says, "Big is not equal to Best." Let me say - "Sitting late is not equal to Working late. Working late is not hard working, it is hardly working." It is a myth just as Ram Setu.

OK, now you can throw on me flower pots, chairs, rotten eggs and chappals.
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Ajoy Kumar Singha

From Devankur Thakur's Blog:

I have gathered a few points about the difference between smoke and sanity testing from the responses of two software testing groups. I have added the points below.

However, my experience of executing the Smoke and Sanity testing has been the following:

Smoke Test:
When a build is received, a smoke test is run to ascertain if the build is stable and it can be considered for further testing.

Smoke testing can be done for testing the stability of any interim build.
Smoke testing can be executed for platform qualification tests.

Sanity testing:
Once a new build is obtained with minor revisions, instead of doing a through regression, sanity is performed so as to ascertain the build has indeed rectified the issues and no further issue has been introduced by the fixes. It’s generally a subset of regression testing and a group of test cases are executed that are related with the changes made to the app.

Generally, when multiple cycles of testing are executed, sanity testing may be done during the later cycles after through regression cycles.

1)Smoke testing originated in the hardware testing practice of turning on a new piece of hardware for the first time and considering it a success if it does not catch fire and smoke. In software industry, smoke testing is a shallow and wide approach whereby all areas of the application without getting into too deep, is tested.
A sanity test is a narrow regression test that focuses on one or a few areas of functionality. Sanity testing is usually narrow and deep.

2)A smoke test is scripted--either using a written set of tests or an automated test

A sanity test is usually unscripted.

3)A Smoke test is designed to touch every part of the application in a cursory way. It's is shallow and wide.
A Sanity test is used to determine a small section of the application is still working after a minor change.

4)Smoke testing will be conducted to ensure whether the most crucial functions of a program work, but not bothering with finer details. (Such as build verification).
Sanity testing is a cursory testing; it is performed whenever a cursory testing is sufficient to prove the application is functioning according to specifications. This level of testing is a subset of regression testing.

5)Smoke testing is normal health check up to a build of an application before taking it to testing in depth.
Sanity testing is to verify whether requirements are met or not, checking all features breadth-first.

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Ajoy Kumar Singha
Is it enough to just work hard in order to succeed? Maybe not. Making your boss aware of your merit and contributions is important too...

WHY do many of us feel unrecognised, unrewarded or underpaid, compared to what we think we deserve at work? Why is it that boss-bashing is a popular pastime? A nasty one goes “Boss is a double sob spelt backwards!” Management research also confirms that, by and large, employees join organizations but leave bosses.

The boss represents the organization to us and has a major influence in shaping our perception about the organization, its culture and career growth opportunities. So, do you continue to remain at the mercy of ‘bad bosses’, or is there something you can do to alter their perception?

Organizational life differs from academic life in one fundamental way: unlike in school or college, your success in an organization is not dependent on you alone. While your efforts and contribution certainly count, the impact of inter-dependence, support and other environmental factors is significant.
As part of the hiring and induction drill, organizations will consistently and liberally use phrases like ‘meritocracy’, ‘performance-based’ etc. But truth be told, reward and progression are not based on performance, but on the perception of your performance. Whose perception: yours or your supervisor’s? Clearly, the boss is always right! So you have to perform AND be seen performing. You may believe that results or numbers speak for themselves, but bosses may need hearing aids! Remember that while bosses have multiple subordinates, you have one boss, or maybe two in a matrix setup. So clearly, you have far more at stake in making the relationship with the boss click. In fact, the boss is quite likely focused on impressing the super boss!

To help your case, you could increase your interaction with the boss. That does not mean you hang around his office looking busy and neglecting your work! Create a context for meeting and generate valid data for his decision making. Provide a crisp one-page progress update, with what American MNCs term, a ‘Hits’ (achievements) & ‘Misses’ (shortfalls) report, possibly adding a brief section on plans and issues going forward.

A common complaint one hears is about the lack of objectivity in their evaluation process, often ending with an exasperated “It’s all so subjective!” While objectives or targets have a role in assessment, evaluations demand subjective judgment calls by managers. If performance could be objectively measured, managers would have long ago been replaced by a computer software programme! Managers are paid to make decisions based upon their subjective evaluation. One sees many unhappy employees moaning that they perform well, but the boss “always rewards or promotes his favourite(s)”. This is often a case of misalignment with what the boss expects. You may do a brilliant job of some assignment, but if it is not in line with the priorities of the boss, you may not get due credit. Most bosses prefer a competent and aligned subordinate to one who’s brilliant but misaligned, which would require high maintenance!

It is extremely important that you recognise and accept that the boss has two prerogatives in any organisation: Prioritisation of your work, ie, which activity needs to be completed first and Resource Allocation, ie, how much time, money, materials, manpower you will get to complete the assigned work. Sure, you can negotiate to push back, but the boss finally decides. Some bosses may keep quiet while you stray from the agreed priorities, but come assessment time, they will surely take stock.

**Times Life/Sunday Times of India/18-03-2007
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