Chester, VA (home)
Where do you live now?
Kiran: Palo Alto, California
What are your hobbies?
Kiran: I get really engrossed in the NBA season, especially now that I live in Warriors territory. Apologies (but not really) to the other 29 teams and their fans for breaking the league ;)
Other than that, most of my free time is dedicated to various audio (musical and non-) pursuits. I sing in an a cappella group with a bunch of coworkers, have resumed saxophone lessons, and edit podcasts both for volunteer work and personal side projects.
What are some of the things you're most proud of from your time at Epic?
Kiran: I'll start with the non-professional parts first. By far my biggest achievement (or let's just call it a moment of extreme serendipity) is meeting the woman who would become my wife. We met on day 1 of orientation and started dating just over two weeks later. Being able to share in both the highs and lows of our TS lives was by far the most significant part of my three years in Madison.
I also started the company's first a cappella group, The Ambulatones, within my first month there. I knew that Epic had to have a surplus of singing talent, so I created a group initially comprised of other July 2011 hires. Once word spread beyond that group, we found ourselves with gifted singers from all around the Epic sphere and got to perform at several UGMs and many other events around both Epic and Madison at large. We even recorded an EP before I left.
Professionally speaking, Epic is where I became more competent and self-sufficient. I developed an ability to effectively communicate with both technical and non-technical coworkers as a TS and a TC, I tried my hand at management in my TC and TL roles, and I became a fierce advocate for my customers. One of my proudest moments came during week 2 of a customer's rollout to a few additional home health agencies when I noticed an odd omission of a particular but necessary Medicare charge on several newly created accounts. They weren't caught by workqueues, but I knew the charges should have been listed, and the problem seemed pretty widespread. I quickly wrote a zr/zl (do those exist anymore?) to search all of the potentially affected accounts and uncovered roughly $30,000 in missing charges that were about to miss their billing cycles at the end of the week. After confirming the problem, I contacted my TL and TC, developed an SU, got it PQA'd and QA'd within about 3 days, and delivered it to the customer just in time to get the charges out on schedule. For a small agency on a tight budget with many employed nurses and therapists, I call that a win.
What was it that made you realize that it was time to venture beyond Epic?
Kiran: Towards the end of my second year, I felt that my professional development within the company had stagnated. I lost some of my excitement about the work, I left the office many days feeling exhausted, and I hadn't entirely shaken that lingering desire to go to grad school for music technology (something I didn't even know existed until several years before).
When I finished college, I wasn't immediately ready for grad school. I didn't know what I wanted to focus on academically, I didn't have a great resume, and I lacked confidence. My time at Epic changed all of that. Suddenly I had a wealth of experience as a technical professional, I was truly taking care of myself for the first time, and I had stayed musically active with my a cappella group. It was as good a time as any to start applying.
What have you been up to since leaving, and what are you most proud of in the time since?
Kiran: Shortly after leaving, I moved to New York to attend NYU's masters program in music technology. I studied the technical details of music and audio in all facets from recording and mixing in the studio to programming digital signal processing and analysis techniques. I also joined a few different a cappella groups in the city and even did my masters thesis on recording techniques and post-processing algorithms for a cappella music.
I'm proud of quite a lot in my post-Epic life. For starters, I got married to the same woman I met on my first day at Epic. She moved with me to New York, and we got engaged within a few months and married within a few years.
I also got a rare opportunity to teach a few courses towards the end of my time at NYU, including the same signal processing class that I had taken in my first semester not even roughly two years prior.
Several months after I graduated, my wife and I hopped in the car with our dog and drove to Palo Alto, California, where we have been living ever since. She's been working as a web developer, and I interned for five months at Dolby before landing an audio software development job at Apple. I've been there since December 2017 and couldn't be happier or more grateful for the opportunity.
What do you wish you had known before striking out for post-Epic life?
Kiran: Honestly, I wished I had a better sense of what career options existed for me outside of the Epic consulting route. I knew I wanted to go into a more audio-tech related field, but I couldn't for the life of me find an Epic-TS-of-the-audio-world type of role. All in all, I didn't lose anything significant; I spent a little more time than I would have liked on my job search, but I ultimately ended up with a pretty nice gig, so I can't complain. :)
What's next for you?
Kiran: I'm going to enjoy being settled for a while, get more established in my career, and continue my saxophone lessons so I can become better than I ever was in college. That's all I have planned for now, and it feels great!
Musician, Recording Editor, Software Developer... Everyone should find the joy of focusing on their passions like you have, Kiran, well done! Congratulations on the marriage, the music, the move, and the métier!