What It’s Like to Work for a Global Organization that Thinks Like a Start-Up

“Incredible things can be done if we are committed to making them happen!”

This quote pretty much sums up the story of Vasantha Srirambhatla, a senior technologist at Intel. Vasantha joined Intel over four years ago, bringing with her immense talent and a career that spans 25 years. During that time, she built a team, learned a lot, and got the opportunity to experience the start-up-like agility that Intel offers.

“I was working for Soft Machines Inc. on SoC FE execution when it was acquired by Intel in 2016. And, it’s been an exciting journey so far. Intel offers the flexibility that is needed to make choices. Anyone can explore the myriad of options and mold themselves!”

Moving Out of the Comfort Zone     

Vasantha started her career working in the public sector of Hyderabad on defense projects. Despite the stability and security of a government job, she soon realized she wanted to work on something more challenging. Within four years, she found her calling in technology. Vasantha decided to join a start-up. Though she had just embraced motherhood, she was enthusiastic about learning and working on new technologies where she could play a critical role.

That was just the beginning. Vasantha has stayed ahead of the curve by constantly learning and evolving with the technology landscape. Today, as a technologist, she is among the brilliant minds behind the cutting-edge technology used in Intel products. She and her team are responsible for the end-to-end execution of a developmental chip that is used to validate benchmarks for the company’s latest processor technology.

Her role involves proving the technology standards set by Intel in terms of processing power, speed, performance, and more. In her current project, Vasantha and her team work on the microarchitecture, explore challenges, and evaluate behavior to ensure the performance is higher than its predecessor and the competition.

“Typically, my day is divided between planning and executing, technical development, and testing. From identifying technology gaps and prioritizing tasks to conducting reviews and ensuring flawless execution, I have to update the management on the next steps to be taken. This ensures we create the right technology that can be integrated into our future products.”

Vasantha notes that it often involves making tough decisions. One such tape-out, or what is known as the “critical phase” of tech execution, required her to collaborate closely with multiple entities and identify and redefine tasks to be executed in parallel instead of a sequential manner. She then had to monitor and decide the next steps to be taken. One of her highlights from this project was getting execution time down to four weeks.

A Start-up Mindset and a Never-Give-up Attitude

With years of experience working at various start-ups, Vasantha believes Intel is a highly flexible technology leader that offers the best of both worlds. Her current role brings her the agility of a start-up while still working for a market-leading, global-scale organization.

In start-up culture, everyone is given an opportunity, even if they don’t have the expertise. That’s when the learning happens. Start-ups enable the employee to execute efficiently. When I began looking for something more challenging at Intel, I was fortunate to get an opportunity to join the Emerging Technologies and Engineering Group. Here, I was able to build a team that functions like a start-up.”

Vasantha’s role needed her to do things she had never done before. She wasn’t an expert in end-to-end processes, but the management backed her throughout the journey.

At Intel, I have learned to challenge myself. From learning the new terminologies to understanding the technologies, it has been a great learning phase.”

Beyond the Technology Realm

Despite the years of experience, Vasantha was always hesitant to take up roles beyond the technology realm. All this changed with Intel.

After a couple of years at Intel, I am a more confident person. There is an opportunity for all, irrespective of gender if you are willing to learn. These years have defined me to be a different person, take up leadership roles, and work with an attitude that always says: ‘Yes, I can try and make things happen.’”

Vasantha now mentors young technologists to ensure they don’t make the same mistakes that she didespecially women. She urges them to ask more questions, be open to trying new things, as well as failing and relearning.

“To young technologists at Intel, my advice would be to get out of the comfort zone. Project yourself in a way that you are open to try new things and build trust with the management. Be bold–and fearless!”

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