Adobe & Careers

Define Your Destiny and Make it Happen

October 5, 2011

Smart planning and continuing education helped Simran S. change his Adobe career path from security officer to manager, Network infrastructure.

When Simran began working at Adobe as a security contractor in 1991, he wore a uniform and checked badges – but not for long. His strong ambition and hands-on career management helped him ascend from a security officer, to getting hired as the Safety and Security Manager at Adobe in 1996, then into IT as a network administrator, and now he’s Manager of Network Infrastructure.

In this interview, Simran shares his path and how he made the leap from Security to IT.

 Q: Describe your first role at Adobe.
A: When I took the job as Safety and Security Manager in 1996, Adobe was based in Mountain View. We were building the campus in San Jose and I worked closely with the city of San Jose, Police and Fire department to ensure our emergency systems and safety plans were compliant. I was also responsible for and conducted the new hire employee orientation; established the Security Operation Center; assisted in the initial deployment of the Emergency Response Team; ergonomic and employee wellness programs; as well as the anti-piracy program and investigation efforts.

Q: How did you identify the next moves you wanted to make in your career? What kept you motivated?
A: I was doing my two – five year planning as to where I saw my career developing and focused on technology. While working in security I was involved with the anti-piracy program and investigations. I participated in organizations that dealt with high-tech crimes; and as I interacted with those groups I became interested more in technology, networking, and computers.

I found my passion in part by working with facilities and was intrigued with the technologies, and wanted to know more about how things happen behind the scenes.

Q: How did you get the opportunity to change departments?
A: My role as the Safety and Security manager afforded me the opportunity to regularly interact with senior managers and executive teams. I approached an IT director and sat down with him to find out how someone with my background and skills could morph into a new role in IT at the company. He was instrumental in getting me where I am today. He opened up a requisition that allowed me to make a lateral move as a network administrator in 1998.

Q: Given that you did not have a background in IT, you must have had some skill gaps. What did you do to resolve them?
A: During my role as network administrator, it was evident my technical skills were limited. I had to understand how networking protocols work. I needed to understand how data moved. I looked for classes nearby that would help enhance my knowledge from a technical aspect – specific classes on fundamentals of TCIP, wide area networks, LAN. Adobe’s Tuition Reimbursement program enabled me to take those classes. My hands-on experience while working was extremely helpful.

I am focused and determined when I go after something. I was not at all apprehensive when I made the decision to go to IT. I made a commitment that if given the opportunity I would succeed – I just needed the chance. I just jumped in with both feet.

Q: Describe how you got from that first IT job to where you are today.
A: I worked really hard to continue to develop my skills to move up in the network team from network engineer, to senior engineer, to lead; and now to my current role as manager, Network Infrastructure. I am responsible for various aspects of the network, including, LAN switching and routing, data center networking, wireless, and guest network. I lead a team that is very focused on meeting challenges to keep up with Adobe’s demand and technology changes. I also partner closely with facilities on construction projects to articulate IT standards for new construction.

Q: Everyone has a mentor, someone who guides them through and offers advice on how to navigate the system. Who was your mentor?
A: I have been fortunate to work with really good managers, who have given me the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from them, and pick myself up and move on. Adobe has really great people with amazing talent. Over the years I have been approached by different companies, however I have never felt a need to move as Adobe has provided me the opportunities for growth; and continues to do so.

Q: How do you develop on the job?
A: I absorb a lot from different interactions from senior managers about what makes them successful. I try to take projects that no one wants to take and get involved in things I am not 100 percent comfortable with. I try to go after things outside of my comfort level. I am also looking into Santa Clara University’s MBA program and analyzing if it is a good fit.

Q: What advice do you have for those who are eager to grow their careers?
A: 1. Take control –really take control of your own career development and destiny. Take charge if you want something and be focused about what you want.

2. Make things happen – If you have identified what you want to do, you have to take control and make it happen. Take advantage of job shadowing opportunities and job sharing/stretch assignments. Consider using the education assistance program to go back to school so you can build your skills.

3. Be open to possibilities – If I rewind myself through the years I was a security officer here I am now as manager, Network Infrastructure. Anything is possible.

4. Leverage the daily interactions with your colleagues. You will learn a lot and you never know who may be able to help you.

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