Sandeep Rawat - Formal Education Does Not Essentially Define an Individual's Capabilities and Achievements (Co-Founder and CTO - Opstree Solutions & Buildpiper)

I believe in 'learning' and this can come through various sources - experiential, formal education, etc. Formal education is definitely a very structured approach to learning and has evolved significantly over the years. From cramming textbooks during my time to the new age pedagogy, which is more experiential and at par with global education standards, provides the perfect path to learning.

Tell us about your background, journey, and upbringing. 

My background and upbringing have actually been the true driving force throughout my journey. Coming from humble beginnings, a consistent focus on sincerity & hard work had been inculcated in me since my early childhood days. 

Despite the focus on discipline the environment crafted around us was very progressive. This led me to pursue entrepreneurship, with calculated risk-taking, back when job security and especially the security with a government job was a much sought-after career choice. I definitely believe that an individual is a sum total of their experiences and people around them.

When and how did you get clarity on what you wanted to do? 

For me, the clarity in thought was quite circumstantial. I've always been the kind of person who puts in the best effort for anything and everything that I'm roped in. I, somehow, can't put in a half-hearted effort into anything that I'm pursuing! In one such scenario, while I was a happy Java architect, I was asked to take on certain tasks and activities that we now know as DevOps. 

Initially, in spite of reluctance, I had put in my best effort to make that project a success and truly realized the promise of 'DevOps'. So, I guess, it was the successful outcome of that project which triggered the clarity. Maybe if that project was a failure, who knows, the outcome could have been very different.

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What does your typical workday look like? 

My workdays have now started becoming easier on me. It primarily revolves around people and trying to solve their problems - be it for our clients or our OpsTree champs. All the other time I'm left with is spent largely on knowledge gathering and sharing, so I'm very sorted these days. 

I focus on open-source contributions, enabling teams to conduct a lot of workshops, writing blogs, and constantly trying to be updated with the latest and greatest in our domain. I also spend some time absorbing all this knowledge and bringing to life, some critical learnings from these through our product BuildPiper, which is centered around Microservices Application delivery challenges on Kubernetes.

Several global companies have come out and thrown their support behind not needing a formal education. What is your opinion about this? 

I believe in 'learning' and this can come through various sources - experiential, formal education, etc. Formal education is definitely a very structured approach to learning and has evolved significantly over the years. From cramming textbooks during my time to the new age pedagogy, which is more experiential and at par with global education standards, provides the perfect path to learning. 

However, formal education does not essentially define an individual's capabilities and achievements. Remember the same global companies hire from the ivy league colleges and see those students in a different light. I'm all for talent and commitment across all shapes and forms with or without degrees!

How do you handle someone who has lied on their resume? 

I think lying on a resume can reflect a lot of challenges wrt integrity, trust, and overall approach to life and for me, the ability to rely on someone is of utmost importance. When someone lies on their resume, that virtue of establishing trust is gone and the act becomes a deal-breaker for me. 

I have always encouraged my teams to focus on building trust and in fact work towards establishing that as an integral part of our culture and relationship with our customers. In fact, one of the core tenets of our success has been that we have been able to make our customers 'Rely on Us' for specific Cloud & DevOps outcomes.

What are some of your typical challenges and how have they evolved over time? 

Over the years, I've evolved both personally and professionally due to various challenging situations that I was put into. Among other things, entrepreneurship helped me grow as a person. In the early years, I could not have enabled more than a couple of people and now there are over a hundred and I would like to believe that I'm doing a good job there. 

The other set of challenges are typical of any startup - finding customers, scouting for the right talent, and establishing yourself in the niche that you would want to. Early on, it was convincing clients that we can deliver and that we have the right capabilities available for them. 

Going further a couple more years, our challenge was enabling the cloud & development journey for bigger, enterprise companies, and not just to hire but retain our best talent as well. We handled these challenges through various approaches, be it our partner program - 'a unique approach to in-house leadership development' or our focus on bringing more value to our product and customers. 

We are now on our way to be two different companies focused on solving a different set of challenges for our customers and every time we have been presented with a newer set of challenges, we have only emerged out stronger!


What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking for funding or those eyeing the top job? 

I think, there's too much emphasis on funding and that top dream job, which sets misguided expectations and in turn sets misleading goals for people. I'm a firm believer of master blaster Sachin's quote - "Focus on developing your skills, money, and fame will follow". I have certainly adopted, lived, and continue to preach that it in my life. 

One must drive all efforts in creating such a product or service that investors come looking for them. Our work is in our control, funding is not. The same goes for that top/dream job as well. Find out what skills are required and go all out in acquiring them. If we consistently strive to be a little better than we were yesterday, opportunities will keep presenting themselves.

Which is your favorite book and why? 

One of the early reads that have had a very long-lasting impact on me was 'Connect The Dots by Rashmi Bansal'. It's a great read. It contains twenty stories of different entrepreneurs who had completely separate journies still a few things were common. The book suggests we must not regard events in our life as baseless. 

All the events put together to create our life and if we connect them back we'll find that's exactly what had to happen for us to turn out as we have. For example, when I was assigned DevOps as a project, I was not happy about it. I was a developer and wanted to continue that role. Looking back now, it was a turning point of my life - one that has been instrumental in defining who we are and where we are today!

Bio - 

Sandeep Rawat has 17+ years of rich professional experience in enterprise application development. For the last 10 years, Sandeep has been helping customers transform their technology platform with the Cloud & DevOps expertise and has been instrumental in setting up/streamlining the Cloud & DevOps
roadmaps and transformation programs for multiple companies across the Startup & Fortune 500 landscape.

Sandeep strongly believes in contributing back to the community and guides his teams to make open-source contributions that are often recognized and appreciated by industry leaders. 

He likes to share his knowledge through well-read blogs and much sought-after training. Apart from enabling cloud & application modernization journeys, he has also conducted a wide range of Cloud & DevOps training programs for senior stakeholders with the goal of helping them adopt newer cloud, DevOps &
containerization technologies across organizations like Amdocs, Xebia, Salesforce, Mobiquity, etc.

He Has strong experience in Designing & managing large-scale Cloud & DevOps platforms like Snapdeal and Beachbody and also for many startups like Delhivery,,, etc.

He Has the expertise to enable Microservices & DevOps Automation journey for full Java Stack involving NodeJS, Java, Spring, Hibernate, Tomcat, Apache, Nginx, Oracle, MySql, MongoDB clusters, etc.

He has also authored a book: ‘Getting Started With Review Board’

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