My Journey from Mumbai to Zuffenhausen
The Home of Porsche is Near Karlsruhe
Born in the city of Mumbai, Sridhar Mamella has always had a fascination with computers, technology, and fast cars. Sridhar spent his childhood in India before moving to London in his teenage years to pursue his dream of becoming of a computer engineer. Today, he is Platform Product Manager Data Streaming at Porsche in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, just 60 kilometers away von Karlsruhe. This is his fascinating story to become a part of Porsche’s digital future.
I have recently surpassed my first seven hundred days at Porsche: working for this company has been an incredible journey so far. However, I have not forgotten how difficult it was to carve out a career in two new countries. When I was 19 years old, I left my home in India and moved to the UK on my own. I had always dreamed of becoming a computer engineer but leaving behind my family and friends was tough. Here I was, a young man in a new city with no friends and no family, starting a new life. And yet, looking back, it was the best decision I could’ve ever made.
While I still miss family and friends back home in Mumbai, I am very happy to be where I am today. Not only am I grateful for the incredible adventures I have had, the various cultures I have experienced and all those interesting people I met along the journey, but I also value the opportunity to work here at Porsche alongside an amazing team.
After graduating from college in 2009, I attended the University of Greenwich where I took a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a master’s degree in AI & Big Data, with a thesis on Machine Learning and Cloud Computing. During my studies, I also worked part-time as a Big Data Engineer for Transport for London (TfL). When I finished my master’s degree in 2015, I knew I wanted to move to another country, experience yet another culture, and learn yet another language. At that time, plans for a Brexit referendum were set in motion, and I decided to start from scratch once again and try my luck in Germany. So, in 2016, I literally packed my backpack and jumped on an airplane to Berlin. I arrived in Berlin with only a backpack full of remarkable memories from London and a laptop. I did not speak the language, nor did I know anyone in Germany.
I applied for a job as a Big Data Architect and soon became part of a young, small business management company based in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Karlsruhe is located. The first two years in Germany were extremely challenging, especially because of the language. However, I deliberately chose not to work for an international company; instead, I wanted to learn the language and work in German teams. So, I took intensive German language lessons after work in the evenings for seven to eight months.
In 2019, I applied for two jobs at Porsche via LinkedIn, and officially joined the company in May. I will always remember the day Porsche offered me the job I wanted. Since joining the company, I have been responsible for defining a data streaming strategy and developing a highly available and highly secure central data streaming solution, which is called Streamzilla.
In the next few weeks and months, we had various (mandatory and voluntary) trainings and workshops to get us oriented and understand internal and external processes, agile methods etc. At the beginning, we also had shadow buddies who helped us with all our questions.
Moreover, a real highlight for me was a talk I gave at a conference in Cologne within the first 2 weeks of arriving at Porsche, not least because we had the chance to drive to Cologne in a Porsche Panamera GTS. I had never driven a Porsche before, and it was an epic road trip from Stuttgart to Cologne. It is here that I truly experienced driving perfection and realized what my future at Porsche would be like, where everyone strives to deliver an amazing end-product that we all know of — a Porsche.
Whilst still in my probation period, I was also encouraged to travel to New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. Here, I did a lot of networking into the digital industry and learnt about the amazing data streaming technologies in place from product managers, tech leads, and architects from companies like Facebook, Uber, Google, Tesla, and SpaceX. This network is still strong and growing ever since.
After my return from the United States, from one day to the next, I was swiftly responsible for my own data streaming product, because my product-lead had left the company. I had to now get up to speed on business processes, strategy, and team leadership. I went through further trainings and certifications such as SAFe POPM, Apache Kafka, and Team Leadership. This not only gave me a chance to expand my skills and abilities, but also allowed me to make a significant impact on Porsche’s data streaming strategy — which I would later help devise.
This has really helped me to target specific gaps in my knowledge and improve my skills. Finally, my mentor Thorsten Biel has been incredible to work with. I till date go back to him when I need advice.
Taking a job with Porsche has been the best career move I have ever made. Leaving India for England, as a teenager was not easy, and yet again bidding farewell to England for Germany in my early twenties was not easy either. It is true that one can only connect the dots looking back. This whole experience allowed me to realize my dream of becoming a computer engineer, driving fast cars, and finding fulfillment in my professional life.