Speaker Spotlight: Arijit Dutta
Arijit Dutta is an Indian national who has come to Australia before, and at DrupalGov March 27 he will be here again talking about Conversation Interfaces. He's an intriguing digital nomad with a lot of interests, so I was excited to ask him some questions!
DruplGov: Judging by your photography you like to travel? Where are you from originally?
Arijit: I'm from Shimla, in the Himalayan foothills. It snows a lot there, which people do not think of when they think of India.
DrupalGov: Where did you last travel outside of India?
Arijit: During the New Year shutdown this year, my wife and I drove from Sydney (which we love) all the way to Port Douglas, covering each and every famous spot on the east coast. We also had a day trip to Great Barrier Reef. The tour spanned more than 10 days and covered almost 6000 kms.
DrupalGov: You have worked in different places in India - Pune and New Delhi for example - do you move around, or do you do remote work - what is it like doing Drupal in India compared to Australia?
Arijit: I have been helping my company set up offices in India, organising Drupal meetups and mentoring folks across different offices. I normally travel different places and stay there for some time. I have also worked in Singapore for a short while. The Drupal community in India is pretty young at the moment. Average Drupal experience of an Indian developer is close to 3 years roughly. Many of them start with Drupal as their first technology in or after college. In Australia, most of the people I have met, have moved from different technologies into Drupal and have plenty of corporate experience behind them in different technologies. Apart from that I think the passion for Drupal in both the countries is almost at par. Both are growing their user base and catching up with more mature adopters of Drupal such as US and Europe.
DrupaGov: And how did you get into Drupal?
Arijit: I was very convinced until my last year in college that I want to be a professional photographer. Somehow it happened that I joined Srijan (my current company) for a month long internship. The company at that time was exploring Drupal and asked me to do a PoC on an idea conceived by its CEO. I managed to build it in 3 weeks in Drupal 6. They were so happy they offered me a job. Drupal had struck a chord in a very short time and I decided to pursue it full time. It has been 7 years since then, and I have had no second thoughts about my decision. It has been a love story since :)
DrupalGov: I notice you like to work with the MEAN stack. If you had to choose between Drupal and MEAN, which one would you choose? Why?
Arijit: It depends on the application I am to build. For anything content heavy, I prefer Drupal. That is the domain where Drupal has fantastic roots. If there is an application which needs more frontend manipulation, MEAN can be a good option. However, the more I explore D8 the more inclined I am towards going headless than building a complete application on the MEAN stack.
DrupalGov: What do you like about Srijan technologies?
Arijit: It has got an amazing democratic culture. I have seen this company grow from 15 people to 180 people. Each person counts here. Even an intern can have a heated debate with the CEO over anything without fear of being sacked.
DrupalGov: Is the conversational web about machine learning? Is this something you've always been interested in?
Arijit: No it is not about machine learning. Machine learning/AI can be its extension but not necessarily the base. Conversational web is making your web application engaging, giving the user an impression that he is talking to it rather than reading through it. I got my interest in it through numerous articles I read on the topic, and some observations that I have had in last 6-7 years. Web is evolving at a super speed and conversational interfaces could be the next big thing.
DrupalGov: What can people learn from your presentation that they can use immediately?
Arijit: They will get a perspective on what conversational interface is and why it has the potential to become big. They will learn how to convert a simple webform in Drupal into a conversational interface.
DrupalGov: Thanks for your time, we look forward to your presentation!