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Meet Prerna Saxena

An insatiable hunger to drive success in engineering

By Melissa Sheehan

| min
Deep Mahajan

As an Engineering Manager based in Bangalore, India, Prerna Saxena is passionate about building high tech solutions to solve exciting customer problems. Some of her projects were used in the Nutanix annual Global Engineering Hackathon and live on today as product features.

We spoke with Prena to get her perspective as an Engineering leader, culture champion, and working mother.

How did you get interested in engineering?

A switch flipped when I took mathematics courses in school. Math, computers, and logic came together with my love of solving puzzles and I fell in love with microprocessors in college. I was amazed by how tiny chips could hold so much logic and I realized I wanted to be as close to hardware as I could.

What brought you to Nutanix?

Before Nutanix, I was an open source contributor working on PowerPC processors and the open source virtualization stack. When Nutanix was creating AHV, I decided this was where I had to be. I was drawn by the fun of building the new hypervisor and its ecosystem from scratch. I joined Nutanix in 2015 and have enjoyed every second of my time here. Every day we continue to see amazing engineering opportunities in the problems our customers bring to us.

What is most challenging about your role?

My team is in a unique position as one of the few open source facing teams at Nutanix. We take the Nutanix roadmap, execute dependencies in open source, then go back and build a solution that can be utilized within Nutanix. We bridge two worlds, combining our Nutanix charter with the open source one. Because open source communities work differently than standard engineering teams, we are challenged with how we architect and clearly articulate how a design adds goodness for others.

What do you appreciate most about your job?

The best part of my job is the freedom that is given to us. While we do have a roadmap and charter, we also have the freedom to propose new solutions. Leadership is open to trying new things if you can make a good technical justification.

As far as learning goes, being in close contact with customers is an immense source of learning and the best way to understand the pulse of the market.

What is the top attribute you look for when hiring?

Hungry is not just a buzzword at Nutanix. We want those who have an insatiable hunger to be better versions of themselves. Regardless of the skills a person gained before they came on board, hunger and ambition propel further learning, growth, and motivation.

Tell us about the Nutanix Global Engineering Hackathon.

The four day annual hackathon has been the best part of my six-plus year journey. I look forward to and cherish each one. It gives employees flexibility to explore areas of our technology and business that fall outside of their day-to-day work, and encourages new ideas and innovation.

Nutanix People Team

Some of our global participants from the 8th annual Global Engineering Hackathon in 2022.

 

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I love to paint with my daughter, it's very therapeutic. Additionally, since the pandemic, I’ve started cooking more and have come a long way with my cooking skills!

Nutanix People Team

Do you have any advice for working parents?

Take a deep breath and be in the moment. Set boundaries by making family time a priority and communicate that to your team. My peers across the globe respect that and I pass that onto my team. The best we can do is be supportive to enable our people.

Nutanix Team Volunteering

What sets Nutanix apart from other places you've worked?

Culture without question. From top to bottom the culture of openness, transparency, and questioning is special. It carries through in how we work. Having access to information as well as an honest leadership who acknowledges areas of improvement, welcomes new ideas, and encourages a healthy work environment where I know I will be heard.

Thanks to Prerna for sharing her story. To learn more about our team, culture, and career opportunities at Nutanix, visit our careers page.

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