August 12, 2022

Cutting edge work with Sowmya Gopalan and Ramya Gopalan

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Cutting edge work with Sowmya Gopalan and Ramya Gopalan
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Show Notes

First, our heartfelt thanks to all you listeners for the love you have shown and for permitting the Software People Stories to be part of your listening time over the last 200 weeks!

Your wishes and encouragement is what has kept us going and will continue to do so.

Thank you

This is a very special episode for the Software People Stories. This is the 200th episode.

So, for this occasion, we have 2 guests – Sowmya Gopalan and Ramya Goplan – twin sisters, now working at two of the IT giants, doing leading edge work. They have very interesting stories of their careers and perspectives.

This episode is also special, as we have all the three hosts present!

We will be publishing this conversation in 2 parts.

This is part 1 , where Sowmya and Ramya share

  • How they got into IT and chose engineering for studies: 
  • Sowmya:
  • electronics and communication
  • Masters in signal processing
  • Internship in interdigital : cognitive radio applications
  • Interest in images and videos
  • Joining Amazon for a startup like project working on cutting edge technologies
  • Computer vision features of Amazon Echo
  • Then joining Apple, continuing to work on camera and photos app
  • Ramya
  • Being clear about not doing biology, and preferring match and computer science
  • Telecom as specialization in undergraduate
  • Getting in to same university and having the same advisor
  • Interning in the same company
  • Audio signal processing
  • After 8 years, getting into health org, applying AI/ML etc
  • Their experiences and thoughts on developing embedded solutions
  • Using the customer satisfaction parameters as primary indicators of readiness of a release
  • About the dependency management and change control practices at Apple
  • The thrill of knowing that the first code written getting into production
  • How aware the developers are of customer issues and usage experience, being emphasized by the customer obsession culture at Amazon
  • One disappointing experience when the market acceptance of a child safety feature was somewhat underwhelming
  • Their experience of having 21 patents between the two of them and tips for others to think of developing patentable ideas
  • If they have tried pair programming between the two of them
  • How they bounce off ideas and support each other
  • Their mantra: start simple, keep improving, keep fundamentals strong, how textbooks and theory always help
  • If they had any thoughts of creating something together
  • Whether they lean in on each other and how they support each other
  • And, the difference having or not having such support makes on an individual
  • Having a safe space when the other person is non-judgemental and trustworthy

We conclude this episode with the question of how they nurture or develop younger professionals.

The answer to that question and a lot more insights, some technical and many on the softer aspects such as work life harmony will be in part 2 of this conversation. Do not miss the next episode, coming up in a week.

Sowmya Gopalan has 12+ years experience in researching and developing computer vision technologies for consumer electronics. With a formal background in signal processing, I specialize in researching, prototyping and developing robust software solutions for image and video understanding. I tend to be most satisfied when I have the opportunity of seeing a product through its entire lifecycle – from concept, to PoC, to production software. I thrive in collaborative, kind and multi-disciplinary settings where interest and drive matter more than qualification. Outside work, you will find me trying out new recipes in the kitchen with Ramya, or reading a book in the historical fiction genre – I am curious about the world wars and modern history in general, so if you have a good book to recommend, feel free to drop in a line at

Ramya Goplan is a software engineer who has worked on various consumer electronic products during her 12 year tenure in Amazon. Her interests and expertise include working on applications that are rooted in traditional signal processing and machine learning science. Having worked on the speech enhancement pipeline for the first gen and next gen Echo and Alexa products, she is slightly partial to speech and audio tech. She finds taking an idea from prototype to optimized embedded C/C++ implementation extremely enjoyable and satisfying. Outside work, Ramya loves to cook, sketch and listen to podcasts about health and wellness; Huberman Lab being her current favorite.

You can reach Ramya at

What do you think?

0 Responses

  1. Excellent conversations with Sowmya and Ramya. They have both shared such valuable insights on building a career in tech. Well Done! Looking forward to the next episode.
    Shiv Sivakumar

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