Author of the month - Feb 2012
Author of the Month – Nina Godbole
Nina Godbole is the author of three books on Information Technology which features in the Book Corner under the Technical Books Section.
Here is an interview with her:
Tell us about yourself
I have been working in the industry since 1982. Pune is the city that shaped my cultural profile. My peripheral interest in the Indian Classical music picked from IIT Bombay MOOD-I days, flourished into a passion for Indian Classical music so much, that I have been going through formal training in music. People say I am a linguist – I speak Gujarati, Persian and French fluently, learning Spanish these days, can pretty well understand Bengali! I love human languages much more than computer languages!!
Writing books has been my dream since child hood and now with God’s grace, my dedicated efforts and well wishers' support, I have been able to turn that dream into a reality. My mission was to create knowledge artefacts in the domain of my work. I have published three technical books so far – Software Quality Assurance: Principals and Practices (2004), Information Systems Security: Management, Metrics, Frameworks and Best Practices (2009), Cyber Security: Understanding Cyber Crimes, Computer Forensics and Legal Frameworks.
In the industry where I worked I have got several awards, rewards and recognitions. For the past 12 plus years with the IT giant and a global multinational IBM where I have handled many challenging assignments both in India and overseas. Prior to that I worked as a senior management consultant with a management consulting firm, prior to that with Tata Management Training Centre as a Research Associate in MIS domain and after that I worked at Alfa Laval and Laval Automation both subsidiaries of well-know Swedish company. Prior to joining my current organization, I handled small duration overseas assignment in France and in USA in Sales Automation application and ERP practices respectively.
I obtained a Masters in Science degree from IIT Bombay in 1981 and a M. S. Engineering (Computer Science) degree from Newport University, USA. I also do have a number of international professional certifications – Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/IT), Green IT Certification from ISEB, UK, Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Quality Analyst (CQA), Certified Software Test Engineers (CSTE) to name a few.
Tell us what motivated you to write these books?
There is a saying in Marathi “Marave Pari Kirti Rupi Urave” – it roughly translates “you need to leave a mark that lasts beyond your lifetime”. Even when one leave this earth, there should be something by which one is remembered. As said, writing has been my passion. My writing work is not limited to only books. I have published more than 20 articles in a Delhi based IT magazine – I did those articles for them as a columnist. I received many mails of appreciation for those articles. That encouraged me to eventually take up a book project. Writing a book tremendously helps you in being well structured in your thoughts. I like to use an informal and easy going language even when I am on a technical topic.
Information Security and Cyber Security are big issues for individuals as well as organizations. I have seen incidents arising out of inadequate attention to that area. So, I wanted to put in place a collective work that introduces the seriousness of both and also wanted that work to last as a good reference.
I always believed in creating knowledge Artifacts that would help people in the industry as well as students. I care a lot for the student community – they are tomorrow’s professionals. If before even entering the industry, they can get well introduced to a subject, it is well worth it. My books are able to do that for post graduate level students on one hand and a service to professionals on the other hand. For example on my quality assurance book, I got a feedback from many project managers that they could stand gruelling interviews while going for QA manager’s role; some said that the book helped them transition from delivery to quality assurance role. My comprehensive book on information security is turning out to be useful to many aspirants of international certification exams such as the CISA, CISSP etc. My cyber security book has been appointed as the textbook in the GTU – Gujarat Technical University. In all I feel this is a service to those what need to understand those topics. My software quality assurance book has been translated into Chinese by the Beijing Science Press and now the 2nd Edition work on the original title is in progress.
Where can readers learn more about your books and purchase them?
There are many ways to do that – either they can contact my first publisher NAROSA – by the way, they are the same who did the “Punctuations” book on photographic memory on IIT Bombay. For the security books, readers can contact Wiley India at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can visit Wiley India website or they can search my books on Google and they will get more than one link for online purchasing. Most major text book shops and other shops have the book stocked but of course not at the light reading book outlets at the airports!! My books being technical, deal with a serious topic.
Did you face challenges while you were writing your book?
Oh! Of course there were challenges! Writing a book is not easy – it is not for the faint-hearted ones, to use the cliché!. First of all it requires very clear thinking. It also requires tremendous dedication and discipline. Writing a book also calls for tremendous energy, grit and zeal. There are physical efforts too. For example, it took three years to develop the manuscript of my comprehensive book on information systems security. Typically at the end of a long working day, my writing each day would begin post dinner and would at times go into wee hours of the morning specially on Fridays when the next day I would have the luxury to make for the sleep sacrificed the night before. I also had to do sacrifices on social engagements. My family specially has been tremendously supporting on my book projects. So, that is also a component for an author. I had very good reviewers who cared to provide suggestions after reading the technical stuff. I am thankful to all of them. As most books are written these days with electronic means, one also needs excellent documentation and configuration management practices. I guess that part was natural to me being a quality assurance professional where I need to ensure that software projects do that!
To what extend you think you carry an impact of being an IITian?
Needless to say I am very proud to be an IITian. Education at the IIT has helped in more than one way. First of all, preparing for a task at the last minute does not scare me. I have carried the confidence that I can do it. Second, it has provided me a standard to follow in my profession. All my good professors at IIT have been a role model and that constantly reminds me that I must be a good teacher, a goo d speaker and a good lectures. Today I can say with pride that I am pretty well known in that sphere. I have been a visiting lecturer to many institutes/course under Pune University and other universities including my occasional lectures at overseas universities. I have tremendously enjoyed teaching and I believe that is an influence I have carried from my good professors at the IIT where I spent five precious years on the campus. Being at the IIT has taught me the sense of excellence.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Oh there are many – both technical and non-technical. Among the top is our own Bhagwad Gita and the Dasbodh. To name a few more on the non religion side - “Only Time Will Tell” by my favourite author Jeffery Archer, “You Can Heal Yourself”, “Beyond Re-Engineering” by Michael Hammer, “The Mythical Man Months”….oh the list will go on. I have a huge collection of books because I believe a book that is worth reading is also worth buying!! I have my own way of doing simultaneous romance with multiple books. I like to make note on the books as I read them, to record the thoughts that I go through. All that makes it almost impossible to work with borrowed books! I like to gift books and I am very possessive about the books that I have. I cover them to protect them and record them in my personal database. You can imagine how tough it must be to borrow a book from my personal collection!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, of course. First of all, I am always happy to see someone becoming an author and growing as an author. In fact, many professionals have approached me for guidance in writing a book. Working with me is not easy as I am a tremendously disciplined person because I strongly believe being disciplined is one of the keys to professional success. My recent book on Cyber Security (published by Wiley India in 2011) is a co-authored book and my co-author says he learned a lot working with me. I’d be happy to see my co-authors becoming sole authors on their own. It takes tremendous discipline, effort and quality of thinking to become an author. Do not cut corners and strive for excellence - is my message for the would be authors. They must understand what goes in a good book proposal. In fact just like the SDLC (systems development life cycle) I have developed the BDLC concept for the book development life cycle. When someone wants to approach me to be my co-author, I look for solid ideas and value contribution from that person.
Do you have specific message to your readers?
Well, mine is a technical book so the message would be limited to readers from that domain. The message about my second book on information systems security is that they need not read it end to end but pick up a chapter that has a topic of interest to them. For my first book, I’d want new readers to wait till the second edition is in the market. There are many improvements being done over the first edition of that software quality assurance book. My third (co-authored) is a book of eminent relevance as we all are targets of cyber criminals. So almost anyone should read that book without getting scared of the topic!
Are you also open to delivering talks/lectures on the topic related to your books?
Yes, by all means. I am always happy to be a speaker at conferences and similar events. I can be contacted at email@example.com. I can also be contacted at my cell +91 9822021439. Feel free to call me on any day between 9 am to 8 pm.