Inquisitive Interview : Sagar Sen – Scientist / Faculty

Its again that time of the week when I feature an Inquisitive Interview on the blog, and this week its someone that I have knows for close to 10 years now. A college friend who is now a faculty / scientist in France. Yes I know it is still an engineering field like the one for the Marketing Engineer, but as you will see in the series there are many things that an engineer ends up working on, varied and vast in its approach. If you want to keep track of the interviews only please look at his page:

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

I am Sagar Sen, 28 years old. I am Computer Scientist at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis, France which is close to the beautiful city of Nice in Cote d’Azur. My  career goal is to find a perfect balance between  top-level research in computer science (more info here and high-performance sports notably rowing. Finding my mental and physical limits and stretching them everyday is what drives me.

Don’t be frightened! I also enjoy a lot of other activities. I have an inclination to be spiritual with a regular practice of Yoga. I love making friends and turning them into good , and eventually great friends pretty quickly. I have tried my hand at every sport I could including the traditional soccer/cricket ,ping-pong, fin swimming, rock climbing, roller blades, etc. etc. but I stay Fidel to rowing. I not very patient with art in this fast-paced world but I have extrapolated my prior interest in painting to learning to play the piano. This helps me appreciate ambiguity and uncertainty.  I adore family values and have great respect for my parents, family, and my teachers in life.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I am Computer Scientist working at Sophia-Antipolos, France

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

Yes. The salary is just right to strike a sweet balance between work and life.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

I wake up anywhere between 6 am and 7 am. Depending on my training schedule I either go to the rowing club to row for about 12-15 kms, or cycle down to work from Nice to Sophia-Antipolis (22 km), or do a 1 hour session of Ashtanga Yoga. I am at work at around 10 am at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis. I spend a lot of time discussing with students and engineers on our collaborative projects. We make collective decisions about what to do such as for software projects or performing experiments. I spend a lot of time writing research articles and send them for publication in conferences, journals or magazines. I come back home by 7 pm. I spend some time playing the piano, chatting with roomates or go through a second session of training: rowing, circuit training, running/roller-blading,  or power yoga. At night, on some occasions I go out to meet friends for a drink or a stroll by the sea thinking and clarifying my thoughts. I often have a deep sleep.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

The most interesting part in my job is the interaction with my colleagues and synthesis of ideas from start to finish. A byproduct of this process is witnessing the maturation of a young student into a full-fledged researcher ready to better understand the world and bring order out of chaos.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The most challenging part of the job is to keep students motivated, focused, and constantly keep a positive atmosphere in the work environment.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

There are only a few things. Improving communication on some occasions can always be a good thing.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes. However, in research your workplace is everywhere, the kitchen, outside, or on the sea. Most work is mental which is realized quickly when clarity is achieved and decisions are made.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes. At times I report to a senior member in the research team about the ongoing work. However, my workplace is more or less flat. If you are motivated then you can collaboratively make your idea happen without much intervention due to hierarchy.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Yes. I am glad I learnt a multitude of skills in school. At first I was apprehensive about the different text books I used to read and experiments we conducted in school/college. But today those pieces of information come back to me in new light that helps me integrate ideas to solve real problems.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Kendriya Vidyalaya Indian Institute of Science

Pre University               : Kendriya Vidyalaya Indian Institute of Science

Bachelor’s Degree        : Bangalore University

Master’s Degree           :  McGill University, Canada

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Yes. Of course. I am living a great life and creating value. Why not you? Feel free to contact me.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

I would suggest reading, thinking, and identifying exactly what direction you want to head to in the next 3-4 years. You should be happy with your decision as research involves dedication to a problem or related problems for a few years.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Give equal importance to all aspects of personal development. Try to create equal opportunity for others when you are in the right position in future.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?


You can get in touch with Sagar at the links below :

On Facebook    :!/sagarsen
On Linked In    :

Thanks Sagar, for all your help and support, I am sure the readers like me would learn something new with this interview. Am sure the most intelligent among us readers would be keen to contact you for some guidance.