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Alumni Connect: Sanjay Katkar on how moving out of your comfort zone and extra research is key for success

Sanjay Katkar is the chief technology officer and joint managing director of Quick Heal technologies limited, which he co-founded in 1995. His outstanding contribution has earned Quick Heal, a global position. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Pune.

pune Updated: Aug 17, 2018 16:49 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Alumni,Connect
Sanjay Katkar, chief technology officer and joint managing director of Quick Heal technologies limited.(HT PHOTO)

Sanjay Katkar is the chief technology officer and joint managing director of Quick Heal technologies limited, which he co-founded in 1995. His outstanding contribution has earned Quick Heal, a global position. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Pune.

Tell us about your educational background?

After finishing class 12, I graduated from Modern College with a degree in Computer Science in 1992. I also did my masters in Computer Science in Wadia College . As a student, I was between an average and a bright student.

What happened after graduation?

While I was in the second year of college, we were introduced to computer languages. I was so interested in C/C++ that I started reading books on the subject. I wanted to try writing different programs. I used to look forward to practical sessions. While I was pursuing BCS, my brother Kailash started a computer workshop. I used to visit Kailash’s workshop to get my hands on computers.

In college, we were taught debugging programs. So, out of curiosity, I decided to debug a virus-infected program and I was successful. When I informed my professor, he asked me to clean a few computers in the lab. And when he saw that I could do that, he asked me to conduct a student seminar/lecture on virus and how they infect computer. Preparing for the lecture was on the turning points of my life.

After that, I developed a tool to clean infected computers. I started using that tool in the college lab as well as at Kailash’s workshop. Bowled over by the tool, Kailash started distributing the tool to his customers, free of cost. I kept on updating the version of the tool based on the new viruses which emerged.

What are the highs and lows of your journey?

While I was pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Science, I worked on making my free tool into an anti-virus product which we released as Quick Heal AntiVirus in the year 1995. After developing the product, we realized the real challenge was in distributing and selling the product.

There were a lot of challenges: no funds, no investments, lots of piracy, non-availability of programmers. That was the most difficult time for our venture. For the initial 3-4 years, we hardly made any sales for Quick Heal as an individual product. But, on the flip side, we did get appreciated for the good quality of the product.

About your college...

My college allowed me to work in labs for extra time apart from practical lab classes. Also for motivating me to do what I love and asking me to present my research in front of others. This had nothing to do with exams.

What are your future plans?

Currently, Quick Heal Technologies is India’s leading cybersecurity company. I aspire to replicate this success on the global stage.

Your message to the youth

To bring out products or services, you will have to come out of your comfort zone and do extra research, in that direction. You will face a lot of challenges, but don’t give up. Continue to work towards your goals, continue to progress, and you can get anything you want.

This weekly column re-connects alumni with their Pune roots.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 16:26 IST