What they said about us is not enough, for that’s just one part of the story. A smart man learns from the failures and triumphs of others. As college ends and the final years prepare themselves to step into the unknown, they leave behind their experience to guide the future wayfarers. Newton has very rightly said “If I have looked far, it’s by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Here’s presenting you the giants and a ladder to climb upon the shoulders. Hop on!
Having seen the tense environment of a campus placement and a called-out interview which is more desirable?
If the objective is to simply get a job, then in campus interviews are a much easier test to crack rather than the ones which are conducted at their offices. At campus, the panelists are mostly employees who have been with the company for a few years, and they come with a set of questions that range from easy to difficult. But once they call you out to their office, your interviewer could be the VP, the Lead Engineer or even the CEO. And when someone as senior as them sits in front of you, they do not come with a set of questions, they are armed with immense knowledge and experience and the questions they put up are nothing like what you are prepared for. I personally had to write the code for an HTTP Server and a Proxy Server right then - something I could not have expected in a campus interview.
Your selection in Adobe was a staggering achievement but before that came a list of setbacks - no PPO from Samsung, getting till final round of Polaris, Amazon, and Direct-I. And to any conscious soul, that’s no easy feat. How did you pull yourself up each time and push harder than before?
No PPO from Samsung was a disappointment. My work there was one of my most sincere efforts. Polaris was more of a practice. After Samsung, I devoted one whole of month to prepare for Amazon and on the day when it mattered, I was confident. Amazon was the one that really broke me down. I would say my friends helped me a lot. Hope is not lost until the people who matter are still believing in you. What I think I did right was, I didn’t let failure demean myself. I might have been a little sad but I wasn’t unsure of my own abilities. That’s what I think matters. I didn't let my emotions get better of me.
In hindsight, Will you say that it would have been wiser focusing on one out of Campus-Placement and CAT?
I wouldn’t. Two reasons, I won’t say I didn’t try enough for campus-placements and I think preparing for them helped me hone my technical skills for CAT and the interviews that followed. I believe in backup plans. CAT is not an easy feat and I had to have one along with that. The job that I have now is my backup plan. And most importantly, my technical preparations came in handy when I sat for the interviews of IIMs recently. To me it’s a win-win.
We know that getting a good GRE & TOEFL score is crucial but never enough for pursuing MS at a respectable institute. How should one go about building the rest of his profile & resume?
Building a profile for masters requires effort throughout your graduation. The earlier you start ,the better it is. Everything ranging from co-curricular activities to having academically published papers is important. One should try to grab extra projects, and to execute them with efficiency as well. Something that people understate a little are the recommendations, one should identify some prominent personnels in the field and try to get their recommendations. It’s a mix of everything from Projects, Recommendations and the scores.
You are in a way the first placed student of B.Tech, 2015 batch. Do you regret to miss the thrill of the placement season?
Yes I do think I missed out on the “thrill”. But then, that’s because I have a job now, a respectable one and I have a good closure to my college life. Did I have a moment where I thought of rejecting the PPO and get into the battlefield? Yes. But that moment was fleeting. The interviews, the preparation would have been a good experience.
You've been interviewed by the giants - Amazon last year, Google this year. Invariably Google is a dream job of many CSEians. At the cost of sounding obvious, stuff like geeksforgeeks gets you through many of the interviews. But, is there some mantra to crack Google? What's Google looking for in you?
Well, apart from strong understanding of DS and algorithms, they are looking for good problem solving skills. They give a lot of importance to "how you think". It's not about giving correct solutions in the interviews, it's about how you approach a problem in real time. Since most of the Google interviews are algorithmic, competitive programming helps a lot. Apart from competitive programming, websites like carrercup, geeksforgeeks , and leetcode are really helpful.
How different is to be interviewed by a well-established market giant like Adobe and a fairly new player like Sokrati?
In my experience, the well-established quite like Adobe do have a defined process for their recruitment. The questions, the grilling, the testing is something that’s, to some extent, basic. While with the start-up that I was interviewed for and I am now place at, they interviewed me on a comprehensive level, went deep with their assessment, testing my knowledge rather than my ability to remember and by heart stuff. With Adobe, I could have anticipated what’s coming, but with Sokrati I couldn’t have.