Tell us what does an HR expect from you?
An HR would usually expect you to have sound technical knowledge. He expects you to be compatible. He expects that you should be able to work in the company on the terms and the environment of the company. As long as you can prove to the company that you can work on any project, they'll recruit you not caring where you did your internship from. But of course, if you have done your internship in a good company, it will definitely give you an edge.
Also, I remember one of my interviews during which I was a given problem. I came up with a solution but it turned out to be wrong. The interviewer insisted me to solve this question only instead of giving another. At such a time, be calm and try a different approach. For that very question, I came up with many possible solutions. Eventually, it turned out all of them are wrong, yet I was able to make it through the interview because if they're intriguing you a lot, they're not expecting you to solve the question, they just want to check how you perform under pressure. So be positive during such a situation.
According to you, does GPA play an important role as far as placements are concerned? What is the best time to start preparing for you campus placements?
By the end of my first year, I was very well acquainted with the languages - C and C++ and when Data Structures and Algorithms were introduced to us during our second year, I started competitive coding. I believe, coding is much important than the academics. Also, one's GPA isn’t very important. Short listing students is the one major task for which one's GPA is taken into consideration but after that it doesn't play much/any role.
I believe we actually start preparing for interviews or start coding after our second year and waste a lot of time during our first two years. Hence, an advice to all the first years and second years would be that you shouldn't waste much of your time and that you should start coding as early as you can. You can get in touch with seniors and should start developing your coding skills a lot early. You shouldn't worry much. Work hard and eventually things will come across your way.
What intrigued you to pursue computer science? Tell us how important MIS has been in getting you a job offer?
When I was about to appear in JEE, the news that a student from NIT Allahabad had bagged a coveted job offer from Facebook Inc. was the talk of the town. Firms like Google, Facebook, Flipkart and Amazon have always fascinated me. And if at all I had to be a part of them, which I have always wanted to, eagerly, I would have had to become a Computer Engineer. Hence, CSE happened.
I happen to have a sound knowledge of web development. I became a part of the MIS team in my pre-final year and also worked for it in the summer following it. HRs of various companies asked me about MIS and my role in the team. In Walmart interview, specifically, I was interviewed on MIS for about an hour. It’s not just about MIS, I believe. Every project that we do under the guidance of professors count. They enhance our profile. But at the same time we need to have a sound knowledge of everything we mention in our CV.
Tell us, how important is a good internship in enhancing a student’s profile?
An internship with a reputed firm, definitely, enhances your profile. Students are often asked in their campus placement interviews as to what company they interned in. So if someone has worked in a good company, it’s always a plus one.
In my opinion, during an internship, the company treats you like a regular employee. Consequently, you need to work in the same way as everyone else does. That is what is expected out of you. You shouldn’t feel that you are a part of the company for mere 2 months, because those 2 months would be very crucial for you. Internship is not just about one restricting himself or herself to the assigned project. Interacting with people, setting up one’s profile, networking are equally important, beside the primary objective of learning as much as possible.
Share your experience of interning at Amazon India. How crucial has it been for you?
My internship at Amazon was very vital for me. It helped me a lot. It gave me an upper hand during my interview of Flipkart as working of both the companies is almost same. Since, I had a knowledge about working for an e-commerce company, things were a bit favourable for me and so I strongly believe that interning in a reputed company does make a difference, especially when you're sitting for a company whose working environment is same as that of the company where you did your internship. And apart from this, you even get an exposure of the corporate world.
Moreover, during your internship, it's not like you code 24 x 7. No, instead, you can and you should interact with your team members, with other people, make contacts and set up your profile and try to learn a lot from everyone and everything around.
Tell us something about your ultimate goal, you views on projects in ISM?
I have always wanted to become an IAS officer. And engineering is something that is just helping me achieve it. I anyway needed a bachelor’s degree, so I thought why not engineering.
I believe that projects play a very important role in building up your profile. But when I look at the kind of projects an average ISM student does, they are not as strong as what students in reputed IITs do. I think that we must be given an option to choose the domain we want to work on. Instead of randomly assigning projects to students, I believe students’ interests should be taken into consideration because working on a domain which is not of your interest wouldn't do any good to you.
Given that you are placed in Goldman Sachs, tell us how important it is to have good soft skills? Tip us on how to prepare for placement interviews.
You would often meet seniors who would say that if you are a student of CSE, you should only focus upon honing your coding skills. Well obviously, honing one’s coding skills is very important. But now, the placement trends of students of CSE at ISM are changing. Especially with firms like Goldman Sachs and Samsung R&D, Bangalore visiting the campus for internships and recruitments, you need to have good soft skills. It increases your chances of getting selected. Everything aside, as a professional individual, you must and you should have good soft skills.
Everyone says that during an interview if you're given a question, try to solve it and that you shouldn't give up. I consider this startegy to be dangerous. You should act smartly. I mean, you should keep a track on how much time you're spending on that very question. I believe it's good to struggle, but if you think you can't solve it and that you're spending a lot of time, then give up. Don't waste much time. And finally when you're preparing for interviews, prepare smartly; Solve previous interview questions of that company because questions usually get repeated.
In 11th standard my parents suggested me to take CS as a subject. In about six months I started liking it and eventually planned to pursue my carrier in it. At that time I worked on my analytical skills a lot. When I joined ISM, finance and optimization caught a hold on me and Naman Taneja Sir gave me the momentum required for coding in the first year. I got an insight of competitive coding through CodeISM. I started studying finance on my own and later took it as a minor which gave me an upper hand in the interview. I was the only candidate to be interviewed four rounds, while only two rounds were conducted for others. One round was taken especially to check my understanding of the finance sector. Since the beginning I wanted to work in the finance sector and now it's a dream come true. Though I've been selected in the technical sector, the transition to the finance sector is pretty easy. I have opted for both minor and honors and it is a very difficult job to maintain the balance between them. It required a lot of commitment and devotion from my side. Even though their slots were divided, the classes used to clash.
The feeling at the time of group discussion was just amazing, it's a kind of feeling which I can't describe in words. The topic we got for the GD was 'Future of Smart Devices'. The HR was interested to know as to what does a person interpret about the future of a particular technology and what can be the possible contributions. They also looked for good communication skills in the candidates, and after giving the GD I think that soft skills really help you. Even if you are a bit low in technical stuff you can cover it up with your expertise in communicating. But, if you are very good at technical skills and not even at par in communicating then you may have to face adversities.
CSE in ISM is growing at a very fast pace so all the students know that their future will be safe here all they need to do is put some effort. I simply did competitive coding in the second year, step by step learned the Geeksforgeeks and solved almost all the question in Leetcode and Interviewbit. For learning I used SPOJ and Codeforces for contests, they both are decent sites. I also tried Topcoder but I found its interface too complicated. Also, I had made a good project, it made my CV look attractive. The interviewer asked a lot about the project because it was something on which I worked and I guess that he was not having in-depth knowledge about that topic. I believe that companies prefer research projects, because developing is a thing which everyone is doing, research field is really helpful because at the end there you will have to create something new.
I suggest my juniors that at this time (first and second year) you should really focus a lot on coding rather than just working on GPA. Maintain a decent GPA, good coding skills, work on projects like Big Data, Image Processing, etc. and try to indulge yourself in some group activities which can improve your communication skills.
I really got disheartened after not clearing the aptitude round of Samsung R&D, but my parents, friends and roommate showed faith in me and did not let me lose hope. After being rejected by four companies, Arista was the only company in which I got short listed, so I was like “Okay fine, nothing really matters, I will give an interview and come back”. In the interview they asked me basic C questions in detail, which I was able to answer since I had read and understood Dennis Ritchie's book on C. I would like to say to my juniors that improve your coding skills to an extent that it does not create hindrance and maintain a healthy competition among yourself, give help and take help.