For insight on how to secure a research internship in the field of Mathematics and Computing, we interviewed Aryaman Garg who did his internship at NITI Aayog. Read on to find out about the selection procedure, required skill set and the overall experience.
About NITI Aayog:
The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs. While designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States. NITI Aayog is also developing itself as a State of the Art Resource Centre, with the necessary resources, knowledge and skills, that will enable it to act with speed, promote research and innovation,provide strategic policy vision for the government, and deal with contingent issues.
What does it offer to the students?
NITI Aayog has a variety of departments, in fact so many that any student from any discipline in IIT won’t have to worry about not getting one.
Aryaman was in the data handling and analysis department. NITI Aayog recruits a lot of interns and each intern generally stays for a duration of 2 months. The projects at NITI Aayog are almost a year long and the new intern is supposed to catch up with the previous work for the first week, read stuff and gather information about his own work that is going to follow and then move on with it’s further developments. Hence, a project involves 8-9 interns working on it at different times of the year, each adding their bit and contribution in it. Aryaman selected the Data Management and Analysis department because of his interest and its proximity to the course content at IITD.
NITI Aayog is a very dynamic place and there is no such ‘one thing’ that one is supposed to do there. For eg. Aryaman, in the beginning dealt with blockchains, he was supposed to identify the areas where this technology could be implemented in government projects by observing the policies of other companies ( the ones which already have incorporated this). This part didn’t even involve coding. After his involvement in the blockchain project, he was given an independent charge of a project in TeleCom domain which dealt with making AI and machine learning models to figure out the factors which influence the mobile subscriber base in India.
Selection Criteria and the procedure:
NITI Aayog accepts online applications from the 1st to the 10th of every month. The form is available at it’s online portal which can be simply reached by simply searching for NITI Aayog internship on google. The form just asks for your name, college and the cgpa. Since, the only metric to compare student applications is their college cgpa, IIT Delhi students who have a decently good cgpa won’t find it hard to get in(There isn’t a fix cutoff, owing to the diversity of applicants and their college).There were no interviews and hence neither a need for any CVs here.
But there are a lot of others ways to get into NITI Aayog. For eg. In April last year, they sent a email to IITD students, asking for applications, for which a lot of students applied as well. So, you just need to be aware, active and have an exploratory nature to find opportunities that await you.
Coherence between the courses in IIT and the work of the internship:
In the technical aspect and given the domain in which Aryaman worked, courses related to ‘Data Mining’ turned out out be very useful. Moreover, courses like ‘Data Structures‘ are always helpful for any programming related internship, he added.
Apart from the technical aspect, he also appreciated courses like MCP101 which significantly contributed in developing initiative taking skill of an individual. Initiative and responsibility taking is of utmost importance at NITI Aayog, as the people over there don’t really have the time to teach the internees, and hence all the work must to initiated, carried on and finished by an individual alone, with rare help.HUL courses like ‘Macroeconomics’, also taught him a lot about research policy and related fields.
Adding on, courses dealing with inclusive innovation consisted of interaction with bureaucrats and getting a picture of the administrative world. These courses also highlighted the need and necessity of initiative taking skill.
All these courses at IITD eased life in the duration of the internship.
What does NITI Aayog expect from you?
NITI Aayog expects its interns to be already experts and technologically aware in the field they apply in. That’s because they don’t really have the time to teach someone from the scratch. Help there, is very occasional and mostly all the work has to be initiated and carried on by the intern only. So, getting an internship at NITI Aayog would be fruitful only when you have the skills ,a prior knowledge about the field and are willing to adapt and learn for the different assignments and tasks assigned. In short, it should be thought as a platform to brush up the technical skills you already have and gain some personality.
Tips and suggestions-
- There is a wide variety of departments at the NITI Aayog, and it’s a good platform to brush up your existing technical skills and gain some new ones in the process.
- The work atmosphere is very start-up like and the people who come there are smart and dynamic. It’s a government consultancy and thus interns aim for companies like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group.
- Having a good CGPA will ease your way to getting an internship.
Article by: Ashwil Bhupesh,Anukriti Yadav