Software Engineering

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Software engineering is the white collar job people vie for if they want to climb the technical ladder in their career. Anmol Sood and Gorish Aggarwal share their experience and expectations from the same.

BUILD YOUR CV

CG Important especially for shortlisting, but not the make-or-break factor for landing the job!
Internships A research and an industrial intern should enable you to gauge your inclination and diversify your CV.
Courses Done One can find relevant courses with the Mathematics, CSE, EE departments, like DS, ML, Signal Processing, Algorithms, CompArch, OS
Technical Skills Understanding of algorithms and programming; competitive coding helps

 

Anmol Sood: Software Engineer @ Facebook

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Current Job Profile

I am going to start working as a Software Engineer at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, later this year. I look forward to working on challenging problems with extremely talented people to build products that billions of people use everyday.

 

The Internships that Paved the Road to this Job

Internships really helped me to get a sense of how day-to-day work was in the industry and also decide if I want to take up a job or study more after graduating from IIT.

My first internship was at a machine learning startup called SearchX in Bangalore after my second year.  The startup had posters in the campus and I contacted them. I spent most of my time trying to understand and implement some research papers.

After my third year, I worked as a software engineering intern with the Azure team at Microsoft IDC. I got this internship through TnP.

In my fourth year, I contacted a couple of seniors who worked at Facebook and asked them to refer me for interviews. I went through a coding test on Hackerrank and two phone interviews after which I was offered an internship at Facebook London. On the basis of my internship performance, I was offered a full time job.

The most important thing to get internships is to make sure you are aware of the right kind of resources and also about how the selection procedure works. It’s always a great idea to talk to seniors or other people who manage to get an internship at the place of your liking and ask them for advice well in advance so that you have sufficient time to prepare.

 

Courses and Projects at IIT Delhi

Honestly, I didn’t really work on many projects except for courses at IIT. I always liked to keep my course load heavy and spent most of my vacations doing internships or practicing for ICPC. I worked on graph algorithms for my thesis project and I hope to get some of my work published soon.

There were many courses at IIT where I had a terrific time. My favorites were courses by Prof Naveen Garg/Prof Mausam/Prof Ambuj Sagar and also the machine learning course by Prof Sumeet Agarwal. My all time favourite online courses are those by Tim Roughgarden from Stanford. There are a bunch of his courses on Youtube and I loved his course on algorithms and game theory.

 

Competitive Coding

I think competitive coding is only one of the many ways to get a good job at a top-notch Software Engineering firm. It’s absolutely great to develop your algorithm and data structures and also make you comfortable with writing code. But it’s neither necessary nor sufficient. There are much better ways to prepare for interviews.

Internships and/or doing other “developmental” coding is quite important to help you decide whether you actually want to get into a software engineering firm. Internships are also very important to make your profile attractive to recruiters for job interviews.

 

LOOKING BACK AT IIT as an Alumnus: Man ki baat

Going through the ups and downs of IIT Life

It’s incredibly hard to pick the most memorable moments – but perhaps one of the things that I would miss the most is the craziness of the night before any exam or assignment deadline when you and your friends collectively feel so doomed. That’s when the funniest stuff always happens and the feeling after submitting your assignment is so heavenly. As “maggu” as it might sound but there is so much to cherish about those moments.

I had many low moments at IIT especially during my first semester when I really struggled to make friends and then during my final few semesters when pretty much everything felt meaningless at times. To get back to normal, what helped me always was making myself very busy so that I don’t get a lot of time to fill myself up with negative thoughts.

My biggest regret at IIT was not qualifying for the ICPC World Finals (an international competitive programing competition). I was really fortunate to team up with some really smart people over the years and yet not working hard enough to qualify was by far my biggest regret at IIT.

 

The Personality Transformation that IIT brought

I was really shy before I joined  IIT, and the five years here have made me a much more confident person. Also, I think being at IIT is a really humbling experience as you are surrounded by so many smart people doing a whole lot of diverse things.

I spent a lot of my time at IIT with the debating club. This was probably one of the best decisions that I made. Being a part of a club is a great avenue to interact with students across the years and departments and the sense of community is absolutely amazing. I am not quite sure if I was able to achieve the right balance always but making sure that I am prioritizing my time correctly was the key.

 

A Final Word of Advice

I love giving advice. Most people love giving advice. The advice that I would give to pretty much everyone is make sure you keep taking advice from relevant seniors across the years. Also, don’t accept all the advice that you get at face value. Take advice, evaluate and then make your own decisions.

Finally, remember not to spend all your time at IIT optimizing only a single metric like CGPA or the number of girlfriends/boyfriends you make or the number of hours you sleep or the number of times you get drunk/stoned or the number of PoRs that you get. Your time at college is a multi-dimensional optimization problem! Make sure you have fun!

 

Gorish Aggarwal: Industrial Research@ Samsung

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Current Job Profile

I am currently working at Samsung Research Institute Bangalore in the SAIT division where I am researching novel means to measure blood glucose concentration non-invasively (without taking out blood). My work requires me to use signal processing and ML tools to attempt to build models that can detect the miniscule glucose information in human body. My project is a fairly open-ended one as no proper solutions exist till date. I learned a lot on how research proceeds in an industry as well as how meaningful research can be translated to market.

 

The Internships that Paved the Road to this Job

I did 2 internships. A research intern at INRIA and an industrial one at Samsung Bangalore. My INRIA intern in the field of brain research was my window into this field. Besides giving me an international exposure, it also gave me a research environment where I was able to learn a lot of new things in a short span of time. The awesome experiences during my industrial intern was a major reason why I decided to choose a job over MBA, right after college.

I secured my INRIA intern directly through mailing professors, whereas the TnP cell of IITD has sufficient opportunities for an industrial intern. I believe it is important for every UG to experience at least one of both industrial and research intern to be able to get a sense of where their interests lie.

Competitive Coding is quite important if you are looking for something on-campus. However, these days companies are giving increased weightage to specializations and the projects a student does during his/her bachelors.

 

Balancing the Electrical life, while not losing track of CS courses

Various branches of EE and CS such as Signal Processing and ML are closely intertwined. The core CS courses (such as Data Structures, Algorithms, etc) are quite important for engineers in all fields. For electrical engineers, a good understanding of courses such as Comp Arch, OS can help strongly in the industry for both software and hardware-based products. IIT Delhi is one of the few IITs whose EE dept. includes Comp Arch, DS as core courses and this acts as a real plus for EE students.

 

Projects and Courses at IIT Delhi

During UG, my top projects included Epileptic Seizure Detection and Prediction (BTech project under Dr. Tapan Gandhi), Post-Stroke Neuro-Rehabilitation (Research Internship, INRIA), AI agent for Quoridor game(Course project, AI), and the bots that I built during my time with robotics club.

My internship and BTP were the main contributors to helping me find my passion.

I loved doing courses from new fields. I explored CS, Bio, Mgm, and even finance courses. My favorite ones include CSL333, MAL390, and SML305.  

 

The Final Job Selection Process

I received a PPO from SRIB. The process involved a performance review of my internship, a coding test and 2 interview rounds.

I felt light-hearted after getting the PPO and was keenly anticipating enjoying my final year to the fullest 😛

My internship and subsequent PPO process was fairly easy and did not require any specialized course knowledge other than basic Algorithms course. However, many of the course I did at IITD were crucial to my work here at Samsung.

 

LOOKING BACK AT IIT as an Alumnus: Man ki baat

Going through the ups and downs of IIT Life

My most memorable moments included the ones I spent with my EES team planning events, building workshop contents, and organizing the 2-day Vortex festival. I don’t recall any specific low at IIT. Though I am sure there were many. The best way, I feel, to get back to normal is to keep moving forward and remain optimistic for a better tomorrow.

My main regret at IIT is that I wish I had focused more on improving my GPA.

 

The Personality Transformation that IIT brought

My time at IITD helped me to be more adept in social situations and become empathetic and compassionate towards others. Though, the greatest reward of my 4 years at IIT was developing friendships that will last a lifetime, friends who will stay beside me through thick and thin.

Both academics and extra-curricular played crucial roles in the development of my personality and a balance between them can be achieved as long as you don’t overdo one at the cost of other.

 

A Final Word of Advice

Undergraduate is an exploratory phase. A student should try as many different things as he can get his hands on during these 4/5 years. Take courses from various domains, participate in extra-currics, explore new research avenues, work on startups. Basically, do anything to move out of your comfort zone. You will learn highly during this process and become more confident in life. Also eventually, you will find your true passion. Many students are highly confused about pursuing jobs/ MBA/ higher studies/ startup after college. These 4 years of college can help you determine exactly that, provided you are ready to explore and give it a shot.

While doing the above, it is also crucial to understand the importance of academics and the value it will hold once you are out of college. Your grades will stay with you on paper throughout your life. However, being a bookworm is not necessary for good grades. Prioritization is the key.

Thirdly and most importantly, build strong bonds of friendship. Can’t stress enough the significance of this!

Freshers and Sophomores, I believe, should also explore technical clubs apart from the glamorous ones. After all, the love for technology and engineering was the reason we were able to join this remarkable institution in the first place.

 

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