Nikhil Chaturvedi: Software Developer @ Microsoft
Current Job Profile
I am shortly joining Microsoft Vancouver to work in the capacity of a Software Developer. I am looking forward to a rich new experience of coding to build interesting products. I hope to gel well into the new work culture that awaits me and have a lot of fun while I get paid for things that I love to do.
The Internships that Paved the Road to this Job
I was lucky to be a Dual Degree student as it gave me the opportunity of doing 3 internships. I believe one must try and plan out their internships in such a way that they get to try at-least a month long internship in different fields before they decide what they actually like.
At the end of my second year, I did a research internship at EPFL, which I got by applying to their ‘Summer@EPFL’ programme. I did two more internships at the end of my third and fourth year at Indeed.com and Microsoft IDC respectively.
The selection procedure for TnP based internships was a CG shortlist followed by a coding test and a coding interview. Companies don’t really care about the rest of your CV if you can do all this. Having a high CGPA does 80% of the task for you as it is one of the only metrics that companies have to judge you. Coding preparation is also very important. You can look up sites like LeetCode for the same. Apart from that it is important to stay confident during interviews.
Students generally go about profiles by cancelling out stuff in terms of what they can do, and what they can’t. One should rather have a broader perspective and cancel out stuff only after having experienced it. Also don’t think of internships as CV points, there are many more important skills that you can gain from them.
Projects and Courses at IIT Delhi
I really enjoyed doing developmental stuff, and spent time in redesigning the TnP portal and also working on the RDV portal.
My major project was on ‘Computational Analysis of Sanskrit Linguistic Process’ – which I did my Masters thesis on.
I really liked the course ‘Theater of the Absurd’ by Angelie Multani. Apart from that I feel that most learning happens through internships or during job preparation.
In IIT, we have specific deadlines and just have to submit our code. A culture that does not force us to write good code. In my internships, I got intellectual freedom to work on what I wanted to, there was greater emphasis on the quality of work. These experiences really helped me through the rest of my time at IIT.
The Final Job Selection Process
After my internship at Microsoft India, I was given a Pre-Placement Offer on the basis of my performance there. Even if you get a PPO from Microsoft, you are allowed to sit for Day 1 jobs. So, I applied for the job at Microsoft Redmond. I had to give a small interview and got through Microsoft Redmond.
Balancing Extra-Currics, PoRs and Academics
It was not at all easy. It is always a trade-off between how much of what you can have. I believe there are 4 things that form a major aspects of IIT life– Acads, PoRs & Extra Currics, Health & Sleep, Social Life. You can at max have 2.5 of these at any time.
Academics is one thing that can not be compromised at any cost. Just ignore those people who say that CGPA is not important if you have PoRs. Apart from that, it is your decision on how you prioritize different things.
LOOKING BACK AT IIT as an Alumnus: Man ki baat
Going through the ups and downs of IIT Life
Whatever activities I was involved in during my IIT life, be it debating or working for RDV, together made it a culmination of a lot of different types of experiences that I could not have had at a single place, anywhere else. I really cherish all those memories.
Some of the lows would be when I had to deal with the rigid administration and faculty, often making life miserable.
If given another chance, I would like to see how my life would have shaped up at IIT had I gone for ForEx. It is not exactly a regret, but it would have been a good experience, and might have changed my IIT life.
The Personality Transformation that IIT brought
The most important learning that IIT teaches you is to deal with a very diverse set of people, who are equally ambitious and competitive, but still nice. We learn to deal with things more independently, and also to co-operate with others.
Apart from this IIT life teaches you how to get through complex situations by ‘jugaad’, which will be very helpful on multiple occasions throughout your life.
A Final Word of Advice
Firstly, Stop quantifying things. For instance, when you take up a course, don’t pressure yourself by thinking about how it affects your chances at a particular job.
Secondly, do not over complicate things by thinking of getting too many PoRs, ECA etc. for that column of your CV – no matter what profile you are looking for. It is more important to get better at things you are good at, and have some relevant skills when you leave IIT.
Thirdly, emphasize self-learning. Most people at IIT don’t really understand its importance. None of being the debating secretary, or an RDV ETM, or making the RDV portal were needed for my job, aren’t even things that got a place on my CV.
But these things were crucial in me getting there – the way they shaped me through various experiences like handling software, collaborating and dealing with people and much more.
In a nutshell, Job processes lie beyond what your CV entails.