The Mathematics and Computing program aims at training the students to handle problems in industry and research laboratories through combined use of mathematical and computational techniques. The emphasis is on training them in various aspects of theoretical computer science, computational techniques, mathematical modeling, simulation, probabilistic and statistical tools.
What kind of companies offer core jobs and internships in this branch? What are the skills that one requires for securing an internship? What can you expect from the company and what can you do to meet the company's expectations? What are the future opportunities available to you?
Companies like Microsoft, VMock, IBM, Qualcomm, Flipkart and Oracle offer internships to students mostly related to software development, data sciences, data mining, machine learning etc. The companies have online and/or interview based selection procedure testing your skills and efficiency for which proficiency in at least one programming language is a must and a good CV, with requisite courses and relevant projects is as integral as the tests itself. The companies generally have good pre placement offers based on performance and/or further tests. Students who have been there, done that have shared their learning and experience, read on to find out more...
Kartikay Garg , fourth year, interned with Microsoft .
WORK OFFERED : “ Microsoft IDC is located at Hyderabad and primarily offers internships as well as jobs in Software Development field. Many companies within India are housed in the same campus and offer profiles in different development areas in which they work, like the Bing Team, based in Hyderabad offers profiles in Machine Learning based dev ops. The Office team at IDC primarily works on the Android and iOS Development of Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and the other applications. There are several other teams such as Cloud & Enterprise, Visual Studio Inc., Edge etc. which specialize in their specific fields.
SELECTION PROCEDURE : To get an internship with this software giant, you have to clear two successive online tests, the first based on basic programming and logic and the other being competitive style programming filtering out students at each stage. This is followed by by f2f interview rounds based on resume and programming when the company arrives on campus.
SKILLS REQUIRED : Since the profile offered is purely DevOps, they expect good programming skills and proficiency in at-least one programming language be it C++ or Java or any other famous language. Thus the courses taught at IIT on programming basics such as Data Structures and Algorithm Design(ADA) help a lot in securing an internship position at Microsoft. Moreover, doing courses such COP290 (Design
Practices in Computer Science) offered in every even semester by the CS department helped me a lot in building my resume since the projects floated in this course are highly coherent with the development done at Microsoft.
INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE : Internships at Microsoft are not supposed to be very pressuring and there are several in-team and large scale events organised for all interns. Microsoft expects the interns to get to know how development happens there and offers Pre-Placement offers to everyone who fits in well. However, for the PPO, they conduct separate interviews and the number of interviews depend on the team to which you are assigned. In my case, I was in the Office Team where in they conducted two interviews - one based on programming and the other on my project and was offered PPO after successfully completing them.
Job at Microsoft is very satisfying (only if you are into DevOps) and I think companies such as Adobe, Microsoft and Google are the best companies in India if you plan to work long term in your field. Additionally, Microsoft offers to port few of its employees to foreign centers only after they have gained at-least 3 years of work experience. Microsoft is one of the few private corporations in India where while working you feel secure and satisfied. It is just that one needs to prepare well for the online tests and be confident in the interview.”
Sahil Bhatnagar interned with Microsoft Hyderabad.
WORK OFFERED : “There are two basic divisions, MSIT and MSIDC. However this division is rather notional. The projects assigned are vastly different from what one would think of if making a guess based on what division they're looking at. In terms of actual work, every intern is assigned a team within a bigger division, for example, android team under the Office division. The projects are mostly decided by the team manager and the assigned mentor, though in most cases, they can be redefined or even changed if we wish to.
SELECTION PROCEDURE : The on-campus selection procedure was pretty straightforward. I applied for the company at the TnP portal and gave the test. The first test is a basic coding test, generally 3 questions. Do all, and you are through, to the interviews. In most cases, if you do 2 completely, you have to then go through a "code-fly" round. In there, groups of 5-6 people have a "mentor" from Microsoft's hiring team assigned to them. All of them have to solve 2 questions and write complete code on paper. The idea is to let the mentor know of the approach and keep him in the loop. Those selected in that join the initially chosen candidates for the interviews. Generally there are 3 rounds, but that may vary. All but the last one are technical, the last one being a mix of technical and HR.
SKILLS REQUIRED : The major skills are coding problem solving (say on leetcode or similar sites). Communication skills are a big factor for the interview.
The courses taught at IIT have been reasonably helpful in getting the internship. I come from the maths department and so things have slightly lesser direct correspondence, though I'd argue that building problem-solving competence is something that maths helps a lot in. Data structures and other CS courses are clearly useful for the interviews. INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE : The company expects that we are able to make some progress on the project assigned, be clear with our deliverables and deliver them in time. They are reasonable with expectations, so if the problem is big, they don't expect you to solve it completely, just make good progress. Within the same company, they offer PPOs to both BTech and Dual degree interns. Also, based on the networking one can do, other options may also crop up.
Solve a lot of problems, leetcode, interviewbit or any other similar place. Get a good feeling of coding. Having a good competency with Data Structures helps. Add to all of this reasonable communication skills since all the above preparation would be useless if you can’t convince the interviewer that you're smart.”
Harshdeep Gupta landed an internship with VMock , a company one would count more in the technical side of things, with most of the work related to the fields of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing.
WORK OFFERED : “The relevant roles for IIT students would be that of a Data Scientist and Software Developer, although there are many other administrative/ legal roles. SELECTION PROCEDURE : For internships this summer, the company was looking for people with some machine learning and coding experience. There was a two round interview process for selection at the company’s Gurgaon office. The first round was with an engineer, and it was mostly about ML/NLP related concepts. They also went through my CV, and asked me to explain the projects that were in field of ML, and asked some questions about them. My second round of interview was with the CEO. It was less technical and more to see if I was a good cultural fit. The main questions were why I wanted to work in this field, what are my aspirations etc. Then I asked him a few questions I had and the interview ended.
SKILLS REQUIRED : Coding skills, knowledge of machine learning and experience in python is what helped me land an internship with VMock. The courses done at IIT lay a strong foundation. Without them, you will have struggle a lot and will be doing things without really understanding them. Having said that, most of the work here is of exploratory nature and very challenging, so it requires some knowledge of what all techniques are out there.
INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE : The company expects you to take ownership of your work, and deliver results. There are smart people here, and you can learn a lot from them. You can expect to work on projects that will be shipped to customers, and will have some real impact. Company offers PPO to its interns, based on performance.
Machine learning is an exciting field and it will help if you have done a couple of courses in related fields. Have some good projects listed on your CV that you can talk about intelligently. Also experience in writing code will help you hit the ground running.”
Adarsh Onkar interned with Qualcomm
WORK OFFERED : “The company offers two profiles, software and hardware. The hardware department is based in Bangalore and software in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Noida. The software team is divided into various sub teams like camera, audio, video, power, wifi, iot etc. The work offered to interns varies, depending on the managers allotted and we are allotted small tasks which one can complete even without a lot of background knowledge. The workload can vary between nothing to working overtime in holidays. The downside this year is that the interns have been given workplaces away from their teams, restricting interaction.
SELECTION PROCEDURE : Selection for the internship is based on a test of mcqs containing 3 sections of maths, software/hardware (based on our choice) and aptitude, followed by a technical interview by an HR person. Around one-third of the shortlisted applicants were finally selected. The number of students selected from a college varied from a minimum of 6-7 to maximum of 30 (from IIT Madras). The test contains bookish questions (C being an important part), and qualifying the test is completely luck based. CG cutoff for applying is 7. The tech interview is what I think is the deciding factor. During the tech interview, they ask to write code in C/C++, for example write a C code to compare 2 strings. They also focus on your projects and interests. HR interview is mostly a formality.
SKILLS REQUIRED : For me, I think my interest in image processing, competitive coding, algorithms was what most part of the interview was concentrated on. Apart from this they also asked questions about the courses I have done and questions pertaining to my last internship. They did not looked at my cgpa. They also focused on my future prospects of joining Qualcomm. For getting this internship, I think ADA was the only course taught at IIT that played a part although at work, Operating Systems and some amount of networks is required for tasks assigned to me. Most of the interns at Hyderabad are given work on multimedia. Only a few work on machine learning. Summing up, I don’t find much coherence of my work with courses like digital electronics or computer architecture, basic knowledge about these fields will do. INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE : The company expects me to be sincere at work, complete the assigned tasks on time, and come up with new ideas. I want to maximize my learning and experience so that the work I’m doing is fruitful in the future as well.
Having said all that, I feel the work here is not as interesting as I was told during the interview, but it is challenging. For the juniors interested in maths/ML, data analysis, I would suggest them to avoid Qualcomm as there is no special work for our department.
If they find multimedia, OS and computer networks interesting and dream to be in a tech job in the future with up to date work, they can give a thought on Qualcomm. Qualcomm provides one of the most comfortable internships, you don't need to bother about travel, transport, accommodation, food, fun etc. I think for getting an internship here, one should build a strong background in C/C++, have decent cgpa and good projects. Test and interview are not very difficult to get through.”
One can get a good internship with focus and the will to learn. Communication skills are as important as technical ones and good projects in one’s CV are an added bonus.