Anuvrat Parashar

Unsolicited advice for would-be-engineers

You graduated from school, and for whatever reason landed in an engineering college that was not an IIT. A few months have passed and you have come to realize that the flashy placements that the college advertised about are far from the mass-recruitment reality. So now you are looking out for ways to make up for that original sin and the wasted time, simultaneously taking up the responsibility of your education and career in your own hands. If so, my dear would-be-engineer, read on.

Read

Read as much as you can. Read whatever you can lay your hands on, technical literature, fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, blogs, wikipedia, literally anything informative. At the least, this will improve your vocabulary.

Write

Except for facebook posts and occasional tweets, very few of us retain the habit of writing beyond composition exercise of tenth grade. Well, guess what, until the day that others start writing about your exceptional work, you have have to do it. A future that has you gasping for words for an email or a cover letter sounds bleak even in imagination. Blogs being the first step, try and pour your creative genius in the reports and thesis too.

Speak

Your ability to speak fluently, politely, precisely and prudently will determine your success at many avenues, not limited to discussions, 1-1 meetings and presentations. If you do not have the confidence of speaking your mind without fear irrespective of the size of the audience, someone else will always be awarded the credit for your hardwork. Begin with practicing at class presentations, local meetups and then move on to delivering talks at coneferences.

Code

The breed of engineers with a degree in Computer Science who cannot code is found only in India. Don’t be one of them. Master atleast one programming language along with its ecosystem, and then move on to becoming a jack of all trades. Go much farther than what the lab exercises mandate. Strive towards coding something that ends up getting used by more than 3 humans instead of dying on your computer.

Meet

Checkout the gatherings, conferences, meetups happening in your vicinity / near-by city. Go there, meet people. Talking to people in such gatherings will expose you to organizations, techonologies and fields you may get inspired to build a career in. At least, I did.

Collaborate

Most fresh graduates have never worked on a project that required collaboration or created a program that was used by anyone other than their professor or dorm-mate. Version control meant copying the code in multiple directories and naming them by date, and collaboration meant emailing the source code over and over. You will almost never work alone on a project in your job, so learn git.

Learn

Lack of command over Data Structures and Algorithms, Computer Networks, Operating Systems will haunt you your entire work-life. DO NOT study the core /basic subjects for the purpose of just clearing examinations or interviews. Master them. One wikipedia article everyday, is a cool way to keep refreshing the basic concepts. If you cannot implement what you have learned, you have not learned it.

Prepare for the work-life ahead instead of just the interview.

As the final year approaches, many students start practicing aptitude questions and studying to `crack` the interview process. This in-my-not-so-humble-opinion is an extremely pointless waste of time. Even if you succeed at the interview, your life in the organization will be an utter disaster if all you did was to hack through the interview process. No man or book can tell you the important questions to help you zip through the examinations of everyday-life.

Avoid coaching centers

Like Oscar Wilde said ages ago, “Nothing that is worth learning, can ever be taught”. Luckily everything you need, to learn the tools of the trade of Software Industry is available online, and mostly for free. Steer clear of the coaching centers.

Certificates

Laminated pieces of paper which calligraphically state that you came first in this competition or have completed that course would not work for your employeer, YOU will. And if you are not capable of delivering, a certificate would not magically make you. All the certificates will rot in your file until a senile 60 year old version of you shows them to your grandchildren. So stop running after them.

Date: 2018-08-30 Thu 00:00

Author: Anuvrat Parashar

Created: 2018-09-25 Tue 17:52

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