I am from a tier 3 college in West Bengal, India. During my 4 years in college, I had done 3 paid internships with which I had even been able to pay a semester’s fee. In addition, I had 3 offers when I left college, all of them from good startups. Finally after 2 years of working, today I have a job with a seven figure salary and have even booked a flat in Bangalore.
1. Since school times, I used to fail in at least one subject in most terminal exams. In my 12th grade mock exams, I got 38%.
2. Also, I got 80% in 12 boards and of course got into a very shitty college.
3. The only goal was to study well in college, keep good CGPA and get a job in a company like Infosys or Wipro.
1. First of all, I saw seniors ragging some juniors. Students in hostels drinking, watching movies. Teachers were super shitty.
2. It seemed like something was wrong. Hence, I became curious as to what do the students in IITs and IIITs have to do to get a job with so much salary. What was different?
3. I had asked a senior from school who was studying in IIIT-H. He said there are websites called Codechef, SPOJ, Codeforces, Topcoder etc and if I really wanted to be a good programmer, I should code there. I thanked him and confirmed if I could approach him in a case dilemma. I will never forget what he said: “If you really want to learn, you will find your way. The internet has every answer to your question. You will do it if you are determined.” I thanked him again and after this was all by myself.
4. I learned Python online and started coding in Codechef. As soon as I came to know about SPOJ, I began coding there too. I never gave a shit about “enjoying” in college because I was in love with programming. I had started reading hacker news and Quora.
5. In my college 2nd year when the juniors arrived, I started to look for teammates for ACM ICPC. Unlike others, who like being the “dadas” of the college, I used to talk about with others (juniors or seniors) about something to hone their skills. I loved encouraging people to code.
6. Because of my determination, at one point, my All India Rank at Codechef was 60th. That is when I received an internship interview mail from the R&D team of Aspiring Minds. I cleared the interviews (DS Algo and Math). The another intern who cleared was from DCE and his all India rank in AIEEE was 9000. It felt great to have good people around.
7. I went for 3 more internships after that while the side projects and competitive programming kept on going. Later I went to ICPC, gave a talk at PyCon India, did some projects in ML and Image processing and, on the way encouraged everyone too.
What do I recommend?
1. Don’t waste your time in college. Enjoying and chilling feels great yet it is pointless beyond a certain limit. Spend most of your time coding and work very, very hard.
2. Find your own way and do not ask or expect too much from others.
4. Do not give excuses for your failures. You are the only responsible person for where you are. I hadn’t worked hard in class 11th and 12th. As a result, I ended up in a not-so-good-college.
5. Most of the times, you might feel like dropping the hard work and enjoying like others. It is very frustrating to learn anything new; programming can be the most excruciating. The most relevant learning is that there is no another way. You have to work hard. Be determined that in most of all these 4 years, you will code like crazy.
6. Encourage everyone to work hard. When you tell 100, at least 1 will do.
The most noteworthy thing is that this hard work will make you an amazing human being. You will learn to give a good fight in any circumstances. Consequently, it is important to enjoy whatever you are doing. Don’t do it for the salary, do it because it’s awesome. Besides that, you will learn how to survive without a paid “training”. I learned singing and cooking after moving to Bangalore for a job, all by myself.
I hope I have motivated you to get started. All the best.
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