Archives for posts with tag: engineering

Are you preparing for a Google/Facebook interview? Give your head some rest and think.

This post is about engineers passing out from top or not “called” top technical institutes of India who all go through the dilemma of how to get that job at Google or Facebook (or any similar company). And soon they learn that they need to be really really strong in their algorithms, problem/puzzle solving and coding practices. We tend to get familiar algorithm books – they don’t take a long time to complete and then with codechef, topcoder, hackerrank and many similar websites that provide endless unrealistic problems to work on and compete with the world. While we are solving them, we do get better and some of us then crack the interviews at these reputed companies to get that dream job. But some don’t, they either keep trying or regret and start loving the job they could get. My question is aren’t the jobs at these companies overrated?

Well, of course these are high paying reputed jobs with companies that are aligned to solve big pain points in the best way but is the effort of proving them that we are worth it for which we tend to waste months solving problems nobody cares about really worth it? I say NO. There are more than a dozen, wait a hundred? thousand? other problems waiting to be solved and I bet they are much easier than this coding interview. All one needs is the guts to go ahead and tackle real problems. No, not guts really, a simple understanding that your life is limited, don’t live it trying to prove it to someone when you can prove it to everyone and alongside solve a bigger problem. This post must by now look like an inspirational story for an entrepreneur journey, it really isn’t just that. For example, while in college I spent a lot of time contributing to open source projects (a lot of it was paid). I learned and at the same time not only proved myself but also contributed to solve somebody’s problem and yes made cash too. When I fixed a small bug in Wikipedia I actually fixed a small problem for the world and that felt fantastic. I bet you won’t have such a feeling after solving a very hard problem on Topcoder.

So my message from this blog is simple, spend your time wisely and if you can contribute to the society. Don’t run after a job that is just shiny on the outside. You might think that Google is going to give you really hard problems to solve? I think there are a lot of harder problems laying low around you, fix that. Nobody is stopping you from it, you don’t have to interview for it. Besides I also bet that Google might not give you any hard problem that you anticipate it would based on the interview prep you must be doing.

*This has been a quick write, so forgive me for my grammar. I do brag a lot sometimes.

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Most engineering students in India are from a non-coding background. They get into a CS degree course by knowledge of Maths, Physics and Chemistry and learn their first programming language (C mostly) only in their first year at college; by this time they are already 17 or so.

After the first loss i.e. loss of years (by when an average US coder writes excellent code) the second loss comes from the unrevealed truth that coding is learnt by practice. Many students don’t like to code much, others that do learn the lesson very late. By this time (when the students know the need to do actual programming) they get to their final years when another horrible phenomena comes into picture; yes, you guessed it right the PLACEMENTS. This stuff takes into account your CGPA and knowledge of computers but they usually don’t check your code made by you in the past. Some challenging companies do test coding skills but on the basic of problem solving skills.

Only a few of the engineers get into good companies. As a result there are a lot of students who have their dream of a high salary crushed down. They take this as an epic fall and don’t realize the immense possibilities that lay ahead.

We need to change this mentality. Placements shouldn’t be given such a higher place in society. There are many other resources to make a good life. Open Source is one such example