Friday, April 22, 2005

Story Of An IIT KGP Computer Science Graduate

This definitely sounds like a story,at least to me.It's a story of an IIT Computer Science graduate.I don't know how fascinating this story will be to read.I leave the decision to the readers.Please let me know through your comments.Enough of the prologue part...Let me get started and introduce "the" individual.

This guy is claimed to be a genius by his poor school friends(Among the blinds one-eyed man is the king) and his parents(sounds familiar,right..every child is termed as brilliant by his parents.So nothing new in that).Further, this poor chap has his 10 and 12 standard marks barely above the first class barrier 60%(My guess is this Bihar Board thing has more to do with that than the talent he possessed.He still has only 4(four) marks out of 75 in Intermediate Chemistry II paper,thanks to a computer mistake engineered by a "responsible" Inter Council Employee). So you can count him as just another average student.But somehow or other he manages an All India JEE Rank of 198 and that too on his first attempt!!!!. Was it a fluke?? Only God knows. He has not even touched a computer till the date he cleared JEE but going by his parents' and friends' words he "decided" to take computer science as his graduate subject.

He candidly accepts that he is a highly confused person.The only time he didn't get confused in his life was while taking the decision to go for IIT JEE preparation which was then and is still now considered as a "dead end" by many of his "well-wishers".And he gets even more confused the moment he enters his college by the happenings around him. He had a torrid first year, where he finds his feet completely at sea probably due to lack of communication skills(This guy had done everything upto +2 in HINDI medium and the first time he spoke english was on the first day in Electrical Lab!!!!). But somehow he manages to survive thanks in no small parts to his best chum in college days RK who happens to be an even more suffering soul(at least during his graduate studies).But he always believed and still believes that had it not been RK he would not have been able to complete his graduate studies.For without RK's constant support through thicks(which were indeed rare) and thins(which were aplenty) he definitely might have struggled to get going in this fast track IIT system.May God bless RK with all his blessings and help him achieve the goals that he had set for himself.This guy along with RK and few other friends struggled a lot to "pass" in the Programming course but he somehow manages to come out of this course with a D(which is just above P-Pass). What a debut?? A wannabe CS graduate scoring D in his first departmental subject!!! But he personally feels he has not done too badly , after all he passed!!!

Then comes second year.Unfortunately he had no seniors in any IIT anywhere who could tell him anything abt the (gruelling/torturing) incoming years. So he goes back home,thanks his God,rests in peace that no more programming business for now,enjoys,comes back and finds that this 2nd year is even more difficult,more and more programming jobs in queue!!! He could do nothing about it other than being "victimised" by the IIT system and prepared to get thrashed by the so called world-class faculties.History repeats itself and he again registers a D in another programming subject Algorithm. And since after 2nd year first sem there was almost no programming work(at least for him as he "decided" not to submit any assignment in any of the courses after 2nd year first sem) he relaxes quite comfortably.And the most familiar site in the lab classes was this guy receiving some tongue lashings from the faculties!!! But somehow either by hook or crook(To be honest this guy was very honest in whatever he used to do and is still very much the same person.He never asked anyone for help in his exams/class-tests/projects so while some of his batch mates could easily muster up A/B grades without doing anything extra he consistently clocked a C/D or an even more embarrassing P in nearly all the subjects) he manages to complete all his courses/labs within the stipulated four years and pass-out of his college gracefully.One more serious problem with this guy was that he was unable to work in a group(which is defined as TEAM-Working).So my guess is he can definitely be declared unfit/unsuitable for most of the IT companies(Especially the services firms) where we have a "TEAM" for doing almost everything ranging from analysis/design/developement/testing. And that's exactly what happened in his First job!!!

This guy always hated C(he didn't know java then and still doesn't know , even after undergoing 8-weeks "Intensive Java Training/Work-Shop" during his stay at his first employer!!!!) programming in his college days.In fact after second year first semester no body had even seen him writing a code in C.To top it all one interviewer(Unfortunately his first employer) asked whether he knew anything abt C or not after listening to his cryptographic and hardware relatd fundaes for half an hour (which were of no use to him/his company,Alas)?Even one of his friend told him in his final semester that i have never seen you doing any programming exercises till date and very soon you are passing out as a CS grad from IIT!!!! He was correct in doing an "honest" assessment of this CS grad. No body either had seen him doing any programming exercises throught his stay for 4 years.A familiar site in his room is like this...Two-three windows open on his system with very-2 small resolution n even smaller font size so that no body could see anything(He was smart in copying!!). All they could see on his room PC is that he has just now copied someone else's code and is "busy" typing Cntrl-F Cntrl-R.So i think we can safely categorize this guy as a bigtime programming bunny.
Although I still believe that he was good in patches and he could have done much better. Here are few examples to prove the above stated claims:--

This guy was a real maniac towards Mathematics. Even in IITs, supposedly the beehive of talented individuals,People used to distance themselves miles away from any subject involving maths but he always believed(And still holds the same belief) that Maths is the easiest subject on this planet (ohh really!!!) and programming(especially in C) is the toughest task.He proved that to some extent in his first year where he was struggling with almost all the subjects barring one and that was Maths where he scored a rare A and an even rarer B in consecutive sems.And following this notion of himself in his 3rd year he went on to take an elective in electrical engineering department dropping his own Computer Sc elective, in other words he preferred to write meaningless electrical lab records rather than doing Java coding for software engineering, simply because he felt at that time that the Electrical engineering subject will involve more math that software engineering!!! I fully agree that being strong in maths doesn't mean u should be good in programming too. But at least one of his wingmate VB always used to wonder how come he is weak in programming despite being so strong in maths related stuffs. Only God knew the answer at that time, although he also found an answer to the same although a touch too late.But believe it or not this "self-realisation" couldn't have come at a better time than his first job!!!.So it went simply otherway round when he joined his first company a software firm in chennai (the name of his first company is too long that's one reason and the other is he really hates this company like anything and he doesn't want to criticise any company in open.So....But the clue is..the company name starts with letter C. But in chennai you won't find many "long-named" companies starting with letter C!!! So you can easily guess)and underwent a training in JAVA!! His choices took a complete U turn while being in chennai.He was decent at Verilog,another language which he used to like in his college days and he still likes the most. And believe it or not Verilog is just C with POINTERS dropped(ohh no POINTERS.......that gives us huge relief..but if u drop pointers then what is there in C!!!). So this guy started taking C seriously turning a complete blind eye to the Java training he was going through...(although he was smart enough to clear an Oracle interview during his training days solely on the basis of Java!!!)So somehow or the other he was just repeating the same mistakes that he had commited earlier.Always doing the right thing at the wrong time.So he was destined to suffer in the IT industry if he was to be in Java based business so he decided that he had had enough.He thought that let me stick to C only.He realised(which he had never done before) that he is "strong" in Verilog so automatically he should do well in C and given the disliking towards Java shown by him during his training days his friends also suggested the same.So he started taking C more seriously than ever. He could see that some of his colleagues at the same company were getting paid a handsome salary just for reading newspapers and forwarding mails(It still holds true in case of some of my colleagues). But he was supposed to do some White-box testing(although he used to do it half-heartedly) for his job(Read survival/living) and apart from that he was "mastering" C.But the best was yet to come. By divine's intervention after being overlooked for nearly 1 and half months by the same company he gets shortlisted for Oracle.This guy has not written a single C code for past 2 and half years or so(and is equally bad in Java too) but somehow or the other he finds a lot of confidence going into the interview..So when the interviewer(who happens to be his current manager) asks him that Which language you would like to prefer/work for when u join our company if at all you get through our selection process, he doesn't even think twice and says confidently "off-course" C. And rest is history. He cracks at the interview answering most of the questions(At least questions regarding C) gets selected in a position where his "team" consists of only one individual and that is himself, an ideal scenario for him given that he was not good at teamworks.He comes at Oracle,is still at Oracle only and as proclaimed by him has learnt hell lot of things in the past 4-5 months(may be more than what he "learnt" during his 4 years stay in IIT KGP),has improved by leaps and bounds and in his words he has become a "STUD"(A jargon frequently used in IITs, genrally pronounced as Eshtudddd) in C.

This guy had a strong liking for the VLSI,EDA and Hardware related stuffs. He did all the courses related to hardware/vlsi/eda during his undergraduate days.He went on to do so many courses on hardware that in one of the MNC's written tests he scored 9 out of 10 in Hardware and 3 out of 10 in Software!!!! Needless to say that he was thrown out of the selection process as the opening was for the software stream not for hardware!!!!So we can safely say that his strength is not computer science, his real strength was electronics which was what he always wanted to be(He had a brief spat with his parents on this issue of taking Computer Sc or Electronics Engg on his JEE counselling days also).

Finally one word or two about this guy's communication skill.This guy is being interviewed in the same company mentioned above,where he gets 9 out of 10 and is still thrown out like a bee out of a tea cup.The interviewer asks few questions and he answers.Finally towards the end the interviewer is "impressed" with him and asks what is his native state.He answers Bihar.BIHAAAAAAR...The interviewer got really excited and says....ohh u are from BIHAR.I can't believe this.You speak english pretty fast(He got almost the same compliments from his current employer also in his second interview).How did u do that??I thought u are from south!!!!Then he jokingly asks the interviewer that Whether this statement was a fact or just a compliment??The interviewer tells no man it's indeed a fact.You must be proud of your background. He comes out of the interview room with a winning smile on his face only to know later on that his services are not required by the company!! But he has taken this defeat in his stride and is planning to "avenge" this "loss" sonner than later.This guy strongly believes in God and time and again insists that Bhagwan Jo Karte Hain Bhale Ke Liye Hin Karte Hain(Whatever God does with u, it's always for the betterment of ur self) and since everything happens for a reason, by "rejecting" him for this job at that time God had done a lot of favour.Now he is in a much better position than he would have been had he been selected at that point of time.He feels that he has become a lot more "mature" and "experienced" ,had understood lots and lots of things regarding the business/market/industry, is more confident and is now ready to take up the same position once again with gusto.We just hope that this guy finds his destination sooner than later so that at least for once he can get something right,which he has failed to achieve throughout his entire career and that is "Doing the right thing at the right time".

One more (rare to find and not so prevalent, at least in this materialistic world) quality of this guy i missed out to mention is his "generousness" and i still remember AD(one of his wingmate) heaping praise onto him on being so honest,helping,down-to-earth and not being opportunist by any means.He doesn't mind spending money on his friends and donating his money nearly at will to the under-previleged persons.And on being asked by one of his close friends SS he explains plainly, Because i don't drink neither I smoke,So i should find some way to spend my money!!! Nice Excuse for spending your money, Right??

We wish all good luck to this proud soul from Supaul to scale new heights in whichever field he chooses to persue and make his native Supaul even prouder for himself.

12 comments:

SKS said...

just like to add abt this guy is that he was a gem at heart. I hadnt really seen a person so intelligent and still so down to earth. Professional/academic success is what people use to make opinions abt perosns, Alas! But lemme assure this brilliant guy that the best days are yet to come and also in the past this guy did the bestanybody cud have done given the same circumstances and background. I wish this guy from Supaul all the best.

sandeep k verma said...

well presented suman,
ofcourse this column of yours is one of the best column I have read.
Its true that you have faced some hardships, but that is the life.
If there are not crest and gully in your career and life graphs, then it has no meaning.
Good thing about you is that you haven't forgotten your bad phase.
Keep moving and enjoy your life.

Anirudh said...

kya baat hai...abhi xam hai..aapka blog padhke tab badan fresh ho gaya.....

surabhi said...

really a great article suman.....never ever stop urself n keep moving thro' ups and downs:-)
surabhi.....

Phippogriff said...

Hey Suman...loved this post ..;)
good to find you on blogosphere...keep it up//

Subodh Kumar said...

I was thinking of clicking on this blog-link that showed on my yahoo messenger for many days but some how didn't get time or space in my browser. Finally I opened the link today and found it to be quite an honest writing , ek-dum dil se likha gaya hai. Suman , I think you should try out writing as a part-time profession.

Anonymous said...

O GOD!
Never send any human to do a machine's job!

Anonymous said...

Though i don't read much but after i started reading this one it was hard to stop. Its extremely well written and a one straight from the heart. Keep writing

sudhanshu said...

I knew about you from somebody else. surely impressed by tour blog.

Ratan said...

good one

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog and i loved it!
Its worth reading :)The way you have narrated this story it's amazing seriously.
Keep going...

Anonymous said...

I am really impressed by your real story that is written with TRUE soul......nice to see U such a TRUE hearted honest person......i must wanna meet U once....from now I always wanna to read your blog pist