Many fresh graduates ask me how to proceed with their career, which technology to work on etc. Depending upon one's area of interest and expertise the answer may swing to many different directions. The competition now is insane compared to five years back. If you are not careful enough during the initial years, you may end up losing your precious time and energy in vain. In this article I will discuss different routes a fresh graduate can take to have a rewarding career.
Do you love to be on the line of Fire
Once I met an old friend here in Bangalore. We met in a pizza store and the conversation went in the direction of work and Job satisfaction. He was cursing his life and was telling me how much work he has to do each day. Weekends are like dreams for him. He has to stay late each day. Most of the production releases are on Friday which most of the time gets extended to Saturday ruining his weekend.
I can't be more agree with him as the same thing happened to me before 3 years. I was working in a mid-level MNC and structure of all mid-level MNCs are more or less same. The quality of work in most of the projects were very bad.
Most of the developers working on the project, did not have any idea about space and time complexity of their algorithms. They were writing code to just solve the purpose.
If you are stuck in a support job, you are going to lose precious time of your career without gaining anything and you will always be on the line of fire.
Resist your Temptation
Most of the graduates are in a hurry to join a software firm and earn on their own. Resist this temptation. Think about the long term goals. Think about what you would love to be doing after 5 years. But the answer is not very easy.
I am the perfect example to prove that the answer is indeed very difficult. I did my B.E in Electronics and Communication. Why ? Because our teachers and mentors in 12th grade were telling us about how rewarding your career can be in this field.
I myself did not do any exploration before taking up Electronics and Communication. I graduated in Electronics and Communication with a love - hate relationship. I then joined a mid-level MNC right after my graduation and was wondering about how great my life have become.
But soon I realized that it's not like what it seemed to be. I was at first put in a support job and after about 1 year I was doing some development work and that was also not of very high quality.
Till this time I forgot everything about Electronics. I slowly became interested in Computer Science and thought of applying for GATE to do my Masters in Computer Science. I self taught myself all the subjects of Computer Science and I was using GATEFORUM materials for my preparations. I was a bit skeptical being from a non CS background but GATEFORUM really helped me to boost up my confidence. I scored an AIR 215 in GATE and did my masters from IIT Guwahati.
And now I am a Research Engineer in Xerox Research Centre India. The word Electronics and Communication is only there in my Graduation certificate now.
- Be careful and and extremely skeptical in your initial years.
- You will get quality work only by joining quality firms.
- Even if you have quality and talent, it will take you very long to reach the same spot if you have not graduated from a premier Institute like IIT as almost all the Top companies select candidates who have graduated from only premier institutes.
Big Question - What is so fascinating about the premier Institute like IIT?
There are two answers to this question.
First Answer - There is nothing so fascinating about these premier Institutes. Most of the teachers who were teaching us did not know the basics of the course. All of the members of our class studied from video lectures of some other Institutes. We had a subject Linear Algebra. The teaching was very hopeless and most of us attended the class so that we don't miss the surprise quizes. we also struggled to find good material online.
To our relief, a friend found the great lectures of Gilbert Strang who was also the author of the book we were following. The lectures were so easy to follow. We wondered why the teachers cannot prepare themselves by doing their homework by following such lectures which are available online for free.
I used my personal laptop for all the assignments and projects. I went to Lab only for my Robotics project as it was a group project. I never borrowed a single book from Library during my two years MTech course. I studied using the eBooks available online and scored a CGPA 8.78
So, if I can study all subjects using online materials and not using any facility of the institute what was the use of studying there. Here comes the second answer.
Second Answer - The institute showed me what are the latest emerging technology that people have been working on. We had guest lectures and we knew the latest trend. It forced me to self teach myself in a limited deadline which tremendously increased my learning speed. In the last year of my MTech, I was working for 15 hours a day to complete my project on time under the guidance of the great Gautam Barua sir.
And last but most importantly it will give you a certificate that you have graduated from IIT and this certificate will open all the gates that were previously closed.
My advice for fresh Graduates
- Don't be in a hurry to join a job as soon as you have graduated.
- Try to do your masters from a premier Institute to get the certificate which will open all the closed gates and you will reach your goal faster.
- Always prefer quality of work over the Company. If you do good quality work, sooner or later you will definitely get recognized.
What are the types of work you can pursue ?
This is the most Important question. There are many different fields available for you in the software field.I will go through them one by one.
If you are interested in developing web pages and back end technologies then you can pursue a career in web development. You can chose from a variety of frameworks depending upon the language of your interest.
Following are to name a few -
- Python and Django
- Ruby and Rails
Before choosing the framework, you should have a good understanding of HTML and CSS and Bootstrap. Bootstrap is amazing to create front ends very quickly. Here is a series of articles that I have written regarding How to create a blog from scratch using Bootstrap and Django. There are many freelancer jobs available in this field. You can just sit at home and work online and earn a good amount of money.
Mobile App development
If you are interested in developing mobile applications, you can learn app development in Android or IOS. App development is very easy. There are plenty of resources available online to get you started. I prefer android-eclipse-bundle as my development environment for Android.
Research in Machine Learning
My current work in XRCI is mainly on research in Machine Learning fields. We use many machine learning tools for our research work. Scikit learn is a very handy tool for beginners to get started with machine learning. I have written an article on How to get started with Machine learning.
Machine learning is huge. So, I would advice you to first explore this field to pick a topic in which you are really interested and then go for your Phd.
Data Storage Research
I can't express how much I loved my MTech project. I worked on really low level nitty-gritty of of Linux ext3 File System. I have infact added a new module in ext3 File System. If you want to work on low level data structures like Linux kernel and right away dive into the fascinating complexity of such system, this is the field for you.
Apart from theses options you can explore many more fields that excite you. But always try to focus on your long term goals as early as possible. Best of luck. You can leave your queries in the comment section.
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