Overstressing does more harm than good: A life lesson from Sivasankari
It is a well-known fact that ordinary people become extraordinary, because of the extra effort they are willing to put into what they love. Opportunity knocks at the door of the lucky but creates new doors for those who work hard and are persistent at what they do.
In an ode to that, here are the excerpts from an interview with Sivasankari, a final year student of Information Technology, currently doing her Internship at Microsoft in Hyderabad.
Bachelors in Information Science and Technology, Final year, College of Engineering Guindy
Interviewer: Sushrut Vinayak. K (GT)
Interviewee: Sivasankari G
GT: Working in Microsoft is a big dream for many computer engineers around the world. How did you come across this opportunity as a student?
Sivasankari: The key to joining any product-based company is competitive coding. My acceptance into Microsoft was a result of positive competitive coding.
GT: What is the period of your internship and what is the nature of work you deal with?
Sivasankari: My internship extends for 2 months. And the nature of my job is coding for compilers. In such a company, there are a variety of jobs available. There are various members working on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, but my nature of work is pure coding.
GT: Could you tell us about your experience working with Microsoft?
Sivasankari: In Microsoft, the working atmosphere is very free. No one questions you in regards to whether you work at a particular time or not. Their prime concern is whether you complete your assigned project in the time assigned. Apart from that, the period of work is very flexible.
GT: What is the best time for a student to start preparing for internships and interviews?
Sivasankari: In my personal experience, I was neither interested in coding nor did I focus on competitive coding in my first year. In my first year, I was still a NEET aspirant. In my second year, it was decided clearly that engineering was my calling and placements was inevitable. So I asked my friend to teach me C++. In my opinion, knowing what you read clearly, in an application-oriented manner is the most important aspect of preparation. Data structures are the most important aspect of placements in almost all rounds. The aura of competitive coding will spread like wildfire at the end of the second year. So, focusing on Data Structures will definitely help in most interviews.
GT: Could you give us a brief insight into the preparation methodology that you utilize?
Sivasankari: My approach to effective preparation is “not giving up”. Even if you are a beginner at it, still try to arrive at your own solution. It doesn’t matter even if your solution is not the most effective one. Do not compare your answer with the expert solution. It does not matter if they do not match. Understand that an expert would have arrived at that particular solution after almost a year of struggling with the problem. When you give your share of effort and time, you’ll see yourself doing better each day.
GT: What is one unique thing, a Microsoft employee can proclaim about?
Sivasankari: We have an amazing food court (laughs). Seriously speaking, the flexible working hour facility is something, which few companies offer. Some people are morning people, some are night people. Microsoft allows all its employees to work in their comfortable hours and there is almost no restriction for the employee at all. Moreover, Microsoft offers accommodation for its interns too.
GT: Could you give us, your juniors a few points of advice, to prepare ourselves to join such premium companies?
Sivasankari: I would like to break the stigma that “Biology students can’t code”. I am a biology student and know from experience that coding is more related to Math. It does not matter what our choice in our higher secondary education was. Our efforts at this point in our education matter more.
I’d also like to make it clear that running behind GPA and marks isn’t as important as it is believed to be. They are definitely important, but not the major criteria for selection. Know the application of each concept you learn and how to use them in every area possible.
Do not stress over anything too much. Do not worry over the interns too much. Being calm will enable you to do much better in interviews. Most companies will help you if you express your knowledge in the field. Do not get tensed. More you panic, more are the chances to mess up. So, just remain calm.
The Guindy Times thanks Sivasankari for providing so many valuable insights to help students and wishes her many more successful endeavours in the future!