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What’s Next Rather Than What’s Up!

                 The Computer Society of Anna University (CSAU) conducted a career guidance program for the students of CEG and ACT campuses on Tuesday (12th January, 2015). The session, titled What’s Next, was held at Room No.110 of the Science and Humanities (SnH) block. The entire framework was split into various slots with the final year students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering throwing glimpses on all aspects like placements, competitive exams like CAT, GRE, TOEFL, etc. apart from a dedicated period for the UPSC aspirants.


          The evening started off sharp at 4:30 with Ms. Shriya Sasank, who has scored 326 in GRE and 113 in TOEFL, guiding the students on how to go with the preparations for the same. One important aspect she stressed upon was time management. She stated that while the mathematical problems in the Quantitaive Aptitude section are not that difficult, adequate amount of practice must be done so as to ensure that the brain gets trained to solve the analytical questions with relative ease. When asked about TOEFL, “I prepared for four days only”, she laughed, “but that doesn’t mean everyone has to do the same. It depends upon the expertise you have with the lingua franca. While GRE tests the basic thinking abilities along with English skills, TOEFL is usually a lot easier.” She also detailed the importance of a combination of online and offline learning. While there are coaching institutes like Princeton Review, Jamboree, preparing from online materials like Magoosh give a dynamic edge to the aspirants.


          This was followed by a session on tackling the placements, which was addressed by Mr. Sundar Raman, who has been recruited by the computer giant – Microsoft. The talk was very well framed with sufficient information on each and every round of the campus interviews, but was focused only on the CSE students, because, well, it was conducted by CSAU.

          According to the speaker, the first round of the placements – the one that comprises of aptitude questions – is usually aimed at screening the people who lack in logical reasoning and analytical thinking. The concept of time management was reiterated here, urging the students to be quicker as well as precise in terms of Math. Sundar also listed websites that contain the mathematical questions, apart from a wide variety of C and C++ programs, viz. www.indiabix.com and www.geeksquiz.com.

For the second round – that deals with Coding, and coding alone – the audience were asked to surf through websites like www.leetcode.com and www.geeksforgeeks.org. In the words of Sundar Raman, “We (CSE) people at Anna University are very good at understanding the concepts of coding. What we lack is the application part, which requires practice on various types of coding problems.”

Coming to the third round, two important entities were being repeated, i.e. keeping cool and being honest. “Data Structures and Algorithms are the two subjects that require intense preparation, while being thorough in all the fundamentals like Segmentation etc. always helps”, remarked the spectacled Sundar, who stated the importance of knowing the rudimentary things in Operating Systems also. “The people in the interview panel know what a third or final year student is capable of. Hence, one need not get too worked up and tensed. Keep your head cool and be frank”, was his word of advice to the juniors.

He also provided a brief walkthrough on the points to be considered while preparing a resume. “While winning events and participating in contests may seem silly to us, they are of indescribable help. They attract the confidence of the employers to hire you”, said Sundar, while also adding that the resume must be prepared originally and plagiarism, at any cost and form, should be avoided.


Following this was the talk for the CAT aspirants, by Mr. Karthikeyan Malaisamy. He quoted various scientific discoveries like the semiconductors (which were developed in the early 1980s) that led to the formation of Microsoft (around ’85) to use the semiconductors for performing a specific task, and finally the Internet (in the 1990s) that acts as the face of today’s world. “What this implies is that there is never a fixed opportunity. So, never settle for lucrative placement offers like those from Google, Amazon, Facebook etc”, mentioned Karthikeyan, who also happens to be the President of the Quiz Club of CEG. He also quoted the famous Steve duo – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – describing that though the latter had technical prodigy, it was the managerial aspect of the former that has made Apple what it is today. He also decorated the talk with the names of famous personalities like Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, who, according to him, ‘are what they are today because of their MBA only.’ He also gave a link that would answer all the queries on how to proceed with MBA after completing undergrad in Engineering. The fields of interest being wide – varying from Operations and Marketing to Human Resources and Logistics – he urged students to aspire towards an MBA degree.


          The last session - that on the Civil Service Examinations – was handled by Mr. Aadhavan. “You can either choose to sit within the four walls of a cubicle and earn a lot without freedom, or break the barriers and come out to serve the society and people, while earning comparatively less”, started off Aadhavan, who wittingly said that he was drawn towards UPSC only by seeing Kollywood movies that depicted the IAS and IPS officers as protagonists. He quoted examples that struck a resonating chord with the students, such as the one where he told that we get angry when India loses to Australia in a cricket match. This anger magnifies to such an extent that we ourselves would want to enter the cricket field and cart the opposition for boundaries and maximums. “Such should be the intensity towards the other aspects of India also, rather than only for cricket”, he delivered. The first thing to learn, being an Indian, should always be the rights and duties of the citizens, but seldom is it done. While it is not a joke to crack the UPSC examinations, it is always a thrill to be a part of the policy making delegation or such a diverse, big nation with population pegging at around 125 crores.

Aadhavan also enlightened the students that UPSC is just not about IPS and IAS, and detailed some of the other services like IFS etc. He instigated the students to prepare the NCERT materials for strong foundation to crack the Preliminary Exams. He also pondered over the psychological aspect in choosing UPSC over placements or higher studies, because there is a dark cloud over us if we fail to clear the exams in the first attempt. “It is not necessary to start preparing from the first year, but there’s always a difference between 1 year learning and 3 year learning”, spoke Aadhavan, when asked about the ideal time for the preparations.


After this, there were also separate discussions with the aspirants of a specific aspect going over to their respective speakers to clear their doubts. Mr. Rajasekar, Student Director of CSAU, stated that this program was organised in order to make the freshers and the other juniors aware of the plethora of gateways available to them in this competitive world. “When I was a fresher, I didn’t have many people to guide me. So, I was always in a dilemma whether to go for placements or to pursue higher studies. I never want that to happen to my juniors”, he signed off.

In a nutshell, for the audience, this was an evening well spent with opinions being expressed, ideas being shared and doubts being solved. Kudos to the CSAU for organising this event.

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