In conversation with Kshitij Goel
Kshitij Goel, Aerospace Engineering, Agra. I have been an intern at the Nicro Aerial Vehicle Lab at IIT Kanpur during the summer after second year and at Robust Adaptive Systems Lab (RASL) at the Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University during the third year summer. I have done several projects in the area of aircraft design and aerial/underwater robotics. Two of them are Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, where I was a team lead and the Boeing Project where I was the student lead. I am looking to make a career in Aircraft Design and Aerial Robotics (especially Multi-agent systems). Both are pretty disconnected from each other, but I have taken courses in computer science as well so I am well versed with the pre-requisite knowledge to enter both the areas.
How did you get interested into aerospace and eventually coding/robotics?
My interest has been in autonomous aerial systems from the very beginning when I joined the institute. I realized this very early that computer engineering (not computer science, there is a difference) is pretty essential to most of the work that I want to do in unmanned aerial systems. So, I started taking some additional curriculum in computer engineering and at the same time maintained a strong interest in aerospace dynamics and control.
Where did you learn the basics from?
Coursera and edX mostly. I have taken very relevant elective and additional courses in KGP and most of them have shaped my knowledge in my interest area. Of course some additional googling and hacking around is required to really master it.
What was the turning point in your learning journey where you realized you are really into it?
I made a 32 kg underwater robot bounce out of water, automatically.
Anytime did you feel like giving up on coding and picking something else?
Yeah, when I was not able to make AUV team work. Yes, felt like it but at the same time around some seniors counseled me and I was back up. AUV team now works on a fantastic level.
Can you explain different areas of coding to a fresher?
I am not a good coder. I am good at the math that goes into making a robot intelligence. Very basic C++ coding is required to do this, for which tutorials are there on YouTube.
What advice would you give to a 1st year from non-CS branch interested in coding?
Make friends with CS people.
What advice would you give to a 2nd year from non-CS branch interested in coding?
Assuming you already have CS friends, compete with them in every possible programming competition around.