BITS Pilani Higher Degree Placements Part 4: Software Systems & Computer Science

From 2015 to 2016, I had the honour of serving as the first Higher Degree Placement Coordinator along with a team of the most hard working and selfless students at Bits Pilani, Pilani Campus. In this series I would be sharing tips and tricks to help the placement unit in helping you land yourself your dream job. This is the fourth article in the series which gives an insight to students appearing for Computer Science roles (CS/SS/ET) on what do placements look like from a Higher Degree student’s perspective & how to prepare for them. This article has been prepared from my session for the M.E. CS/SS Batch appearing for placements in 2017 at Bits Pilani.

The Process

1.5 million engineers graduate every year in India. Recruiters filter out students based on their institute, branch and grades after which the candidates go through a series of written tests and interviews.

The ME CS SS Campus Placement Filters

The GPA criteria is sometimes different for ME students from that of BE students so you cannot compare those. This process is not perfect and there are many claims which say interviews are not the right way to judge an employee, but that’s a topic for a group discussion (tech companies don’t have GDs so you don’t have to worry about that for now).

The Written

As of 2016, there has been a great emphasis given on Data Structures, Algorithms and Competitive Programming for written examinations. During our tenure as the placement committee around 60% of the marks weightage was towards DS/ALGO/CP.

Division of marks
  1. Time Management & Speed: More than 50% students who did not pass a written said they knew the answers but were unable to complete it due to lack of time.
  2. Take one DS/ALGO resource and make sure you complete it end to end. The best website for this is the DS section of geeksforgeeks but you can also use interviewbit. Use interviewbit if you have less time and geeksforgeeks if you want to be more thorough.
  3. Theory can be covered by just revising your GATE course material.
  4. For Aptitude go through indiabix.com (if you have less time) or R.S. Agarwal (if you want to be thorough).
  5. Collaboration is the key. If you are staying back in the summers before the placement season, form study groups and help each other prepare.

Below is the trend we observed for the difficulty level of the various domains. This is just the data for 2015–2016 placements and might be different for your batch. The line in blue shows the difficulty level — as you can see the aptitude difficulty level increases from day 0 to 1 to x while the ds/algo difficulty decreased.

The trend we observed for the difficulty level of various domains from day 0 onwards

The Interviews

It’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it.

What you say

There are five main areas where candidates are interviewed — all five are explained below. Equal weightage has been given to all since this varies greatly depending upon the interviewers and companies.

Five main areas on which candidates are iterviewed
  1. Core CS: Make sure you are good with Operating Systems, Networks and DBMS. You should be very good with at least one of the subjects (OS is the best bet). Anything else is a plus.
  2. Programming Language: You should know C (pointers!) and be well versed with any one object oriented programming language of your choice (Java / C# / C++). Anything else is a plus.
  3. Problem Solving: Know your puzzles. These are good enough.
  4. Projects: This is your area, make sure you are able to impress your interviewer with your projects. Put 3 awesome projects in different subjects in your resume, write down all possible questions on a piece of paper and revise before your interview.
  5. DS / ALGO / CP : The preparation is the same as for written.

Below is a trend we observed for the difficulty of the questions asked during interviews from day 0 onwards. For the later days, there was more focus on Core CS concepts and none of the students were asked any difficult dynamic programming questions. This might be just coincidental and might be different during your placement season.

Difficulty of questions from Day 0 onwards on different domains during our placement season. There was no relation between the day 0/1/2/3 and programming languages or projects.

How you say it

We would drill down on this in one of the later posts.

Recommended

Ankit Sood has written an excellent article describing his experience during the placement season which you should read.


Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments section, you can also connect with me on LinkedIn. Please clap and follow if you like this article!