Meet 20 year old Coding behemoth, Aquib Ajani, who will find you and teach you to code!
The MyCaptain Web Development Workshop has been going on for almost 3 years now and we have mentored hundreds of students. On our journey so far we have met amazing young talent and achievers. One of them is Aquib Ajani, who it seems, was born with the love for mentoring. He has mentored more than 100 Web Development students so far, has been rated highest on our MyCaptain platform by our mentees more than once, and is rocking the show with his brand new MyCaptain Coder’s Pack!
In short, Aquib is on fire.
We interviewed him and got to know about what his views on Programming, Engineering, and Coding as a Passion are.
Q) Hi Aquib! What inspired you to get into Web Development? What was the starting point?
To be very frank, I am the kind of guy who can spend 24 hours a day with my laptop and not get bored. I am also the kind of guy who mostly gets good marks and people always judge me as being the ‘teacher’s favourite’ (laughs)
I’m from a Computer Science background, meaning I took CS as the main subject after my 10th grade and aced everything. I also scored a 10 point GPA in my first semester here in VIT University, Vellore, where I am currently pursuing my M. Tech Software Engineering(5 years integrated program) and am in my 3rd year right now.
I probably am one of the very few people who are actually happy about taking a Software Engineering course in college.
I got introduced to coding in general in class 7th, where we were taught basic HTML. What triggered the interest in me was the fact that I was making something new, out of absolute nothing. I mean, we start from a blank text document and end up creating an awesome website/application. Thus, because it was pure interest, codes came naturally. I never really had much trouble getting outputs in the lab classes and all that kept me going.
During class 12th, we had to make a project as a part of the curriculum, which was to be judged by an external examiner. And, a friend and I took a very big risk and decided to develop the popular ‘Snakes and Ladders’ game, using only C++. The tough part was that we were not taught graphics in the curriculum, so it took a lot of effort, and about 3 months, to actually write the entire code. But then, when the game finally executed successfully, without any major issues(because things can never be a 100% perfect in code :P), we were super happy about it. The examiner also said that it was one of the best projects he had ever seen from a class 12th student.
That further inspired me to choose Software Engineering as the stream that I am currently pursuing. So far, I have taken part in 2 hackathons, and won both of them. I have developed 3 websites which are online right now, with a few more still under development.
To be very honest, I am not exactly sure about what my passion is, yet. I am still working on figuring it out. But, one thing that I am sure of, is that it is somewhere related to technology, coding in particular. The thing is, coding is a very vast term, and that is what excites me. I am still exploring all the possibilities in the field and I hope I’ll find what it exactly is soon!
Q) Can you tell us about some of the StartUps you have worked with, or any cool Projects that you have worked on?
Ok, so there are 4 startups that I have worked with, so far.
The first project, with www.chalkstreet.com, was about developing content for online technical courses. We got a mail from the college saying that such a startup is looking for people who could help develop courses for them. And the funny thing is that I was in my very first year, in 2nd semester. I was interested in the project but when I talked to a few of my friends, they told me to sit back and enjoy college life. They said I’ll get a lot of time to work after I graduate. But, despite of that, I ended up replying to the mail simply because they did not mention any age limit. They just wanted people who knew something good enough that it could be taught to others. After the first round, they told me to send a few sample videos, which I managed to record somehow despite of being in a 4-bed room. They liked the samples and that ultimately led to the creation of my first ever online course, on C++.
However, I am particularly excited about the latest project, called the Coder’s Pack, which bundles 4 different languages(C, C++, Java and Python) into a single workshop. I am looking forward to the response on this one.
Next in the list is a startup called ProUp, which is a Nagpur-based, Digital Marketing Startup, where I interned as a Web Developer. Owing to my work , we worked on creating another online courses platform, called courses.proup.in. However, I wasn’t able to complete it in my tenure with them and as far as I know, they are still working on it.
Third in the list is a bunch of different ideas, which I am still working on with a few friends. I am bundling them together because we haven’t registered the startup, yet. These are ideas spread across multiple fields, including Fashion(for which we won the finals in Eagles Nest Startup competition, organised by MHRD, in Bangalore), Books and Literature, among others. We are planning to register soon.
And finally, I got the opportunity to work with The Climber, which is the most recent project. I have been mentoring the Web Dev workshop for 6 months now, and the experience has been amazing. However, I am particularly excited about the latest project, called the Coder’s Pack, which bundles 4 different languages(C, C++, Java and Python) into a single workshop. I am looking forward to the response on this one.
Q) What do you think about Engineers and jobs related to Coding in India? What’s the scope, and what are the pros and cons?
Honestly, the biggest problem in the entire ‘technical education’ domain, is the lack of good teachers. Don’t agree? Let me justify.
Most of those students, who know proper coding, get amazing offers and join the MNC’s.
The ones who are average in coding, also get placed in other reputed firms.
Even the ones with little or no knowledge of coding, are recruited by these companies who first train them and then allot them the same work.
I mean, these days, irrespective of what branch/stream you are in, if you sit for placements, you are bound to end up working for an IT firm.
Hence, after all of this, there is hardly anybody left to take the job of a teacher. Especially the students who know the subject properly.
Thus, at the end of the day, most of our faculties, in a normal scenario, are over the age of 40 and are hardly aware of the latest developments taking place in the industry.
Another issue which aids this is that the syllabus which is being taught at present was designed some 20 years ago, and doesn’t keep up with these developments.
Also, it would only be fair if I say that it is definitely not the fault of the Engineers, and neither is it the fault of companies, nor that of the system. It is the combination that’s not working well together. And thus, something needs to change. In fact, I recently highlighted this very issue in one of my articles, where I mentioned the changing trends in the IT industry and how it affects the Engineers — https://medium.com/@theclimber_ind/realitycheck-engineering-and-a-career-in-the-it-industry-engineers-are-in-trouble-81e11615996e
Coming to the scope, Web Dev, as is obvious, is a compulsory subject in every single institution in the world which offers a Software Engineering or a Computer Science Degree.
There are also a lot of online courses available on the topic. You can easily find courses ranging from 1-hour of content to 6-months of content, on the same topic, Web Dev.
If we talk about Web Development in particular, the number of opportunities available out there is enormous. Specially, with the way in which the term ‘startup’ is picking up, there is infinite potential. I mean, today, every single business, be it in the startup phase or an established company, needs a website.
If, on the other hand, we talk about coding in general, the opportunities are far more in number. This is primarily because the amount of technical-dependency in increasing day by day and more and more businesses are adopting software and applications to smoothen their business processes.
Q) How has your experience as a mentor of the MyCaptain program been? How many students do you think you must have mentored so far?
The experience as a mentor has been absolutely fantastic, to say the least. The opportunity to interact with new people every month is something which is unique and helps me grow as a person, constantly.
I have mentored roughly 120 mentees so far and I am really happy with the kind of efforts they have put it to get to learn the concepts being taught and the tasks they are supposed to do.
A few of them have been in constant touch post-workshop and have been sharing their ideas with me. Their ideas are amazing and they are working on those as we speak.
I wish them all the best and hope they succeed in everything they do in the future.
Q) Finally, do you have any tips or advice for young students interested and passionate in Web Development?
Yes, just two simple things :
1. Mindset -> Now I know this might sound very cliché, but this is the most fundamental problem which persists in the society we live in. The fact that we are more bothered about what others will think about us is very disturbing.
Instead, what we should be worried about is whether we are happy and content with what we are doing. We have countless examples from all possible careers that we can think of, be it writing, poetry, singing, dancing, anchoring, where people who were nobody became superstars.
The thing we, and especially our parents, need to understand is, that in today’s world, it is very easy to make money.
The tough part, however, is making money doing what we love to do.
“Kyunki, agar log kya sochte hai ye bhi hum hi sochenge, to log kya sochenge!?”
So, stop bothering about what others think, and start doing what you have always dreamt of.
2. Persistence -> Now that we have the parents and the society figured out, the next challenge is to ensure that we are up for the giant leap of faith that we are about to take. I mean, there is no point being stubborn about something that you want to do just for the sake of doing it. There has to be a bigger motive behind it. We need to understand the fact that if we say we want to pursue a particular passion, then we take this responsibility seriously and take ownership. There is no point being a rebel without a specific purpose. As Varun Agrawal, the founder of Alma Mater, said, “Being a rebel is not about bunking college, wearing torn jeans, fighting with your parents, screaming that society sucks etc . Being a rebel is getting down to doing what you believe in, putting in hours of hard work, taking crazy risks and inspiring people to follow your path. Being a rebel is not cool. It’s boring with lots of hard work.”
So, if and only if we are ready to put in the insane amount of time and efforts required, can miracles happen.
Oh also, since I am getting this one opportunity to give an advice, I would like to highlight a very important ideology, which I follow personally, and which I believe is what is missing in today’s context.
“I believe it is imperative that we stay a part of a system throughout before we start judging or commenting on the system.”
For example, as I mentioned already, I am literally the kind of guy who scores good marks and whom everybody judges as being the teacher’s favorite, but, that does not at any point means that I am 100% in favor of the present educational system, or a 100% against the system either, for that matter.
But, then again, before commenting on any of the flaws, or even the plus points, I think it is only fair that I complete my 5 years of education(since it is an integrated course), doing what they expect me to do, see the final result, and then start judging and forming opinions about the system.
What I am trying to say is that we have been led to something that Simon Sinek refers to as “Instant Gratification”, which, in simpler terms means that in the so-called ‘modern’ society, we want everything to happen quickly.
Let me give you a very simple example. If we post a profile picture online, we want everyone to like it at that very moment. I mean, I literally know people who keep a count of how much time it takes to reach 100 likes and then compare it with the time taken when they post a picture the next time. Now, if I take the exact same logic and apply it to something as important as ‘getting a degree’, we want that to happen quickly as well. The point that I am trying to make here is, everything takes time. And it is imperative we experience certain things the way they are supposed to be experienced. It is essential that we attend a compulsory event on a holiday only because we have a story to tell everyone else at a later point in time. It is imperative that we bunk that one class and go on lunch with friends because that makes our bonds stronger and then, when you need that friend to be by your side at a later stage, they will definitely be there.
So, again, I believe it is imperative that we stay a part of a system throughout before we start judging or commenting on the system. We need to give in the required time and effort to reap the best we possibly can, in any give scenario.
I have been applying this exact logic in most of the other parts of life, and it has worked fabulously for me, and I would love to share the same from your platform.