The First Engineer In My Family

I’m the first engineer in my family.

As a boy from Nashik, getting a job at one of the world’s top investment banking companies seems like a dream come true but the journey has not been easy. Little was known to me or those around me in those days about the right educational path.

I remember, at one point, I thought I’d be pursuing a diploma after the 10th standard, and then, I felt I would take up commerce. In hindsight, taking up science was perhaps my good fortune. But the struggle didn’t end with diligently studying what was being taught and scoring well in the 12th boards.

When it was time for competitive exams, the realization dawned. The whole idea of getting into IITs and NITs of the world was not even something we were aware of. I managed to get in at a government-run college in Aurangabad. The combined marks weren’t good enough to get me into the much sought-after mechanical stream, and that was perhaps the second time I got lucky with what I got.

I chose information technology engineering.

While the first year was largely spent on learning the basics, it was only after the second semester when I got my first phone and was exposed to the internet that I realized I needed to take things in my own hands to get somewhere.

My best friend in college started self-learning and practising on platforms such as Codechef at that point, and so I joined in. When I look back, if we weren’t self-starters then, getting here would have been impossible. A few of us started learning C through external classes and that then became the first programming language that I properly got a hold of.

Was that enough? Not really.

The placement scene seemed pretty dismal and the two of us — my best friend and I — we started preparing for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) as we felt a masters degree at a reputed institution will help. While my friend managed to crack it, I didn’t but somehow, I bagged a decent job at an IT-services company.

That was never the aim and I’d probably have attempted GATE again if not for Scaler Academy.

Joining Scaler Academy

While I had come across InterviewBit earlier, the whole thing about this extensive course plus the help with placements seemed new. Despite initial hesitation when I had no idea about the pay-after-placement model, I placed my faith in Scaler.

A friend joined first and though I wasn’t able to get through in that batch, I heard good things about it from him, and tried again. This time, I succeeded. Before all of this, I had come across talks from Abhimanyu and Anshuman sir as well as some of the mentors, so I had a fair idea of what to expect.

The curriculum told us that we would learn so much more than we did after four years of engineering, and the referral was a value addition that people like me would never be able to get anywhere else. I was also enamoured by the fact that we would become part of such a vibrant, talented community. It felt like a platform where we would finally have an equal chance to work hard and reach our aspirations despite not being from the best of tier-I colleges. It helped in largely democratizing the playing field.

For me, personally, the best thing that Scaler did was provide a structure to follow when it came to learning what I needed to succeed at the highest level. I have always been eager to learn but with this course, the opportunity was to put things in perspective and fill the necessary gaps at the right time.

“Knew it would come in handy someday”

I started solving problems daily, worked hard to try and stay among the top scorers in my batch but it was never because I thought topping would help me land a great job. It was because I had begun to enjoy the process. I always knew it would come in handy someday.

Coming from a tier-III college, what also sometimes happens is that while we have the potential and the willingness to work hard, the confidence is lacking. Scaler helped a lot with that. In the first few mentor sessions with Kushal sir, I would be dismal at solving problems. The problems that I would otherwise breeze through on my own, I would stumble while solving them in front of him.

But his patience and constant backing helped me get over those jitters and things got better. Even something as simple as Abhimanyu sir or Anshuman sir being available for a chat whenever we wanted infused a lot of confidence and belief. Their humility despite being where they are served as great inspiration.

Reading my story and seeing such an end may seem heartwarming to a lot of people now but the journey was fraught with challenges. And this has taken the backing and support of more than a few.

I recently bagged two job offers — one from Ajio and the other, as earlier mentioned, from Credit Suisse. Apart from those already mentioned, I’d also like to thank every single person at Scaler who believed in me throughout.

If I look back, I now believe all those challenges made me who I am, and there is nothing I would do differently. The experience will always be something I’d cherish.

Software Engineer at Credit Suisse. Passionate about programming, data structures and algorithms.