Career Advice for Freshers from Indian Express’s CTO (w/ Amardeep Vishwakarma)
Here are a few important parts from the conversation between Abhay Gupta, Co-founder of Board Infinity & Coach Amardeep Vishwakarma, CTO of Indian Express.
Amardeep has over 15 years of diverse experience in Internet Technology having expertise in managing & scaling high traffic websites.
He is also proficient in delivering high-quality software/projects through a mix of software engineering, management, and technical expertise.
In this episode of “Up, The Ladder” Amardeep shared his secrets on how he was able to grow exponentially in his career & work at companies like Naukri.com, HT Media, and a lot more.
Table of Contents
- How did you start developing an interest in technology?
- Do you think your education helped you in your role at Naukri.com?
- Any advice for people who are just starting out in their careers?
- What are the fundamentals that you think early developers should focus on?
- Do you think that your college plays a HUGE role in your professional career?
Here are some parts from the interview:
Q. How did you start developing an interest in technology?
I was a very average student.
After my 12th, just like any other Indian household, my father also wanted me to pursue engineering from a good college.
I attempted the IIT exam 2–3 times & I also appeared for the NDA exam 2–3 times. I failed to qualify for both of them!
During this time, my father came across a new 3-year course in Dehradun, it was called BMIT(Bachelors in Management and Information Technology). I enrolled in this course and didn’t really take my graduation studies very seriously.
After 3 years, I continued my post-graduation(MCA) at the same college. In the 1st year of my MCA, I realized that I wasn’t headed in the right direction — to do something in my career I needed to get extremely focused on learning.
This is when I started to focus on learning more about technology and developing an interest in it. I enrolled in multiple short courses, certifications, mini-projects, etc.
I finished my post-graduation and secured a 3-month internship at a start-up in Noida. After these 3 months, I heard about a walk-in-interview call for Naukri.com and decided to go for it.
When I got to the interview location, it was like an exhibition — there were about 200–300 people who had shown up for the interview. I went through a bunch of rounds like a written test, coding, interviews, and at the end, I was the only one that got selected.
I never thought that I would be the only one to get selected at such a huge company, and this was definitely the turning point in my professional career.
Q. Do you think your education helped you in your role at Naukri.com?
Especially in the field of technology where things are constantly evolving, you need to keep educating yourself and learning new things.
I believe that education plays a very important role in your professional career. To be good at anything you need to have very strong fundamentals, and your education gives you that. I did a lot of certifications during my post graduation that helped me out a lot in my career.
One advice that I’d like to give to learners is that, don’t think twice about investing in growing your knowledge.
Q. Any advice for people who are just starting out in their career?
You need to spend a lot of time educating yourself, doing certifications, and developing new skills.
Take initiatives, and grab opportunities when you get the chance. Don’t limit yourself to a particular technology or programming language, keep adapting to the market and your environment.
After some time in my professional career, I didn’t even stop myself at technology, I tried to contribute and provide value to whichever department I could and you should be doing the same.
Another important thing is to focus on building your network. Provide value to whoever you meet and be kind to them, irrespective of whether they’re a junior or senior.
The last tip is, don’t focus on the financial aspect of things during the start of your career. Your main focus should be growing & acquiring new skills, after a point of time your income will automatically increase.
Q. What are the fundamentals that you think early-developers should focus on?
Restricting yourself to only a few technologies won’t work. We all know that technology has changed and evolved a lot in the past few years, and it will always keep changing.
There are only 3 main fundamentals that you should focus on developing:
- Problem solving skills
- Programming skills
At the early stage of your professional journey, you need to be extremely proficient at problem solving. Your programming skills should also be top-notch, irrespective of which technology you’re using. You should always have an attitude of learning, and should be able to adapt to the environment around you.
Even when we hire at our company, we’re not looking for a particular technology or programming language, we focus more on the candidate’s problem-solving skills, adaptability and programming skills.
You core concepts like OOPS, data structures, etc should also be very strong. After that, you should focus on building confidence in yourself.
Another thing that you should focus on early on in your career is identifying your strengths. You need to identify your strengths and then start building on them. It will also be a very good thing if you could get hold of some mentors in your life and learn from them.
I think focusing on these few things will give you a good headstart in your early career.
Q. Do you think that your college plays a HUGE role in your professional career?
Yes and no.
I don’t think it plays a HUGE role, but some companies do pay a lot of attention to it.
During the start of your career, there will be a few companies that only hire from specific reputed colleges. There are also many companies that won’t pay a lot of attention to your college, they focus more on the skills that the student possesses.
When you try moving to a leadership role at larger companies, they will sometimes look at your college.
At the end of the day, it will completely come down to the skills that you possess and your confidence in these skills.
Q. Any advice for freshers looking for jobs during this pandemic?
Finding the right job during these unpredictable times is tough. Many companies are cancelling interviews, doing layoffs, reducing salaries, etc to sustain their business.
Whatever the case, I think students should focus on keeping themselves motivated and not lose hope. You have to constantly keep learning & growing. The opportunity might not come now, but when it comes you need to be ready for it.
You can utilize this time to do online courses, certifications, projects, etc… This will give more weightage to your resume. Connect with likeminded people in the same space and start building your network. You never know when you might get a referral and it would lead to a job. Take remote jobs if possible, go for an internship, basically take any opportunity to learn. This will help you gain a bit of work experience.
Obviously these are very tough times and we don’t really know when things will improve, so take up any opportunity that you see some potential in.