My Journey of breaking into the world of Tech!

Nistha Gupta
Codess.Cafe
Published in
11 min readJan 24, 2022

Hi everyone! I am Nistha Gupta, a final year undergrad pursuing B.Tech in Information Technology from MAIT, Delhi (GGSIPU). I have recently received offers from Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, Walmart Global Tech, and BrowserStack. I will be citing my journey and Interview experiences through this article!

Background:

As there were not many on-campus opportunities, I decided to look for off-campus ones. Honestly, it was a roller coaster ride with many hurdles in the path. Getting an Online Assessment (OA) link and an Interview call were two of the most difficult things.

For off-campus, a resume matters a lot. I learned about this in my 1st year from my seniors and mentors. So I started coding from the 1st year itself and tried hands-on development (Machine Learning in my case). Due to all these constant efforts, I was able to grab a few good internships during my 2nd and 3rd year. These internships gave a boost to my resume. I kept preparing as internship season was near. I kept doing DSA continuously, brushing up CS fundamentals, and giving coding contests.

Then came the internship season & I began applying off-campus. I have faced many rejections. Even after solving all the questions, I wasn’t getting interview calls which demotivated me a lot. However, I kept on applying and approaching recruiters to ask if they have any open positions or can consider me for internal hiring, and give my best!

Morgan Stanley: (October 2020 — January 2021)

I applied to Morgan Stanley for the off-campus hiring in August. Soon, I received the OA link. I appeared for the OA in September.

After a month, there comes the D day! I received a call from a Morgan Stanley recruiter that I had cleared the OA, and they would like to schedule my 1st round of interviews the next day. This came as a surprise to me as I had already given up the hope of receiving an interview call. After all, it had been over a month. The 1st round was a technical interview. It was my 1st interview with an MNC so I was very nervous. Overall, it was a great experience for me. I gave my best. The next day, I received a call for round 2. It was a technical+HR interview round.

After around 1.5 months, I received a congratulatory email stating that I’ve cleared the interviews and got a 2 month SDE internship. Finally, all my hard work paid off. It was a dream come true moment!

Click here to know more about my Morgan Stanley Interview experience!

Microsoft: (Feb 2021 — March 2021)

I used to apply for many open positions and had applied to Microsoft as well. However, after I got my selection mail from Morgan Stanley, I started celebrating and almost forgot about other applications :P

Suddenly out of nowhere, I received the OA link from Microsoft for a CSA Summer Internship. I was unable to recall when I applied for it. I then appeared for the OA. There were 3 DSA questions and it was on the platform Mettl. It went well and I received an interview call. All I had was 1 week, so I revised all my notes and did everything I could to prepare.

I sat for Round 1. It was one of my best interviews, and I was pretty sure that I would be getting a call for Round 2. I began preparing for the next round from the same day and soon received the next interview invite.

Altogether, there were 4 interview rounds:

Round 1 & 2 (Technical Round): These mainly revolved around DSA, CS fundamentals, general questions based on my profile, and a few questions on Cloud. In the 2nd technical interview, I also discussed designing a storage system based on Cloud.

Round 3 (Hiring Manager Round): I was asked to design a system based on Machine Learning principles and a few more questions based on my projects and how can I add more features to them and related to previous internships.

Round 4 ( HR Round): It mainly revolved around leadership questions and culture at Microsoft.

After a week, I received the selection mail. I was on cloud nine for grabbing another Summer Internship. The entire process took around a month.

The recruiters at Microsoft were so nice. It was one of the best experiences for me! 💙

Summer Internships and PPOs:

I was worried about PPO (Pre-placement offer), so I continuously kept on doing coding and learning System Design throughout my internship. This eventually proved helpful for the PPO interviews. PPO interviews were technical and consisted of DSA, CS fundamentals, and System Design (Usually similar to the ones I had for grabbing the internship). The number of interview rounds usually depends on the manager’s feedback.

Because of the difference in timelines, I completed both of my internships back-to-back and received PPO offers from both Microsoft and Morgan Stanley. Both my internships had technical interviews for the PPO towards the end of the internship.

It was a lifetime experience for me and one of the best summers I’ve ever had. I learned and worked on different tech stacks, networked with many amazing people, and got full-time offers before the placement season started, which boosted my confidence significantly.

After I got the PPO from both my dream companies, I made a list of the companies I wanted to apply for full-time and started looking for a decent 6-month internship.

Walmart: (OA in July 2021 and Interviews in Oct 2021)

Walmart used to hire only on-campus but luckily, this time they had a hiring competition on the D2C platform named Codehers in July. I decided to appear for it.

They had 2 OA rounds: The first one had 25 MCQ questions to be solved and the second one consisted of DSA coding questions.

I cleared both the OA rounds and was eagerly waiting to hear back from them. They mentioned that the interviews would begin later this year.

In September, we were asked whether we would be interested in a 6-month SWE internship with Walmart Global Tech. I replied to this in the affirmative. I then received an interview invite in October. Interviews were a 1-day process at Walmart. Yes, you read that right! This was the fastest process I had ever seen. I had back-to-back interviews.

Interview Process:-

Round 1(Technical): It included questions based on DSA, CS fundamentals, Machine Learning & Azure (as it was mentioned in my resume).

Round 2 (Hiring Manager Round): It involved a few technical questions based on my profile, followed by leadership questions.

After I was done with the final round, in about 30 mins I received the selection mail stating that they would like to offer me a 6-Month Internship.

Woohoo! 😍 Another celebration time!

BrowserStack: (Sept 2021 — Oct 2021)

Though I was applying to MNCs, I wanted to experience working at a Startup/ Unicorn. BrowserStack sounded like the perfect fit. Hence, I applied for SWE 6-month internship via referral.

The 1st round was an OA consisting of 3 DSA questions. On the same day, I received an email that I had cleared the OA and would be receiving an interview call soon. I started searching about the process and preparing for it.

Soon, I received the call and got to know that the 1st round will be the Machine Coding round. I had never appeared for something like this before due to which I was a bit nervous about this.

Interview Process:-

Round 1 (Machine Coding Round): It included one real-time application-based question and I can code it in any of my preferred development languages. I was given 2 hours for the same. It involved live coding followed by an explanation of my solution (code walkthrough) and running it on different edge cases. Each edge case had a certain score.

Round 2 (Technical): This round was with an Engineering manager which involved technical questions based on my profile. I was asked questions about system design and to design a feature in Twitter and Instagram based on database design principles.

Round 3 (HR round): It involved leadership questions and general questions about the profile and culture at BrowserStack.

After 4 days, I got a call stating that I’ve successfully cleared all the rounds and they would like to extend a 6-month Internship.

Yayy moment!! 🥳

I feel you all have seen enough of my success journey. It was not as easy as it sounds. I would like to take this opportunity and share with you the darker side i.e. when I got rejected from my dream company “Google”.

Google: (Aug 2021 — Sept 2021)

In August, I applied for a 6-month SWE internship at Google via a referral.

In September, I received an email from the recruiter at Google that I’ve passed Resume Screening and was eligible for the onsite interviews. She mentioned that there would be 2 Coding interviews both of which were eliminatory. I had to choose interview slots. I was super excited and nervous at the same time.

I was continuously interning for the past 4 months and somewhat lost my hands-on DSA. So, I was a bit stressed as I only had 5 days to prepare. This was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to lose. I left no stones unturned and did everything I could. I slept only for 3–4 hours a day and spent the whole 5 days preparing.

What was my strategy?

As I had limited time, I had to plan wisely about what to study and what not to.

I talked to some of my friends from other colleges where Google visited on campus. I asked them about their experiences and read many articles online. It was pretty clear after some research that they asked medium-hard level questions (Mostly DP and Graphs).

I started doing DP and Graphs questions rigorously and also solved many Google tagged questions. On the 5th day, I was 80% confident as I had already solved more than 60–70 questions of Medium-Hard level. I also gave a few mock interviews to avoid silly mistakes.

Interview Process:

Round 1 (45 mins Coding Interview): I was asked 2 coding questions based on Binary Search and DP of medium difficulty. I solved both of them with optimal time and space complexity and explained the solution thoroughly.

Round 2 (45 mins Coding Interview): There was just a 15 mins gap between both my interview rounds. In round 2, I was asked 2 coding questions again of medium-hard difficulty. I can’t exactly mention the data structure but you can consider it as a somewhat modified Linked List with some extra parameters. I coded both the solutions before time with optimal time and space complexity and explained it well.

I was satisfied with my performance from both the interviews and was expecting a positive result. Soon, I received the mail from my recruiter to send her my updated resume and transcripts. My packet was then sent to the Hiring Committee for the final decision.

After a long wait of 1.5 months, I finally received the rejection mail :( I was stunned and disappointed at the same time! I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I requested my recruiter for feedback but couldn’t get it. I tried to self-analyze my performance and also asked a few of my friends and seniors regarding possible loopholes but couldn’t figure it out.

Maybe hard luck this time. I will prepare better and bounce back stronger next time! I was happy to get a chance to interview with Google and reach the last stage i.e. Hiring Committee.

What did I learn from this?

You can get rejected even after you feel you did well, so better stop expecting too much!

“When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for rejections.” -Ryan Reynolds.

This was all about my journey till now. I’ll soon be starting my 6-month internship with one of these companies.

You can find some of the resources and repositories which I used during my preparation on my GitHub.

Key Takeaways:

  • Never get disappointed with rejections. I’ve also faced many rejections. The journey was not as easy as it looks. Keep preparing, and one day you’ll surely reach heights you never imagined.
  • If you feel demotivated, changing your social group or peers you look up to, can help. Being with more successful people gives you enough motivation to achieve your dreams and a correct pathway.
  • A good resume and an impressive LinkedIn profile help a lot. Also, if you are from the 1st or 2nd year, try to participate in different hackathons and coding competitions. This will boost your profile. Also, interning at startups or companies will help you develop your skills and utilize your time wisely.
  • If you’re from Tier-3 or higher, never doubt your ability to get into PBC or well-paying firms, saying this as I was one of them. Believe in yourself, have faith in your abilities. Nothing can stop you!
  • The off-campus process takes time, sometimes even 3 – 4 months to roll out the offer so always stay patient.
  • Try to find good mentors or seniors who can guide you wisely. If you can be a part of some good community or a mentorship program, it is highly beneficial. I’m a part of Codess.Cafe led by Aarnav Jindal sir. It helps me a lot. I met many great minds there and they also conduct mock interviews.
  • You can opt for any paid/unpaid course, try it for some time, see if it makes a difference, else try out other tutorials. Value your time. Do not cram up solutions as ultimately, it won’t help. If you feel like trying out other courses, go ahead. It will pay you in the long run.
  • Never self reject yourself, rather apply and let others reject you — You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

P.S: Above all are my personal opinions. They worked for me, so I wanted to share them in case they can help you!

Good Luck with your interviews!

Keep learning…!

Do comment and clap if you liked the article and follow Codess.Cafe. In case of any queries, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn and Twitter. I would be more than happy to help you :)

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Nistha Gupta
Codess.Cafe

Microsoft Intern'21 | Former SDE Intern @Morgan Stanley'21 | Tech enthusiast