In May 2018, I finally completed my Bachelors in Computer Engineering. Four Years came to an end, and I still can’t believe it. I am now an Engineer.
As a Computer Engineer, I have done some pretty wacky things during my Studies. From late night Coding, participating in 48-hour Hackathons to cramming those Computer Architecture theories a day before exams. It’s been one hell of an adventure. During my High School, I had fun coding in C and Scripting Languages, that lead me to take up Computer for Bachelors. Also, subjects like Electronics & Mechanics really went over my head, It was more because of my disinterest towards the difficult subjects mentioned that I decided to go for Computers which undoubtedly is considered an easier stream. Everyone seems to be taking this field, in fact, students in branches like EC and Mech are opting for CS/IT Positions, which is not at all fair.
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my tips and insights on enhancing your Programming and Development skills. As a Final Year Student, many of my juniors used to come to me asking for advice, This post is for all of them.
“I think everybody in the country should learn how to program a Computer because it teaches you how to think” — Steve Jobs
Be Passionate about your work
This motto helps not just in your career, but in any venture, you take up. You can spend your entire day looking for a solution to the problem, and you won’t get it… It’s frustrating. All the coders out there will agree with me, Coding can be messy and can drive you crazy. It’s so obvious to give up, most of them do. But have patience, and Fight On. Sit there, apply Logic and try out various solutions that come up in your mind.
If you are passionate about it, you’ll never find it exhausting; you’ll enjoy the process of trying again and again. Passion doesn’t come from just saying, you have to spend enough time understanding the abstruse concepts and theories and how they relate with each other. The more you work on your skills, the better you would be at anything you do. Specifically to be better at Coding, one needs dedicated practice and a Logical approach applied over the long period of time.
Exams can be Fun too
I say it’s possible. As an Engineering Student, you spend 4 out of 5 months of your semester draining your time, bunking classes, eating out and Watching latest movies. It’s probably in the last 15 days that one gets the real feeling of Exams, which is perfectly fine according to me. There are some nerdy students who spend months cramming each line of the book for finals, I don’t think the approach is just the right one. A Future Engineer is expected to know practical Implementation of the Theory and just not the conceptual knowledge. It’s crucial to connect the dots. Attempting to understand how Operating Systems are related to Computer Architectures, should be more important than just getting A in both the subjects, without having no real knowledge of both whatsoever.
Trust me, marks don’t matter in the end, It’s the knowledge you have. Once you have it, Exams will be pretty darn Fun. In fact, I liked giving exams, undoubtedly even I had crammed, but it wasn’t that tough, ‘coz I understood everything well. Habituate yourself with having a positive attitude for exams.
Don’t be scared to experiments
Be Weird and Experiment. Don’t be afraid. Spend nights making a website for your Cat, deploy it. Haha, pretty embarrassing, but you’ll learn greatly in the process. Bunk your classes, spend time in Library, Carry your Laptop everywhere, Try your hand at Photoshop, Do online Courses, and share your experience with your friends.
Online Courses, in particular, have helped me so much. From Machine Learning, AI, Data Analytics to Courses on Confidence building, I spend so much time learning from these MOOCs, which no real institute would have been able to give me. Join a MOOC, learn @ Home.
Have Good ‘Tech’ times
Make your own Tech Squad and Develop. Coding can actually isolate a person from all their friends due to overindulgence in the work. In such cases, a group of friends who share a common interest can help to tackle this problem. I had my very own Group, we used to take up freelancing Projects, participate in Hackathons, Share news about latest advances in the Industry. We were earning as well as enjoying at the same time.
One person’s work in the group motivated others, and the end it helped each one of us to recognize our strong and weak points. I remember an incident when me and my friends blew all our times strolling around the campus in the evening and then at midnight got back to work, stayed awake whole night, for we had the deadline the very next morning. It’s these memories that’ll stay with you. These happenings make friendship bonds stronger.
Have an Internet Presence
This one does matter for a long run. So I joined GitHub in my 2nd Year, and ever since I have been truly fascinated with it. How people from the whole world are contributing to this Open Source Community. There is a special heatmap on each user’s profile page, which indicates his/her contribution and work in the past one year in shades of Green. It’s a great platform to share your own work with everyone, Code versioning, Maintenance, and Recovery. As a Computer Student, everyone MUST know how to use it.
I took up the challenge of contributing each day to my repositories, this not only drove me to work but at the end of 2.5 Years, I have a pretty strong Account with 50+ repositories on my Profile, which in a way is a proof of my continuous involvement in development tasks.
Keep Calm and Meditate
Yes, I Meditate. My parents have been a part of the Art Of Living Community for 10 years now, which dragged me into it. I am so grateful that I learned to meditate, it makes me feel lighter and keep me motivated all the time. Struggling with your Life problems can be daunting, being Strong and courageous is difficult during tough times, one needs to take that leap and trust in their inner ability.
From my own experiences, I can say, Meditating is one of the most wonderful experiences and has the power to change your perception and convert you into a satisfied and an independent person. If not yet, you should definitely learn the art and spend 15 minutes at least for being with yourself.
Be Different, Be Crazy
“Two Roads Diverged in a Wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” — Robert Frost
It was my 3rd Year, and I used to wake up at 5 in the morning, and brush my teeth and sit with my laptop on. I remember spending about a week creating my very first website on Quantitative Aptitude. I woke up before everyone, my roommates were confused and thought something was wrong with me until I told them what I was up to. Eventually when the website was ready, deploying it gave me a satisfying feeling. You need to do this, be crazy about the task you have at hand.
Don’t worry about your job, career, family, or anything else, just be excited about your work, everything else would automatically come to you, that’s my experience. In the world which is moving fast towards big Technological changes, Try your hands at numerous concepts as diverse as Machine Learning and Mobile Development, and you’ll realize at the end the process stays the same. A Machine Learning algorithm has the same Logic building method as that of UX Development of a Web App. One needs the skill to generate Logic which comes with Experience.
I like writing informally, that’s the reason I created this blog. I am not really an expert at it but still, I try my best. The main purpose of this blog was to inspire people, but in the process, I have also improved on the writing front. I am able to express myself in a better, concise manner. With every post, I try to come up with some interesting content and describe it concisely. Putting down your ideas/understandings in words is the best way for anyone to master any given concept.
I always advise my juniors to write blogs, It’s when one puts down their thoughts in words, clarity comes, doubts are solved and you get the full knowledge of the topic. Creating YT Videos is also an option that way, but since the process takes a longer time I’d prefer blogs.
So, here we are at the end of the post. Tried to compile everything in this one post. I was really excited to write this one, it’s been such fab 4 years of my Life, I’ll never forget them. I’ll be continuing this journey as I join the Data Informatics Department @ University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA in Fall 2018 !!! Can’t wait for that. To end it, I’ll say that my passion, enthusiasm, and dedication for this field has brought me so far, I’ll advise every one of you to push yourself little harder, ‘coz the sunshine on the other side is really beautiful 😀