Houston, We have Liftoff

"There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect. " 
— Benjamin Franklin

I am now on the verge of completing my 7th semester at DA-IICT and for me it will be my last one as something LEGEN — Wait for it — DARY  has happened, I finally got selected for my final year project at Bell Labs Bangalore, this followed after I completed my summer intern at Microsoft IDC …:D.

 So all in all I have 2 success stories to share as you might have guessed. Microsoft Internship, well you can say it was an internship which I had never imagined ever in my life and after being a FOSS follower this type of things never came in my mind. It all started in late January when Microsoft came to our college for summer internship opportunities. Frankly speaking at that time I was not aiming for any Industrial internship, rather I was more focused on getting a Research Internship under one of our college professor. But for experience I gave the exam and luckily got selected for interview which were gonna held in person at Microsoft IDC Campus, Hyderabad. There were 4 rounds of interviews after which I was informed that I have selected for the internship program on 18th February 2011.  I was both astonished and ambivalent hearing this news, the original aim of spending summer in college doing research had been completely changed into a summer at Microsoft. There were 2 other batch mates of mine who got selected for the same, congrats  to them too…:).

So, I joined Microsoft IDC on 9th May 2011, after a short orientation session I was assigned to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Test team. Just for record, I was given the task of redesigning and porting of the Logging framework of Microbenchmark Test Cases. I won't go into details of the same as it involves knowledge of some of the Microsoft's internal softwares like Product Studio, Source Depot etc.
My mentor was Koushik Bhattacharjee, who is pioneer in the Performance Testing in CRM Division. It was a privilege to be working under him.
The life at Microsoft was fun, made lot of new friends (Pratyush, Shubhangi, Navni, Ravinder, Gaurav to name a few) from different colleges like BITS-Mesra, IIT-H, IIT-B etc., played Xbox-Kinect, Pool and Foos Ball. 2 months just flew by. I completed my internship on 8th July 2011 and came back to Ahmedabad.

College started from 25th July and placements fever had already spread in the batch. During this time, Bell Labs also announced long term internship opportunities for final year students. After applying for the same, I was shortlisted along with 4 other batch mates for interviews. The way they select students is totally awesome. There is no middleman involved in the interviews, you are only interviewed by the researcher who has shortlisted your resume and if selected under whom you will be working, which gives the researcher as well as student a better picture of the work situation and culture, rather than something like Microsoft where interviews are taken by members of different divisions and has no relation to whatsoever to the final assignment of your team when you join. After a week or so getting shortlisted, I was contacted by a researcher at Bell Labs for my Telephonic Interview. It was then followed by 4 interviews, 3 were taken by the researcher himself out of which 2 of them lasted approximately 2 hrs each…:) and 1 was taken by his manager. The interviews were nothing like you traditional MNC Software Company interviews where they asked you algorithms or puzzles and measured your knowledge of OS, Computer Networks etc. These interviews were mainly aim at gauging your thinking capabilities, reasoning and how you look at a given proposal critically. After my final interview, I was asked to create 2 applications using the frameworks that they have been using in their applications so that they could assess my adaptability and learning curve with new frameworks. I had to use Hadoop and Cassandra for the same. So after 3 nightouts and almost 2500 lines of code, I submitted my applications and on August 24th 2011, I was informed of my selection for the internship. This is one of the few dates that I will never forget. 

Now, I will be working on creating robust and scalable distributed systems in collaboration with the researchers using different open source frameworks such as Hadoop, Cassandra, Free Pastry.. etc. Looking forward to one of the best 6 months of my life till date. I will be joining Bell Labs on 2nd January 2011. 

That pretty much sums up the 2 most extraordinary phases of my life which I believe have given me a huge boost to perform and evolve myself more aggressively than ever. and hence the citation of the quote…:)  

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