My Journey to the Software World

My Journey to the Software World

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8 min read

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When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Celebration

It was 2009, mid-noon and the crowd was cheering for me. I was getting kicked on my butt by my fellow friends, who were making sure I stayed in the air. I had a big smile on my face, with my eyes closed. I opened my arms wide and felt like a rock star falling back from the stage and a crowd waiting to catch me. What a feeling !!

Suddenly I heard a faint voice in the distance, "Lab has started!". Everyone began rushing around, leaving me suspended in mid-air. Just as I was about to fall to the ground, I was abruptly jolted back to reality. Snap !! Boom !! I found myself sitting alone in the college campus garden. A distant, muffled voice echoed in the background, "It's time, let's go to the lab...Harpal !! ..bro !!"

I was daydreaming. I drifted while watching a bunch of senior folks celebrating their selection for a big tech company. My friend Amit was calling me, "Let's go". I stood up, nodding my head with a short smile, and started walking. As I made my way toward the lab, I was still thinking about the dream I just had. Being a third-year graduate student pursuing a B.Tech in IT, I always wanted to get a job before completing graduation. Sometimes I used to wonder if I had a genie who could help me how to get a job in the software world or tell me the magic recipe or secret ingredient to get a job. I used to think people working for tech companies are celebrities. I was fascinated by an unknown world called software !!

College

I had a love-hate relationship with the academic college curriculum. In college, I used to love computer labs and hated the stress of mugging up and feeling overwhelmed during exams, like trying to vomit everything the very next day. I was a favorite student of my professor as I was good at experimenting with stuff in the computer lab. I didn't have a personal laptop back then. I had installed Java on each computer in our college library. I used to practice writing code in Notepad whenever I used to get time. There are so many stories close to my heart. I promise, will try to share all of it someday. Well !! Let's not get bored with my belaboring and get back to the story. It was the period of 2009-10, following the recession, but only two major companies visited our college campus. For one, I couldn't clear the aptitude test and for the second one, I was not qualified as I was not having enough % criteria. Time flew by. I completed my graduation in mid-2010 and still was jobless. My best friends eagerly awaited the day when I would get a job so that we could all celebrate it together, but it never happened during my college years !!

After College

I was sitting at home applying for jobs on Naukri, Monster, or whatever job portal I could search to ship my resume. No matter what shiny, fancy lab experiment I did in college and highlighted in my resume, nobody even bothered to open it. If they had, I would have gotten a call. For the first 3 months, I continuously applied but had no results. Since Truecaller had not been invented yet, I used to pick up every call in anticipation. However, all I would hear were messages about winning the lottery, being eligible for credit cards, or brokers wanting to showcase properties. I used to mug up my introduction for the interviews. Oh sorry wait !! didn't I tell you !! English was not my native language. You can imagine the rest !! I was surrounded by negativity but one thing kept me going. Something inside me was telling me to try again, I will get it someday, I just need one job. I never stopped learning & practicing.

One day I convinced my family and landed in Silicon Vally of India i.e. Bangalore for a job search. You must be thinking why I had to convince my family !! Well, Let's just say when I entered this world, God must have played a prank on me by choosing my hometown about ~2500km away from Bangalore! Talk about a long-distance relationship with the IT hub! Jokes apart I love my hometown very much, and I can still trade it for an IT hub.

Bangalore Days

I still remember the day, September 22, 2010, when I landed in Bangalore. I had a lot of dreams as I picked up my luggage and boarded a city bus. Like me, many graduates come here every year with the hope of finding a job. After settling down, I started planning about job search. I made a lot of friends who were also job seekers like me. I used to start my day early. I would purchase a bus pass for the entire day. Job seekers had a vast network and I would often receive numerous SMS messages at night about potential recruitment drives the following day. During that time, WhatsApp didn't exist, so we relied on SMS or emails for communication. There were days when I would return empty-handed because the shared information turned out to be false. I used to stand in long queues just to submit my resume. Some recruitment drives were well-organized, but often we would leave early due to limited job openings. To manage the crowd, people were instructed to drop their resumes at the reception. Getting a job on campus is much easier as there is less competition. However, securing an off-campus job is tough, my friend! It requires a great deal of effort to stand out from the crowd and showcase your skills.

First Call

On October 4th, 2010, I learned about a recruitment drive taking place on October 9th, in Cochin (Kerala). Without hesitation, I applied and received my hall ticket. I embarked on an overnight train journey to reach Cochin. Standing in queues and seeing a crowd holding folders had become a familiar sight to me. The first round was a written test, which I completed and submitted. On the evening of October 18th, I received an email stating that I had cleared the test. For the next interview round, they provided two dates, the 19th and the 25th. Without a second thought, I boarded a train to face the interview. Though in a rush, my friend Mahendra helped me secure a decent seat on the train and even packed dinner for me. Overwhelmed with joy, I had lost my appetite. Sleep eluded me that night on the train. Upon arriving, I booked a hotel room near the railway station. It was raining due to the monsoon season. After dropping off my luggage, I got ready for the battle.

Finally

I arrived at the IT park where the interview was scheduled, completely drenched from the rain. It took some time for me to regain a normal state after reaching the location. They instructed us to wait and provided us with a form to fill out. I waited for serval hours for my interview round. Around 4 pm my technical round started. I don't recall the exact questions asked, but they mostly focused on fundamental knowledge. Finally, around 7 pm, it was time for the HR round. I managed to get through it with my mugged introduction and a few inquiries about my future aspirations! The moment of truth, for which I had been waiting so long, finally arrived. A man came forward and announced a few names, and to my joy, mine was among them. I couldn't contain my excitement and hugged him. I called everyone in my phonebook, starting with my parents. Even back at the hotel, I remained on continuous calls. It had slipped my mind that I hadn't eaten in the past 24 hours. In a tiny hotel room, surrounded by my best friends celebrating over the phone, I realized how long we had all been anticipating this day. I still vividly remember every single detail of that remarkable day.

Dream come true

It hadn't even been a month since I arrived in Bangalore, but I managed to secure a job! I have experienced the difficult days of being jobless, standing in queues with hope in my eyes. Perhaps those struggles shaped me into the person I am today. Now, I strive to assist others who are searching for a job. To all the job seekers out there, I have only one message: Never lose hope. All it takes is one opportunity, so don't give up. Pay no attention to what others say about you. Every effort you make brings you one step closer to your destiny. When the day arrives, your lucky stars will align automatically in the right direction. It's only you who can change the direction of your lucky stars with your dedication !! There is no star in this world that can't be moved with hard work and dedication. So keep trying till you move it !!

The night I received the job offer, I found myself drifting back to the same dream I had while in college. The only difference was this time, I deliberately closed my eyes and imagined it happening !!

PS: This was my personal experience please use my advice at your own risk ;) !!