What advice will you give to a student pursuing CS major from very low tier college?
Correct use of Resources – an Internet
Internet is an endless ocean of knowledge today, all knowledge is just one click away for free, yet peoples suffer for running out of this precious wealth. Browse internet wisely – you know what I mean.
Its important to know your roadmap in advance. Spend some time to find you need to learn in each yr of your graduation. Consult syllabuses of Tier-1 institutes, articles and ask your mentor the plan.
Running on wrong track, indulging energy on wrong topics or at too early stage would lonely demotivate you and make things difficult for you.
System approach to conquer the CS stream is important.
Be proactive and informed
Be informed, again, observe what your good friends are doing, indulge in technical discussion with them. Analyze your syllabus and filter it, there would be many garbage topics which are neither industry oriented not job oriented – study them for the sake of exams, and master the others which would take you step ahead of your competitors.
It’s important to know WHAT exists – so that you can schedule to learn and prioritize them. If you come across new technical term, say REST, read Wikipedia on this. Just understand what is the use case and what is the purpose. Then add the topic in your to do list if the topic seems to be advanced or need some prerequisite course/knowledge.
You stay away from home – in your hostel and you spend almost all 24 hrs with your friends/colleagues. Now what type of colleagues you indulge with decides how you will be spending your day. Not serious friends will drown you along with and you won’t even realize until your placements season has knocked the doors. Friends with enthusiasm as yours to learn engineering would only catalyze your learning process. Make friends carefully. Infact you will end up making friends of the same nature as yours.
Practical work rather than theoretical
As you mentioned you are from Tier-n college, your college will only do formality in getting you engineering degree. You will get close to no assignments to repetitive copy paste kind of assignments through your college tenure. You will find your classmates searching for shortcuts and they will succeed easily. I strongly suggest separate yourself out of this culture. Whatever you read and understand, start thinking how would you have designed it, implemented it. Don’t care about correctness – just get the fucking shit up and running. You just studied multithreading , go and implement producer consumer problem. Do not worry if your program runs into deadlock – analyzing why it is running into deadlock is also a great learning. Just get into the habit of seeing the working action of the concept you have just introduced.
The key element for keep yourself motivated is to see your own code into action , study what is required and throw away the garbage part, study systematically without getting overwhelmed and confused. Don’t try run fast, just chase slow and study.
Believe in your self
I am happy that you take pain to post the question on Quora, most don’t even bother to know the scope of their own stream. We were made to believe how important are high school marks, and now you know – it is nothing more than the age proof. Similarly, college name and tag hardly matters in the long run. Don’t be low at any point of time just because you don’t have a prestigious college tag attach to you. Have faith in you, if you take your steps right, you will just do fine.
Don’t run after specialization too early
I have seen many students running and chasing XYZ specialization courses when they are into 3rd yr. Well I would advise, as a fresher you would be hired based on your knowledge and grasp on fundamentals and not your specialized knowledge. Stay away from Technical booming works you would hear – like Hadoop and all. Just focus on your core syllabus. Specialization is a piece of cake for working professional, not for fresher’s. Unless you really have an interest in a particular field, don’t waste your time and energy behind specialized courses. As a fresher, not having specialization do not impact your probability of fetching a job.
No need to burn out
You have plenty of time. No need to burn yourself out. Stay calm and enjoy the learning process. You don’t have to burn your lamp oil like you are preparing for competitive exams. Just be regular towards your learning is the key. Just ensure that you did not wasted a week and learn something you did not know earlier is more than sufficient. However, once you get addicted to coding, you would not realize how time fly by.
Practice and regularity
You would not get any job as a developer without getting through DS + Algo round. DS ALGO is the essence of computer science, and you need to won over it. Start solving Question from various competitive sites like geeksforgeeks etc. Solve 1 Question a week. Not just solve, analyze it , twist it by yourself, evaluate your solution, try other approaches to solve the same. Being regular at this activity is the key here. More you get stronger at DS and ALGO, better shall be your worth in the market as a fresher. Plan is important here. Do not pick up difficult questions in the beginning – form your base over particular data structure, implement CRUD operations, solve some simple problems and then move towards advanced problems for the same. Competitive programming sites such as geeksforgeeks or careercup, probably do not categorize question in the order of difficulty. It’s not a wise decision to pick up difficult questions right in the beginning. Collect several resources and conquer DS ALGO step by step. Confidence would improve by solving more and more problems.
Read the positive articles about IT
I often come across beginners questioning the career and stability in IT. Well, I would not deny the fact that you would not have job security , stability like one has in govt jobs in IT. If you are working in any private sector, you would have to deal with these unfavorable repercussions of being employed in private sector, let alone IT. Nobody is permanent, everybody is replaceable here. You need to catch the with the current trend and technologies, keep yourself skilled as per the requirement in the market to stay employed in the industry. ‘n’ yrs of experience doesn’t matter if your skills goes outdated. Its all business between you and employer at the end. So, if you are not prepared to keep learning until your retirement, or need a calm, predictable challenge free job – private sector is not for you. However, in IT sector you make wealth at least 3 times as fast as you can make in govt sector jobs (many conditions apply).
Get over Tier-3 status
You are really at a big disadvantage for being a candidate from Tier-3 college. College tag MATTERS for beginners. Most high paying employers are not interested in reading CVs which has TIER-3 institute mentioned. Let me tell you harsh reality – For 1 open position, 100s of CVs are submitted from 100s of candidates. No HR/Hiring manager has a time to scrutinize all CVs and filter the potential ones. They have automated algorithms implemented which pick up 5-6 CVs based on key words matching/CGPI/institute name. So, great are your chances that your CV would go un-heard or would never seek human glare. Still, don’t lose heart – there are ways to enter into high paying IT jobs despite being from Tier-3 institutes. For your info, more than 50% of employees in big MNCs are from Tier-2-3 institutes only.
Chase excellence, not (early) job
Most candidates and fresher’s axe their own feet in lure of early gains by picking up the jobs in service based companies/call centers/BPOs etc. You should play wisely here and do not succumb to societal pressure. The moment you get into job – pls evaluate where this job will land you into in future. Are you learning in this job ? If yes, you are into your best job irrespective of company or place or salary. If you are sitting idle – not learning, doing work like maintaining excel sheets (most talented candidates are forced to do this work in service based companies), then, get out of this job as soon as possible, but safely. In the long run, such jobs are only spoiling your profile and making you unemployable in future.
Get the advisory mentor from LinkedIn
Best thing for regular guidance and maarg darshan is to get the mentor. I would strongly recommend get in touch with working professional in the industry and start exchanging emails seeking guidance. Nobody would object to drop you an advisory words.
Create your portfolio
You have to sell yourselves based on your skills in the market, you need to advertise yourself. Let employers hear that you exists and you have skills which they need. Create your one page website, github account, Linked Profile. Have online presence. Many beginners are contacted right from linked by the recruiters. Show your work through github. Make new style resumes or e-resumes. You are not be served prepared job dish into your plate like IIT-ians, Employers would not come to you, you need to shout out to make employers hear you.