Before getting any further, let me clarify that I am not really an expert at getting jobs. With my 6.14 CGPA, I haven’t been eligible for the campus placement process at any of the companies I fancied and I wasn’t interested in any of the companies where I was eligible. So basically, my experience of the whole interview and selection process is zilch. And I very much hate wearing formals to an interview, I mean I will code just as awesomely whether I wear jeans, formals or bermudas. Nevertheless, I have solved the technical questions in the mock test papers for many of my friends who were eligible and I also answered last minute phone queries on various technical stuff (oye difference between C++ and Java? Polymorphism ka definition bata? etc) right before my friends were about to face the interviewing panel (And I can proudly say that most of them are now happily placed).
Now lets back to the topic. As you are aware, Sun Tech Days 2010- Hyderabad is on March 24th and 25h. I had a blast last year at Tech Days and will go again. So I sent text messages, tweets and status updates to see if anyone is interested in going with me. And yes, a few people were interested in coming along. But almost everyone has the same query, “How is it useful? Will Sun give me a job if I go there? Will it look good on my CV?”. I then politely inform them that TechDays (or any developer conference for that matter) is about learning new technologies, meeting up the developers of that technology first hand, expanding your horizon and yes, networking with other developers. But none of these can directly lead to a JOB. Any company, be it Sun, Microsoft, Google or Oracle or any other, does not do these event to recruit, they do these to popularize their products, get developers excited about them so that these developers would go back and use some of these products in their own projects, but never to find potential employees. Yes you could, potentially, meet up the company people, and really impress them with some cool idea and they might refer you; but that’s just as unlikely as me beginning my preparations for any exam more than 14 hours in advance. Very very rare.
And when I say this, it dampens their spirits to no end. The response is somewhat like, “Ummm..Well…Its 1000 bucks plus travel and stay…good event..but I don’t know any of those stuff….I will be lost..still I will think…”
Well I am sorry but I hate this attitude. First realize that no company will ever recruit people from a developer event. If say Sun were to recruit everyone who came to Tech Days Hyderabad, it would directly double their present employee count. So that ain’t happening. Secondly, why is that you expect that almost everything that you do has to directly enable you to get a JOB? If you are good at what you do, you will get a job (provided you haven’t messed up your academics like me and your university has got a competent Placement Division). The goal of your engineering studies should not be to get a job, it should be to learn how to develop software (or electronic circuits,buildings, bridges, cars, chemicals etc but I will stick to my field here) that are awesome and flawless, near perfect. It should be to develop a deep, almost fanatic, interest in your field (or a sub field or sub sub field). It should be about experimenting, making mistakes and screwing up, and yet gearing up for the next adventure.
As Rancho puts it in 3 Idiots, “Chase excellence, success will follow”.
Last year when I attended Tech Days 2009, I had just become a Campus Ambassador for Sun. I was still not much into CA activities and my only contact was my co-ordinator Ajay Kumar. I had heard about Ganesh Hiregoudar, the APAC Manager of the CA program and my boss, but I had never met him. His name drew up visions of some burly, short haired, short tempered, pointed haired boss images in my mind. No one other than Ajay knew I would be at Tech Days and I too had no idea that anything special regarding CA activities would happen at Tech Days. My first day went well and I met one CA, I was wondering if anyone else had arrived. The next day, in the morning, I ventured to the OpenSolaris installation area tucked at a corner of the HICC. Actually I did not go there for OpenSolaris but rather for the Sun SPOT demo by Jay Mahadeokar and Vasusen Patil, I was very excited about it and hadn’t received my kit yet, in fact I did not know that I was supposed to get a kit. Unknown to me, a lot of CAs, Ganesh Hiregoudar and other people associated with the CA program were all there near the OpenSolaris corner. They identified me because of my orange Sun bag. A few confusing moments followed by introductions with a lot of awesome people and I was put to help out people install OpenSolaris and also register for OSUM . And yeah I got to finally meet Ganesh Hiregoudar and all my fears turned out completely false. He was anything but burly, didn’t have short hair and was did not frighten you at all. He was the most polite boss one can ever have, the most awesomest boss. I also met Rajesh Umashankar and Kumar Abhishek. The whole CA gang went out for dinner in the evening, sponsored by Sun.
Before I had gone to Tech Days, I was an unknown CA, just an employee ID, an email address. Once their, I met these people, was able to impress them (though I have to admit it wasn’t intentional). Now they knew me and liked me. After a few weeks, I was offered internship at Sun,I applied and was selected. Not every CA gets to do an internship at IEC but I made it. And it was due to that internship that I was able to work with the Sun HPC Team at Singapore. And now I am doing another project with them. And all of this happened because I went to Tech Days. I did not go to announce my presence to my bosses there, I went there to learn about Sun technologies. I hadn’t even hoped to meet any of my bosses, Ajay too was not coming. But that visit really worked wonders.
So the lesson is, don’t just do things because you are absolutely sure it will give you a JOB, do things because you like to do those. Learn and explore. Opportunities will surely come and you will be at the right place at the right time. Don’t do everything for a “certi”. Most of the certis that you get after working in fests in our college are useless. No employer is really bothered about those. But you might actually end up learning something in the process. There will be no dearth of jobs if you have a passion for your work.
Well, enough free advice for now. Have fun. Hope to see you at Sun Tech Days 2010 at Hyderabad.