Increff — Software Development Engineer
Name: Zeeshan Equbal
Q. In which company have you been placed? Describe your job role.
>> I am currently working as a software development intern(backend) in Increff. It’s a Bangalore-based startup in the B2B domain. It’s a product-based company that delivers products in the supply chain.
Q. Which clubs and societies were you a part of and how did they help you?
>> I joined a lot of clubs in my first and second years, mostly they were technical, I was a part o EEESoc, IEEE, SDS, and IETE. The clubs helped me a lot by building connections with my seniors. Apart from that, I got a lot of experience from the seniors, and they helped me discuss my plans like discussing which domain is better for me and how to prepare for interviews. I also hosted a lot of events that these clubs conducted therefore I gained hands-on experience in how to handle or manage an event or a team.
Q. What are the technical skills required for EEE graduates?
>> You should have a basic knowledge of EEE subjects and maintain a good CGPA. For the IT sector, you should have a grasp of data structures and algorithms. You should also have good development skills. For me, development was the most important skill that I had.
Q. When and how did you decide between core and software jobs? Also, mention the ideal time to choose according to you.
>> In my case, I was already interested in Computer Science even before joining the college but was unable to get it in BIT Mesra. Instead, I got EEE according to my rank in JEE, which I thought was adequate because most companies that accept CSE undergraduates to sit for placements also let EEE undergraduates. I was not interested in the core domain of EEE from the very beginning itself. So, I started my preparation for software in the first year. But I suggest you explore all the domains in your first year, consult your seniors, and talk to them. Talk to those seniors who are good and proficient in their respective domains and then reach a conclusion. By the second year in either 3rd or 4th Semester, you should be able to decide which stream you want to go with in the future.
Q. How can one use time effectively and manage their time between academics, extracurricular activities, and social life?
>> It’s going to be difficult in EEE as I was myself in EEE, but covid did help a lot because the study pressure was less. But you can devote your evenings after coming back from college to preparing DSA or CP or making some projects and taking breaks in the middle.
Q. How much CGPA should one maintain to be allowed to sit in an interview for any core/software company?
>> Many companies put a 7.5 CGPA as their minimum CGPA criteria, but a lot of companies, at the same time, won’t shortlist students who have a CGPA of less than 8, or sometimes even 8.5. So, I would suggest you try to maintain a CGPA of at least 8 or above to be on the safer side.
Q. How early should one start preparing for internships and which platform did you use to grab it? And if not then what was your alternative? Is it necessary to have internships for good placements?
>> In my second year I started preparing for GSOC and I was shortlisted for good companies under GSOC. I worked for two months as an intern under Zulip. I was not able to get an on-campus internship because I was more into GSoC. I went for off off-campus internship and after that, I started preparing for full-time, and Increff was the second company that came to campus and I was able to crack it. Although having an internship is always better and will help you to find a job, in most situation it isn’t really required because many of my friends who didn’t have internships were still able to land jobs at reputable companies.
Even if you don’t get on campus you can always go off-campus or you should at least have some good projects.
Q. What other activities, except academic studies, did you engage in during 4 years of BTech (including projects) and how did they help in your placement and internship?
>> I wasn’t a part of any sports club or literary club in the college. I was only in the technical clubs. I used to play sports that were not at all competitive. Talking about projects, my first project was a group project where I was a part of a team that participated in e-yantra (a robotic competition conducted by IIT Bombay every year). We had to design a Ball balancing platform where I got to learn a lot about Python and OpenCV. It also helped me in my GSOC since the organization I was associated with had their code work written in Python. My second project was during my GSOC during the COVID. It hardly took 3–4 days to make that project, it would automatically join meetings on my behalf of me and leave it when the meeting was over. My third project was in the Web Development domain. I started learning Web Development at that time, and I was mostly doing application development in Python during GSOC and Backend development during my second internship. I made a Twitter clone which was my last project. I also did 3–4 small projects that I have not mentioned on my resume.
These helped me in my FTE and internship as many questions were asked from these projects and they helped me to get fairly ahead in the interview rounds.
Q. What was the toughest part while preparing for the interviews?
>> The toughest part for me personally was DSA, as I was pretty weak in it as I was mostly into the development side and I had to make my DSA stronger. So, 90% of my efforts went into learning DSA and getting good at it. I dropped development at that time as I already had a good amount of working experience and I had the projects as well.
Q. What was the selection procedure of the company? How did you prepare for it and what was the toughest part of the interview?
>> The first round was a behavioral round based on your personality. The second round was aptitude and coding. There were 30 aptitude questions and 2 coding questions and there was a time limit. One was of easy level and another was of medium to hard. It was more of a game theory question. After that, there were two interview rounds and in the first round, I was asked about DSA. If someone had solved classic questions on Leetcode then it should be easy for them. Then I was asked about OS and DBMS. In the second round, I was asked about system design. I was asked to design a cab booking system. Since Increff allowed all branches from all campuses so there was a lot of competition and finally seven were shortlisted.
Q. Please, tell us something about the Training and Placement Portal of our college.
>> The TNP portal of our college is nice. They bring a lot of companies into the college and the process is also smooth, but you need to make sure that any notice that comes on the TNP portal, you strictly have to adhere to it. Like if it says you don’t have to register for this particular company, strictly adhere to it else you can even get debarred from placements for a couple of months. The TNP coordinators are also extremely helpful. You can even contact any other TNP coordinator of other branches as well.
Q. If we don’t get placed in the right company according to our aspirations, then what should we do?
>> There are a lot of companies that keep on coming constantly to the campus even now. If you fail to get your dream company, you can try for any other company as well, there are a lot of chances in BIT. Just keep preparing, keep applying for good companies, and at the same time try reaching out to companies and recruiters on LinkedIn for Off-Campus. Have patience and regular updates with the TNP portal and don’t drop your preparation and look out for every opportunity.
Q. Which coding language is more suitable for competitive coding for the coding round in placement? Which platform to use for competitive coding?
>> I think you should go with C++ because you’ll get to learn a lot from it and almost the majority of students prepare CP from C++. If the platform is concerned then Codechef and Codeforces is the best platform for CP. Trying to give contests on these platforms, is the best way to become good at CP.
Q. Is it important to have complete knowledge of web development/machine learning or any skill to make projects and to give interviews?
>> I don’t think that you need to have knowledge of everything, just choose one domain and stick to it and it could be enough. Either Machine Learning, Web Development, etc. If you are not good enough in any of these just try to become good at CP and DSA.
Q. As compared to your batch mates going to core jobs, how was your journey?
A lot of my friends were interested in the core domain, but considering that we all already knew by our second year which domain to choose, we all started preparing in that direction. And as I said, my interest in coding and development was even before coming to the college, so it concluded well.
Q. What are your future plans?
>> Right now I would like to stick to this company and continue this domain and after a couple of months I would either switch companies or go for higher studies abroad.
Q. Despite knowing the demerits of the IT sector why did you choose this?
>> There are demerits in the IT sector but I was personally very confident in my skills and was interested in the software domain even before joining the college. My confidence helped me a lot.
Q. What would be your advice to the juniors for different years?
>> If someone is in the first year then he or she has total freedom to explore both core and software. They should explore all activities and figure out their interest. In the second year, they should know which domain they want to pursue and also start preparing for internships. In the third year, they should practice DSA and start focusing on full-time.