Episode 14 @Cordss: A creative web developer at CISCO
Hi, listeners, I am Prateek Choudhary, and welcome to the Cordss podcast, Cordss is a one-to-one mentorship platform, and today on our podcast we are with an industry expert to mentor you. Today we will be talking about interview preparation, what are the requirements of the industry, what are the differences between a service-based company and a product-based company for an engineer, and to answer all these questions I have invited Varun Ganni. Varun is a creative web developer who has been in the industry for more than seven years worked had worked with TCS(Tata Consultancy Services) for five years and for the last three years he is in Cisco as a software engineer three. So welcoming Varun Ganni, Hey Varun how are you? Hi Prateek, thanks for the warm welcome, how are you. Yeah, I am fine too and I'm very happy to have you so Varun, feel free to share your story, and then we can have your insightful answers to specific questions that we have for you. Yeah sure, so as you said mentioned earlier I have around 7 years of experience and my graduation, my major is actually biotechnology so yeah lucky me I mean a little bit of luck a little bit of hard work and I landed a job on a campus placement with TCS(Tata Consultancy Services) and from there I've been there for five years. I started as
a full-stack developer and slowly migrated from and then I like there and after that, i figured, I should move on in my career, and then I went with cisco and currently I'm working with them. Okay, so as you said you were in bioengineering so how you landed on the software part then were you interested in it or some miracle happened with you? Not exactly I would say I was just going I mean we had an opportunity to go for it and I had some basics in C++ and I didn't have to go through any CSE examinations actually it can test for logical and reasoning and adding to that I had a little bit of coding it was just a simple while loop at the iteration or something that's it. That's really interesting man, okay so over and as you are in the industry for the last seven years now so are there any requirements from the industry now or anything you see it is required which was not so important or not even exist when you join as a fresh. when I joined at the fresher one thing I noticed that back then and the huge difference right now is there was no demand for specificity basically if you are a developer or a Java developer they expect you to work on the front end and the database as well now you go you have printed developer you have a backend developer you have in SQL or specific developers and you have all of that specificity was not really. I mean didn't really matter at that point in time so that is one thing like you know if you're good at one particular skill in one particular domain you can just still have a lot of career options at this point. Okay okay okay and as you switched from TCS-Tata Consultancy Services to Cisco which is changing from a service-based company to a product-based company right? Yes! Yeah, so what is the difference between a service-based company and a product-based company for an engineer or talking from a developer side? Okay so right off the bat will be the pay difference that will be like a huge difference you. I mean if service-based companies paying you X amount you can expect at least 3x to 4x
type of amount for the same developer. So that huge pay difference will be there but apart from the difference the best thing I mean pay doesn't matter in a long run actually but the main thing is the culture. Okay See in a service-based company they all the value is a particular technology and how good you are with that technology they don't care about your problem-solving techniques and all of that. Oh is it? Yes, I see usually I mean that that's my experience so far and when you come to product-based they don't care about the technologies. I mean they do, they'll see if you're comfortable with it but the more focus or the best selling point is how good you are in terms of problem-solving because anyone can learn to code but you should be able to solve problems and adding to that they also make sure that you are a good culture fit it's not like they don't want to disturb this specific culture that they're bringing up so that culture is like trustworthy I mean in a service-based company you don't have free freedom and ownership you just do what they are being told you can't just say okay this is not something good because let's refactor it and deliver it they'll be like not so free I'm not so approaching you about it they will be asking you to usually try to move it to technical debt and or backlogs that's it.
so that that way if you're going for product based company i think the learning curve the freedom that you experience and it makes you feel work every day feel like coming to work every day. Okay okay, so what is your experience from both the companies first you were in TCS, so what role did you play there and now in Cisco so what exactly you do at Cisco, can you please share your experience of both the companies? Sure so TCS i started off working with morgan stanley there it's an investment banker and the application was something about corporate actions basically in if any large clients have any different corporate auctions they don't have enough time or they don't usually care about all the details and the processes so we morgan used to stream them all of them and just give them minimum notifications and corresponding actions and they will take care of everything else like if you want to do something we'll do we'll take care of how to do it and everything just tell me what you want to do that sort of thing. okay okay okay, yeah so Varun you must have given so many technical rounds of an interview so how one should prepare for technical interviews because we all must go to geeks for geeks or any other platform but what mindset do we need to have when giving a technical interview or preparing for technical rounds so what's the whole procedure and what's the right way to do those? In my perspective in my view even i mean i have interviewed a few people as well and i have given interviews as i said earlier so what i usually say is i mean the proficiency matters in terms of all the comfortability with coding and everything at the end of the day you should be the interviewer and the interview should feel like they're comfortable with each other. when they should be looking forward to working with that person going forward like if they hire them they don't really care that suppose somebody is super good and the other one is even a little bit lesser than that but the person is friendly and you know talking outs ideas and everything usually they feel better as a candidate they feel like yeah I want to work with this candidate than somebody who is very good at technical and not really good at communication or something like that okay so at the end if you are not doing very well or I mean if you are if you know you can do a lot better you don't have a but if you are building a rapport with the interviewer that's actually a very good step. Yeah perfectly you can always tell to them that i'm not you know I can do better I can do a different thing there's something i'm stuck with and probably usually it happens right you can't expect to do everything all the time perfectly so just treat like a normal colleague that you want to work with tomorrow and if that works for that always that's the like I think that is the mindset that people look for.
Okay so yeah you said like we have in our mind something and we can't communicate well so the question came what happened when you know how to write the code or what algorithm we should use and all that is in our head and when it comes to communicating those technical aspects or explaining the code to interviewer it really doesn't go well so what's your suggestions on it how we should handle that pressure at that time? So okay let me replace the question so you are asking the person is like if i am the interview and I know the question that you asked me and i know how to solve it but at that moment of time I am not able to articulate it. Yeah exactly! So in those cases, you can do something you can actually you know try to do a smaller, example you can ask them that you know I am not able to for some reason even though I know how to do it I am not able to solve this particular problem let me do a small uh simpler version of this let me solve a simple version to show you I'm able to do that and I'll try to refactor the code or for some other instance you can even try telling note I mean you can just articulate your simple way of solving other logic you're thinking you know about the problem that way also the interviewer might be like uh stopping you if you're or going off track or if you're saying it correctly he might even tell you. Suppose because I know I have also helped a few community members in lincoln members sometimes for the interview process and I know one of the uh one of the people had an interview with uh redux regarding questions and he up and told him that; "I haven't written a reducer in a long while and but I know how reducing works and everything" and the interviewer directly just gave him the reducer code without bothering about it it's like it's okay it's fine you know the concept you can always google this thing that's not the problem so I mean you get what I'm saying right you can be always the articulator you can just say I can do a simple problem I can show you that and that also gives you some confidence because you're able to solve a small problem you know you are doing the right thing you can try to you repeat it and add more complexity to it so whatever we know we should say that okay with the freedom. We should explain them properly right? Yes exactly! Okay so one we have one more question and I think it's a really important question so there are so many certifications program going on there are so many learning platforms there are so many certifications online certification participating in contests but the real question comes do we really need all these certifications? which platform should we trust? which contest should we participate to get the real value out of it? so how to get the real value out of those participating in context or the certification or the online learning platform so what's your whole suggestions on it? Yes even i agree that there are like a huge number of certifications recently like at one point of time when i started off my career remember certifications had held a huge value and you can always say i did that certification i did oracle certification all of that but now it is so crowded that it doesn't really stand out even if you have did a good one nobody knows whether it really matter it really is a good one or not and a lot of people have a lot of certification so usual people don't even uh understand either others don't know the value of this certification so in my view it is always like all the certifications teach you or fundamentals of particular technology that you sign up for right and if you can use that learning to you know contribute to open source and showcase some sort of full request some sort of feature that you built in an open source application i think that is a very good way to expose to get your skills get a good exposure instead of showing the certificate i feel open source contribution or building lot of pet projects even pet projects also can be a bit deceiving but if you go with open source frameworks open source code and you just automate and show your features that you built that is a huge uh impressive thing in my book okay so building a repo is more important than certifications right yes certificate okay so over in this era of emerging technology there are so many languages so many frameworks to learn so which framework or language we should choose are there any specific requirements from industry uh like if we are in tc we are preparing for tsa so is there any language specification that we need to know so if you're preparing for a service based company it usually depends uh on the job description and if they are looking for specific technology or frameworks you would have to focus on them heavily but if you're looking for a product-based company i don't think uh technology matters that much i mean i know my colleagues who are three plus developers and uh they're just uh they were filling in a role for a java developer they didn't even know anything about java they learned all about it after coming on the job okay so all they were good as in problem solving they did good bse and that they're really good at it and and that's how they landed the role they didn't really care about that this person doesn't know anything about java and they're filling a java role they focus more on whether this person is a good problem solver or not okay okay okay oh that's interesting huh okay so one of the quick questions uh what what projects you suggest to the newbies or the people in the students in the college or anyone who wants to switch their career in some other domain they are usually working so what's your project suggestions so my project uh suggestions will be a tip if i mean in terms of print and development perspective okay uh one of them will be to always clone a very uh famous app it can be any app like uh you know instagram amazon any any app that they feel like and the more the features the better okay because they'll be learning in and outs about it and also to make it consistently uh similar it should be very similar to each other if you work on it you'll be working highly on your css skills and all of that so that way you are trying to chip in years of building off in the app development into months of it so basically you'll be learning all the best things about it so that is one suggestion i have and similarly there's also this lighthouse tool in chrome development tools and when you build a front-end development app one other suggestion will be to try to make sure you get a perfect score in lighthouse your app should be that good so a lot of tricks and you'll also understand what are the compromises for performances versus feature like you like a good feature but if it is affecting your performance what do you do about it right so thinking that perspective also will be very useful for uh you know enterprise projects so that also gives you a good idea um got it got it so what what are the do's and don'ts of an interview do's and don'ts of renter yeah that definite don't of an interviewers uh i mean if i ask you a question and you are uh just gathering your mind for a minute or two it is totally fine but after five minutes or ten minutes and you just uh like you started writing a function and then you still stop for like 10 minutes and you're just thinking you don't share anything i don't even know what is happening for all i know you might be asking someone else to solve it and not i mean you might be on the right uh way of thinking but you because you're not sharing to me i won't know how to help you okay and i don't know what's going on and you're also wasting both of our times because i might feel that you know it is not uh it's not thinking properly or if you ask me a simple tip i would have told you definitely then and there and you can just proceed going forward it might not be taking that much of time so communication if a person is not communicating uh throughout the interview what's going on their head i think that is a definite uh a negative point okay and the do's the do's uh one thing i often say is people don't uh sell themselves very well in terms of interviews they start out well and they talk about the general intro and going forward we finish the interview and then we talk i mean usually there's a buffer time of 10 15 minutes to talk about each other yeah and at that time people don't usually try to sell themselves a lot i mean they want to know about the role and everything that is perfect actually that is very good to ask and understand what are the roles and requirements and similarly they also should tell them a little bit i mean tell the interviewer a little bit about what are their achievements what they are proud of apart from what they have already said to us that way it is it makes a bit uh it makes the profile a bit impressive something to remember i can always say okay this guy yeah that guy did something impressive i remember that yeah so that that way you are standing apart from the crowd i think you should always try to make sure if you have something good sell it okay okay so this is the key point to note here okay so what as you said that we should ask the interviewer to give us some hints yeah so what we think and what we feel now if the interviewer is giving us the hints so that means we are not giving the correct answers or the correct explanation to that question so it make us more nervous so what's your suggestions on it yeah i mean i understand why you would think that even even my it was in the first time i was interviewing and first i was talking i felt the same thing obviously because that is partly to be blamed on our education system the way our system works is if you are not doing it the first time correctly you are not doing it at all whereas in real life that nothing works perfectly the first time you might be working on thrice you might somebody might be working on once and other person might be working on five six times and doing it properly yeah very true so this and when you're working day to day uh even if i speak with the colleagues also we talk about how without going to stack overflow we can't do anything sometimes uh exactly right you have to google and if your development if you're doing something like programming there are various concepts and you might have to you might not have to invent the wheel every time you will be someone who is doing it better and performant way and you just can reuse it in that times you uh like we are as a person we know that there are better alternatives they might be better alternatives and there might be something that you would have just missed and if you are working in a team you'll be your code will be reviewed by a lot of people and they don't say you're doing it wrong they'll just say how to do it better usually in that sort of a collaborative environment right i feel uh we should also make use of the interview and make them feel that this is how i look tomorrow if i'm getting stuck i'll ask you if you give me a small tip also i can try and continue from there it's not like i want you to code for me but i should be able to uh i mean i'm obviously stuck somewhere because i'm not able to think of it currently if you have something in my mind i'll just take it and i'll use it very very true very true a small hand will really sometimes solve the whole problem we just need a short help yeah and after years and years of development everyone asks for help from their colleagues that's the whole point right that is the whole point of collaboration and teams yeah so you're going for interview the same team you act like if he's your colleague you're stuck with something you're trying with you're not able to do it ask your colleague that's it okay okay so any study material or website suggestion to prepare for an interview i don't i mean for me every time if you're work focusing on technologies to learn technologies or frameworks just a general documentation and their examples and if you look up any projects on open source or if you just google uh like if you were learning react gears and you just want to see how people are writing the code or how uh how much you know self-evaluation right you can just google on github and just see what are the famous react apps are currently there and you can just open them try to read the code if you're not able to read the code obviously you're missing out something okay okay got it got it that way it is much more easier and better than focusing on study materials which might not be relevant at that time because uh software as an industry is very rapid changes are always there in the environment and you can like you won't know whether you are in the up to speed or not so if you're looking at open source is always the best practices and maintenance everything is considered there so that will be always be helpful yeah in my opinion actually yeah about it got it so i think we have covered everything so any closing line anything you want to suggest to your listeners that's friends listening to you sure uh i feel uh i mean this 20-20 has been uh a very slow year for a lot of people and i have been having lot of messages asking about how it is going to impact their career and whether a lot of companies have back door they call letters and everything and they're feeling very uh demoralized so i feel that uh that is just a small phase like i'm pretty sure uh within this uh may or june itself all the positions will be filled all the hiring will resume as it is rather there was no probit and probably better also so i feel as if this thing you never have to worry about the small instances that happen in between uh small blockers sort of a thing if you just focus on your studies and your core uh learning area right you can usually you overcome whatever it is and you don't have to be worried about other instances there will be some things which will be out of our hand but usually we will be the ones who will be coming out on top yeah stop worrying and keep learning yes okay so i think we have covered everything and from this podcast i think see your interview as a colleague and communicate with them properly that's what warren want to say yeah yes okay thank you so much for coming it was really a motivational and an insightful session i say and such a positive mindset you have an experience you shared with your with of yours of last seven years so thank you so much for coming hope our listeners would loving it and thanks so much for coming thanks appreciate all this So listeners that's all for today see you next week with a new industry expert a new story to learn from stay tuned podcast Cordss.