- This blog post is specifically intended for third year Computer Engineering and Information Technology students (at CoEP). However, one can still go through for the resources and tips given
- The views expressed in this blog post are my personal opinions and experiences and its not compulsory to do everything my way. You should always, ideally get the opinion of a couple of more (but not too many) seniors who have been through this process
I sensed an urge to write this blog post when many of my junior friends were approaching me and my friends for guidance regarding the internships and placements. In this blog post, I will put forth my views on internships and placements at CoEP for CS/IT and how the entire process looks like. I will also be sharing some resources which you can be useful for preparing yourself for the task ahead!
How important are internships? Shall I do an internship or sit back at home and prepare for placements?
This is one question which troubles us a lot. It happened with me too, when I was about to appear for the internship at Eaton Corporation. I was confused whether the internship will be worth the time spent or shall I just sit home and prepare for placements? But finally, I decided to apply for the internship and I was pretty much happy with the outcome! I got some good industrial experience, went through the entire Software Engineering process right from Requirement Gathering to Testing to Documenting! And going through this process in actual does help a lot during placement interviews. You can use industry level terminologies to impress them 😉
So coming to the point and quoting Baba Pratikdaas, “An internship is an internship!“. Don’t look at the stipend, you will earn plenty in the future! Don’t narrow your opportunities by having these kind of filters. Being a CoEPian, and then being a CS/IT student, we are lucky enough that so many companies visit our college for internships as well as for placements. So make use of the opportunity provided. There are thousands of students from other colleges who are willing to do it, but just don’t get that opportunity! Just go for it, I would say. And ahaaa! If you work well, most of the companies also offer a PPO (Pre-Placement Offer) and if the pay-pack and work is good enough, you can accept it and enjoy your final year from Day 1 😉
Also, the thought of sitting back at home and preparing sounds cool, but Alas! It does not work 😛 With some exceptional cases, it is human tendency to keep on delaying stuff until you see that the first company for placements is Google and is coming in a weeks time 😉 So its better to do something in the summer rather than getting lazy. Also, during internship, you can make your weekends more productive by preparing sincerely for placements and that should be enough 🙂
Okay, internships are important. But what if I don’t get one? What can I do in the summer?
Gone is gone! It’s okay you dint get the internship. There are so many others who dint! You should take this positively by thinking that you now have all the time in the world to improve your profile, polish your skills, strengthen your weak points!
You can brush up important concepts of main subjects like Data Structures, Operating Systems, Computer Networks, DBMS (those doing internships should have this in their weekend agenda). You can also improve your profile by doing some open-source project, fixing bugs in some software and then submitting a patch upstream, etc. Believe me, these will add a lot of value to your resumes and then not being an intern would no longer be a concern 🙂 If the last company coming for internship rejects you, no tensun! From the very next hour – PLAN. In the coming days – EXECUTE. As simple as that 🙂
What is the eligibility criteria for internships?
Its but obvious that this would vary company to company. But in general, during internships some of the visiting organizations do conduct an aptitude test, where students above some X cgpa are allowed to appear. While others just send a shortlist to our college based on the cgpa and/or the resumes that you submit (which is sad). However, during placements, all companies conduct an aptitude test.
What is the format of the aptitude tests?
As far as the aptitude tests are concerned, they test you on quantitative and reasoning skills as well as on technical subject related questions. Some may just ask technical questions in the aptitude tests, some may even ask you to write sample codes. The bottom line is – the format can be anything, and only smart work will help. Browse the web for the method followed by the visiting company, give a call to your seniors who were in the same company last year to understand the entire process and ask for some quick tips, considering there is very less time left with you.
What should I expect from internship interviews?
In general if you get through the aptitude test, you will have a couple of technical interviews lined up followed by an HR interview. One of these technical interviews might even be a phonetic call, so you should be prepared well for that as they have several parameters to evaluate you on! Some folks might also ask questions on the aptitude questions you solved and the code you wrote. They might ask you to propose a better solution. However, they are well aware of the fact that you students are only in your third year. So, they don’t expect you to answer each and every question to perfection. At this stage, all they want to see is your approach towards solving a problem, your communication skills, your enthusiasm level, your confidence, your capability to do the project which they have proposed. If you mentally prepare yourself for these points, you should be through, I feel 🙂 Also, programming languages aren’t a barrier in good companies! They test your concepts, not your syntax 🙂
And then what about placement interviews? How to excel in them?
They too follow the same pattern, but this time, the expectations are high as you will be working full-time for them. Again, to get through, first and most important thing is to have a good, well-formatted resume, different from everyone else. As they say, first impression is the last impression! Resume tips, well, they would perhaps go in a separate blog post! But to cut the long story short, it should convey what you are, what you have done over the years, your achievements, your skills, etc.
Of course, everyone will brush up the concepts. Everyone will go through the FAQ’s. Most of the students spend time going through the questions asked previously by that company in the interviews and solving them. But one mistake that people do is that, they just think about the questions and their solution. But they don’t think – “How will I answer this question?”, “How shall my attitude be?”, “When should I ask for clarifications?”, “How should I show that I am interested to work with them?”. Technical skills will help for sure, but one also needs to think on these crucial points. That one moment – which would get you through. Think, think, think.
Talk constantly with your interviewer about whats going on in your mind, how are you approaching the problem and let them know yourself if you want time to give a better solution. These tiny things, tell a lot about you! At the end of the day, giving an interview is an art! 🙂
Hey Pratik, alright. Enough of blah blah! Point us to some useful resources please?
Uhhmm, okay. There you go!
Aptitude study material:
- As far as the aptitude tests are concerned, the book by R.S Agarwal is a good starting point. You can go through the concepts, tricks, shortcuts given at the start of each topic and solve a few difficult questions.
- But that’s surely not enough. Questions one will see in the tests will be of some altogether different level. indiabix.com is a nice place to hangout spending time solving C and C++ questions. The aptitude questions are a bit easy over there.
- You should solve difficult questions of CAT level. You can refer to the standard books used for the same, but don’t spend too much time in it. Just go through a few important and hot-favorite topics.
- *MCQ’s in Computer Science by Timothy Williams, for the technical section
Interview study material:
- *Cracking the coding interview: This book is one the best ones and surely would guarantee success if you finish it completely! How to handle the different types of questions, how to prepare for the interview, sample questions on important data structures are all covered in this book. And history says, most of the questions come from this book. So this should be at the top of your priority list.
- Cracking the IT interview: Yet another great book. This is a very thin and sweet book covering the important topics from all subjects. There is a question-answer format followed which trains the reader from an interviews perspective. Again, most of the questions asked to me during my interview were present in this book. I suggest you to buy a hard copy as this is useful for quick revisions as well.
- *How to Ace the Brainteaser Interview – a nice book containing puzzles and the approach for solving them. Don’t go into depths, let it be a bit natural 🙂 Just see the types of puzzles and the common methods to solve them.
- *Introduction to Algorithms – good to do, but again, figure out what’s important for you at this stage.
- Then come online resources and the best of all – geeksforgeeks.org. Nice diversity of problems with even nicer solutions. Specifically, try to go through all questions on Linked Lists, Trees and their applications. These are the most commonly used data structures. Questions involving string manipulation are also important.
- Next up is careercup.com – A place where you can find interview questions shared by users, questions filtered on some organization, etc. Try to solve questions asked at Microsoft, Amazon, Google and other heavyweights.
- Next is programmerinterview.com – a very nice website which covers the essential concepts on most of the computer science topics. You can revise topics like Operating Systems, Data Structures, Recursion in minutes!
That’s enough I feel. Now that you have a list, you can start planning on how to cover these and to what extent.
I have uploaded the resources marked with a * in my Google Drive, shared publicly.
The zip file also contains a folder called “concepts” which covers various topics. There is also a folder called “C-Test” which has some pdf’s containing really good C-questions. You should solve them and code, if in doubt.
Have some goal in your mind that you would like to work at XYZ. Unless and until there is no goal, you wont be motivated enough, you wont push yourself to achieve something. Placements at CoEP for CS/IT are really good and top ranked companies do visit us. The placement process is worth going through, it teaches us a lot! Some get placed early, but others have to wait for some more time for that moment when you call your parents miles away to give the good news 🙂 But from my experience, I have seen that it is always a happy ending for most of us 🙂 So the point is to stay focused, be patient, and never lose hope. By the end of the year, you will definitely hear this –
Wishing you all the very best and a very bright future (y) 🙂