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Friday, 2 October 2015

IT diaries(My IGATE Journey)Part 1-The Recruitment

Having put in my papers I think it is time to reflect on my IT journey. I am still trying to digest the fact that I have put in my papers and currently serving the notice period. To begin I shall go back to my college days.

Picture this - It is the final year of engineering.Placement season.Quite a few of my friends from other colleges have already got placements.For the uninitiated, final year of engineering is quite stressful time in the life of an engineering graduate.Here we are at the crossroads,peering with optimism at the first step in our professional life.Many of my friends have cleared CAT,GATE and other entrance examinations.Here I am in the labyrinthine maze wondering what to do next.In walk the IT firms. At the top institutes IT firms with placement packages 3 to 4 lakh may not get much attention. Cognizant,IGATE,TCS,Capgemini all fall in this category. The buzz is largely reserved in the tier 3 institutes. The tier 3 institutes all vie for for the previously mentioned companies. IT companies take IT as well as non IT background students.( I being an ECE student myself consider this a boon!). The only criteria is 60% and no year gaps which many of the engineering graduates manage.(The figure is significantly lower in universities than in autonomous institutes).
 My college being a tier 3 college had  two major companies -IGATE and TCS. Now TCS is global IT giant with presence all over the world. It obviously was the dream for a tier 3 student like me. I fit well within the criteria and was eligible for the aptitude tests. TCS has the process where the top 5 of every branch have direct interview round.The rest of the eligible students have to clear the aptitude tests.Most of the IT firms have the HR round and the technical round.Sometimes they are combined.In case of TCS it was the latter. Whispers were out that TCS has grueling interviews. Unfortunately I did not qualify for the aptitude tests and I can't add much to the blog about TCS interviews but from what I hear the TCS interviews were genuinely difficult to crack.

The HR and the Technical Representative both grill the aspiring candidate.The results were declared later on the day of the interview.The next day elation was wrought on the faces of the candidates who cleared and were selected.Dejection and despair hung on the faces of the candidates who did not make it.The result did have a few omissions that were surprising.
I was likewise sad and dejected that I did not make even the preliminary rounds.To give credit to the candidates who made it to TCS the aptitude test level was on par to the CAT exam considering the same organisation was conducting the CAT exam(Prometric-The scenario has changed somewhat with Prometric no longer conducting the CAT exam but I do not expect the level of TCS aptitude to come down).
The questions were genuinely tough and one cannot hope to simply sail through the entrance exam without prior preparation.My advice is start preparing for entrance immediately after the third year of engineering.(Arun Sharma might come handy DO NOT go for RS Agarwal)

The next IT firm to 'grace' our college was IGATE. Throughout the pre placement talk I wondered whether IGATE would be repeat of the TCS episode.Frankly my morale was so down I wasn't sure I would qualify the aptitude test.(A note here-Whatever the recruiting companies talk about in their pre placement talk comes handy in the later stages of the interviews.So make sure you have a pen and a paper with you!!).

The aptitude test of IGATE was somewhat simpler than the TCS exam.Questions were straight forward and solutions were easily obtainable.There was no negative markings and you could do with one or two guesses.Brush up your basic concepts(Again Arun Sharma should come in handy).I wasn't sure I would clear the Aptitude exam.I thought of going home before the result of the aptitude was out.I hung back but my hopes were not too high.It was a genuine surprise when my name was read out by the HR.

The technical round was nearly 45 minutes long. Sure enough the questions asked in the technical were of high calibre. The questions tested my logic and reasoning. Questions were not limited to the technical aspect and a few gauged my desire to work in the IT industry. The senior engineer put forward a paper and asked me to write a code for Fibonacci series in assembly language programming and not in C or java or programming languages. I tensed a bit at this moment.Sensing my apprehension the Technical Representative asked me whether I could write the code. I decided to take my chances and write the code.It will be worthwhile mentioning at this point that throughout my academic years I was weak in coding. I do not know what happened to me at that moment but before I knew it I found myself writing the code for the same. I knew the logic for Fibonacci series having studied it previously in the first year of engineering in C++ and JAVA. I could tell the Fibonacci code was not pitch perfect. Mind you the Technical representative are very high up in the hierarchy of the post of Department Manager. I will be expanding on the same further in the comings blogs. I want to point out that the Technical representatives are very smart and there is simply no point in fooling around.
You may have questions that you may not know the complete answer but you answer as much as you can. Please do not go about bumbling in the dark as you will be caught out in such a case and may get stuck. For example, I was asked about the different types of classes in C++. I correctly answered about public and private classes but was confused about the class which has features of both public and private classes so with a smile on my face I cheekily replied that I was hoping that you would not be asking this question. That apart every point in my resume was scrutinized and I was questioned on the same. I was asked about my projects in engineering college and also about extra curricular activities. Please be circumspect in such cases and do not lead the Technical architect to believe that you only focus on extra curricular activities alone. Believe me one of friends did just that and consequently lost an opportunity.At the end of the interview I was whether I had any questions so I quizzed him on the Higher degree program that IGATE has in collaboration with BITS Pilani.I could sense that the interviewer was pleased with the question and obliged to answer. I was quite optimistic about my chances after the Technical Round.

The HR round that followed was not taxing. Mind you, take the HR round seriously as your future may well depend on it. Do not mention any competitive exams in any of the interviews. They take it very seriously and you will dramatically lower your chances if you as much as breathe a word of entrance exams. Many of my friends lost out on job offers because of this silly mistake.The HR will test your overall readiness on the job so etiquette matter most when it comes to the HR. Simple things like not placing your portfolio on the desk unless asked to and greeting with a smile works wonders for you. The HR will ask you questions that are general in nature and gauge your presence of mind.In my case the first question that the HR asked me was who took your Technical interview. Thankfully, I remembered the name of the Technical Representative and made haste in answering the question. The HR lit up with a smile. I started feeling more optimistic. The questions that the HR put up next were bordering on my willingness to work for the organisation. I put up all the statistics that I had jotted down about the organisation during the pre-placement talk. Throughout the interviews I answered the questions with a calm and professional demeanor.I was quite tired and at the end of the HR interview as the interview concluded at quarter to 10 in the night.

After 15 days the results were declared. I was elated on seeing my name on the list of the selected candidates.The following blog will focus on the training of IGATE that I had in Chennai.

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