One valuable lesson I learned in the last few years is that - if opportunities are not available for or are hard to come by, then create them!
I was born and brought up in Gujarat and I completed my graduation from a government engineering college in electronics and communication. Since my early graduation years, I was interested in exploring the field of programming. But there wasn’t any specific programming language in the electronics and communication curriculum. So me and my friends decided to go beyond the course content and learnt Java on our own.
Despite our extra efforts, we didn’t get placed as the scope of decent jobs in the IT sector in Gujarat is quite limited. Having no placements by the end of seventh or eighth semester naturally injured our self-confidence. During those months, we relied on each other and coped with the circumstances together.
We made a joint decision to move to Bangalore in search of jobs after our graduation in 2015. Coming to one of the biggest tech hubs of the country, we thought our problems would be magically solved in this silicon land of opportunities. What we failed to realise, however, was that none of us had any guidance or any knowledge about cracking interviews, and the field we competed in was ruthless. To no one’s surprise, I was rejected from a number of interviews.
Knowing that my programming skills were strong, communication skills came up as the major reason for getting rejected. I wasn't given adequate training for improving our communication skills during school or college. I took time to somehow improve my communication skills on my own and decided to put myself through the interview process once again.
Once me and my friends started clearing the first rounds, things started to look good as we were able to ace the subsequent rounds of aptitude-testing and programming for most interviews. After what seemed like an eternity of struggles, I finally landed my first job. Then a better job offer came along in Pune after three years and I made a move across the country again.While relocating to different cities did demand extra effort, I didn’t mind it because it was an opportunity.
I knew that this is a very dynamic field with trends in technology changing faster than they emerge. Due to this nature of the field, learning never halts. Despite my stable work life, I kept on exploring ways to enhance my professional growth. I came across a few advanced courses and it came down to either Scaler or an open course at MIT.
To make a final call, I attended a few masterclasses at Scaler and decided to give it a try. Truth be told, learning and other professional opportunities at Scaler surpassed my own expectations.
I was lucky enough to find an amazing mentor. Whenever the schedule used to get hectic for me, my mentor would help me prioritise the topics that needed most attention. While that is precisely the role of every mentor, I felt the experience was worth mentioning because I never had a mentor to give me concrete guidance. Especially during my initial years of struggle, the need for receiving direction from a person who has experienced the same struggles seemed crucial. Majority of the things I learnt were either by making mistakes or by experimenting in interviews.
Towards the end, however, managing my time became slightly hectic for me. I had to focus on my job, attend lectures at Scaler and prepare for upcoming interviews as well. Giving enough time and attention to each of these individual aspects was hard but nevertheless, I tried to attend as many sessions as I could.
I joined Scaler with almost 5 years of experience, which opened many doors and I got calls from almost every recruiter. There were weeks when I even had 3-4 interviews lined up one after another. Although this part got hectic at times, I grew a lot with the help of Scaler and got exposure to opportunities that I am really grateful for. I am currently working as a Software Engineer at Cerence.
Being an individual who literally had to migrate extra miles in search of opportunities, I would just like to stress the importance of grabbing every opportunity, every chance that you come by. And if not, then get out into the world and create your own!
Connect with Mihirrajsinh Rana on LinkedIn