Scaler Diaries: Naman Bhalla's Journey to Scaler

5 min read
Scaler Diaries: Naman Bhalla's Journey to Scaler

Whatever I have achieved to date, is all a result of my passion and dedication to the field. If it hadn't been for the dedication, I doubt that an individual coming from a small town in Haryana with minimal resources would have landed a job at Google.

I graduated from BML Munjal University-a tier-III college in 2020. I have been interested in building applications and softwares since my high school years. My coding journey started quite interestingly actually. So in eighth class, we were given holiday homework on something related to hindi literature. Being a typical student, I went to the web to simply copy and paste the content. I couldn’t find anything on the net though. So I decided to put in a little effort and made my first website within 10-20 minutes. When the vacations were over and we submitted our homework, I saw that one of my classmates had copied the content entirely from a website that I made just a couple of days back. This incident made me realize the potential of programming and I haven’t stopped since then.

I knew I wanted to do engineering and I joined the rat race that every engineering aspirant goes through in 11th and 12th. I joined coaching along with my school. Now you know how intensive and burdensome the preparation is. As much as I was interested in this field, the heavy coaching started to take a toll on my mental health. I made a hard albeit smart choice of leaving coaching altogether.

But at the same time, my fascination with the field didn’t lessen. I was preparing for my future but just a little differently from my peers. So Oneplus was a relatively new company at that time and they had a very impressive developers community. I started taking part in it.

I was a part of the first developer team of the OnePlus software. As a gift, I received the OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus 3 for free from them. This was another moment that made me realize the scope of this field. Any person from any corner of the world could interact and build on the internet. I was an individual from a town in Haryana that had minimal resources and still I interacted with a team that works in China and contributed to the development of their software. This was kind of an awakening experience for me.

While this was an awakening experience, JEE immediately followed after this, and I didn't score a good rank. But honestly, it didn’t matter to me because I just wanted to study computer science regardless of the college that I was studying from. Don’t get me wrong. I knew the importance of tier-I colleges but I also knew that my passion and intent for learning in this field had the potential to outweigh any other factor.

Once I began college, the actual learning began in a structured format. I realized the limitations of not being in a tier-I college and the immediate lack of resources and opportunities. I knew the brunt of bridging that gap was on me. Owing to this, there wasn’t a single effort that I had not put in. I would watch any video from MIT or Stanford that I could get my hands on. During those four years, I learned everything from machine learning to data structure. Whatever excited me, I learned it in depth.

In my fourth year, I got a chance to interview with Microsoft for an intern position. I had only prepared for 15 days for it and I wasn’t able to clear it. This rejection brought a realization with it. I realized that even though I am learning as much as I can, there are still some aspects of my learning that need to be worked harder upon. The Microsoft interview was an eye-opener because such prestigious opportunities were hardly just offered to us and being under-prepared when they came was simply not an option.

Coincidentally, Scaler came into the picture then. I got my rejection on 10th March 2019 and Scaler launched its course on 15th March 2019. I religiously spent the next 6-7 months spending four hours a day minimum on practice. On average, I used to solve a minimum of 10 problems a day. The moment the college classes used to get over I would come back to my room and start completing the college work. From 9 pm to 1 am, I would dedicate the hours to lectures or solving problems on my own. My efforts bore a tangible result when I was on the top of the leader board that Scaler had just introduced.

I also got a referral for CureFit through Scaler. I cleared all the rounds, got a good offer from CureFit for an internship, and was supposed to join it in August. But life is not that simple, is it? My college refused to allow me to join that internship. Throughout my course, I was in close contact with both Abhimanyu and Anshuman. They stepped in and requested my college authorities to allow me to go for this internship as it was a good opportunity for me. After days of such hassles, I finally joined them in September.

After this, Google came into the picture. Google contacted me on 24th October, a date I vividly remember as it was my birthday. I was very nervous though and I was brimming with self-doubts. Abhimanyu motivated me a lot during that time. Pragay and Utkarsh were the two instructors who took my mock interviews for preparation. Both of them gave me pretty good feedback. I finally gave the interview and ended up clearing all the rounds. I later got to know from my recruiters that it was an easy yes for them. The offer letter came through on 23rd December which was coincidentally Abhimanyu’s birthday. He was elated and couldn’t have been happier for me.

During the gap between CureFit and Google, I also taught at Scaler for 3-4 months. Then I started working at Google and got great opportunities. I was assigned to a project where I got an opportunity to work with a person who had worked with Larry Page. I was at Google for one year but I wanted to receive the experience of working at startups. I discussed this with Abhimanyu and he offered me to join Scaler. So now, here I am at Scaler, working in the product team.

I have learned in my journey to never shy away from reaching out to people. Being in a tier-III college, opportunities were hardly served on a platter. We had to create opportunities for ourselves. I used to approach the founders of tech companies for internships and more often than not, I ended up getting a reply from them. In short, it all comes down to your dedication and intent that stems from the passion for the field. And if you have the intent for learning, there are no barriers that can stop you from excelling!

Connect with Naman Bhalla on Linkedin


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