My Journey from Hotel Management student to Software Engineer

Every journey has to start some where, I am going to start mine from my graduation.

Why am I telling this now? As, I am celebrating my 6th year (1st July) work anniversary, want to go back to where i had started. Currently I am working as a Senior Engineer in an IT firm at Bangalore.

I am a hotel management graduate(also a chemistry graduate), then went on to do a masters in computer science and later became a software engineer.

BHM (Bachelor of Hotel Management 2003-06) – As every student, even I had a big confusion on what to pursue after +2. I was aware of only two options (engineering or science), but not interested in both of them. While i was looking for other options, got to know about hotel management course. Pretty simple, it is 3 years, daily 4–5 hour classes, and there is no need to study much. Main thing that attracted me was, it is a job oriented course. Convinced my father and enrolled for BHM in Visakhapatnam. Everything was going smoothly, until i dig deeper into the subjects, and career prospects, realized that, this is not the field for me. But because of various reasons, had to continue the course, and completed with two internships at Pune and Ahmedabad. Later got job offer in Ahmedabad, but didn’t accept it. This is where my relation with Hotel field has ended.

Bsc (Bachelor of Science 2004–07) – While i was enrolling for this course, was not even sure whether i will be completing it or not. But, when i got to know that BHM course is not going to work for me, this one came in very handy. This is also 3 year course (Chemistry specialization), but requires only one month class attendance, as it is in distance mode. First year couldn’t attend classes as i was out of town. But by second year, understood that, this is much needed degree for me. In second year, attended all the classes and written 12 papers, back to back for about two weeks. I was able to clear 10 papers among 12. Final year, i was in tricky position, had 8 papers to clear, if i miss any one of them, i had to wait one more year to write. Put all my effort, and luckily was able to clear all the papers and got my degree.

MCA (Master of Computer Applications 2007–10) – Using my Bsc degree, got admission for MCA in Bangalore. I was not having big hopes on how i am going to do in this. But my career was pretty much depended on this course. First semester nothing went in my way, was low on confidence, new place, new subjects, difficult to grasp. At one point, i had also thought of leaving the course. But somehow i had written first semester exams.

In first semester break, i had gone to native place. There was lot of thinking going in my mind, if i leave this course, what other option do i have, or am i too scared of this. If i switch the course, how much guarantee is that i might not feel the same way about the other one. At last, whatever happens, decided to stick to the course, and promised myself that, will try to do my best. Convincing myself was easy, but not learning the computer subjects.(at least for me).

From second semester, i tried to learn everything differently, used to connect all the subjects (as all are under umbrella of computer), and learning the concepts in what, why, and how approach. Till that time, whatever i study, i used to study by keeping exams in my mind. But not any more, i wanted to truly learn the subjects, just not only for the exams. Each concept, i used to study, by what is this concept, why is it needed, what problem it solves, what advantage it brings, and how are we approaching the problem before. For programming, used to practice more and more.

Most of the things i learned from one of our faculty Jaini madam. She guided me through out my MCA. For all the issues and doubts, i used to approach her. Best thing she taught me was, how to learn something all by myself. Whole life i will be thankful to her. From second semester on wards, i did pretty good, and passed MCA in distinction with 81%. This was one of the biggest achievement in my life.

Job – From first on wards, i am aware of my chances in Campus interviews. As i am not having consistent percentages through out the education (10th, +2, graduation, post graduation). Didn’t get a single chance to attend any campus interviews, even i can not apply to any of the big MNC’s. This percentage problem bothered me little bit, but this is already expected so not much worries there.

I had got an wonderful opportunity to do my final year project (Internship) in Symphony services. I got a chance to work and learn .NET technologies. I was there for about 5 months. At that time, there was not many fresher openings at Symphony, so had to look outside for job. But thankfully my manager gave me an option for extending my internship, until i get a job.

So i completely depended on job portals. As i was already working on .NET & had a strong base on Data structures and algorithms, it was little bit easy to clear the interviews (especially as a .NET fresher). Got two job offers, from two companies (although pay is very less compared to big MNC’s), opted one and joined on July 1st 2010. I had appeared for my final project Viva on June 4th 2010, and within a month i had already started working. This is what i had aimed for, to reduce the gap between my final exam, and my job joining date, as much as possible.

This journey was not completely about getting the job, also about finding my self, overcoming fears, and increasing my self confidence.

Some Wonderful moments:

  1. When i had gone to university to check my Bsc final year result, there was a mistake on the notice board, my number was in failed list. for a bit, my life shattered there. But went to office to check backlog details, office staff told me there was a mistake in the results, i had actually passed. Can’t even express that feeling in words.
  2. For each semester, Bangalore university announce the results, after 2–3 months. When i was in native place, enjoying my 2nd semester break, it was around 20–25 days after the exams, suddenly got a call from Jaini madam, saying that results are out, and i am the topper in the class with 81%. I was not at all believing that (It took little bit of time for madam to convince me). I still remember that day (July 19th 2008), it was one of the magical moments.
  3. Winning IT quiz prize with my friend Venkat in Inter college competition held at Sambharam college of management.
  4. Sitting for a week, and creating a multimedia website (using HTML, CSS and JavaScript), for academic submission.
  5. I used to visit my friend who used to stay at electronic city, his room was very near to Infosys campus. I used to tell him, one day will definitely get a job here. But i couldn’t apply there because of my degree marks percentage. But later after 5 years when i was trying to switch the job, got an invite to attend an interview at Infosys (same campus). Cleared all the rounds, and got job offer. But couldn’t accept it. (not satisfied with their package 🙂 )
  6. As part of BHM, i did an Internship at Hotel in Ahmedabad. That time there was 2006 ICC Champions Trophy was happening, and India, England, Srilanka teams stayed in our hotel. I had the privilege to see all of them very closely.

Thanks to

  1. My father, for supporting me in everything, and never saying no to whatever i want to pursue.
  2. Jaini madam, for the guidance.
  3. My cousin Srikanth, and Hareesh Shastry for giving the Internship opportunity at Symphony services.

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