Prakhar has always been a good student, even when he was young. In 2012, he did even better in 12th grade, scoring 92% on the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) exam.
He took a one-year drop in 2013 to study for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). And his efforts paid off. In 2014, Prakhar enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering programme at Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology - Surat.
Prakhar studied engineering but fell in love with programming. His passion for machines and programming led him to Robotics which enabled him to represent his institute in the Indian Rover Challenge and NIT-Uttarakhand Challenge.
Prakhar completed his degree in 2018. But things went wrong in Prakhar's life that caused him to go from place to place for three years. Masai gave him hope in a time of uncertainty. He started his software engineering career at Masai in March 2021. After 30 weeks, he landed a well-paying position at 5Paisa.
Prakhar recently joined us to share his inspirational journey. Read about a person who never gave up.
NIT-Surat is a prestigious institute and placements should not have been a problem. Why did you not get placed anywhere?
In 2018, in my last semester of college, IIT Bombay hired me as a Research Assistant. It pulled me to research, so I didn't look for other jobs but had to drop out because of personal reasons.
This left me with no other option. So, I prepared for GATE and applied to IITs for my master's. I thought that a top institute would be able to meet my research needs.
What did you do between 2018 and 2021?
As stated previously, I was interested in research, therefore I began preparing for the GATE Mechanical Engineering exam hoping to gain admission to an IIT. I believed I would be able to quench my hunger for research in a prestigious institution.
I could not pass GATE on my first attempt. I passed it on my second attempt, but; I was unable to gain admission to any IIT for my master's degree. I gave up my dream of attending an IIT in 2020.
As I was interested in programming and had some basic knowledge I started looking for paid and unpaid internships. I got one opportunity in a matrimonial app. I was a paid intern there and earned 7.5k in one and a half months.
During my internship and free time, I worked on multiple projects that gave me a good grip over Python and Flask. My love for programming was increasing day by day.
In January 2021, to learn programming, I started my preparation for a program provided by CDAC-Pune. It is a six months diploma program. But, I could not get admission because of my low rank. I was really disappointed by that.
How did you discover Masai?
While I was totally demotivated and confused about my next step, after failing to get into CDAC-Pune, a friend of mine told me about Masai.
He works in ShareChat, an Indian social media and social networking service, developed by Bangalore-based Mohalla Tech Pvt Ltd. He told me about Aayushi Shah, who had got placed as a software engineer in ShareChat, despite being a commerce graduate. She was an alumnus of Masai.
I saw a ray of hope in Masai. I desperately wanted to excel at coding. I researched more about Masai. The Pay After Placement(PAP) seemed really beneficial and attractive. Finally, in March 2021, I joined Masai.
When you first joined Masai, I'm sure the first two units were quite easy for you. How has your experience been since then?
Yes, to be very honest, the first two units had been really easy for me since I had all the basic knowledge.
The real learning started in the third unit. Advanced learning started from Unit 3 which is absolutely mandatory for the interviews. The experience of learning had been really fun and challenging since then.
What challenges did you face at Masai?
Many people might believe that since I've worked on so many projects, I was a brilliant student at Masai. But unfortunately, that's not true. Despite my numerous earlier projects, I wasn't as good as other bright kids.
I had a lot of problems, especially in the last unit. In that unit, we learned how to use React. The first time I tried to learn it, I couldn't. I couldn't finish 3 of 15 assignments in that unit. It was a really trying period for me.
However, compassionate mentors came to my rescue at that moment. I was able to learn React properly after revisions from qualified mentors. I completed all assignments at once.
How did Masai manage to transform a Mechanical Engineer into a Software Engineer in just 30 weeks?
Masai provided me a platform that assured me if I really work hard, I can definitely be a software engineer. This reassurance takes away a lot of pressure from the heads of learners and they can simply focus on their learning.
Also, I look at the PAP as if it is an investment into a loan that promises you good results in the end. So you are carefree while you are a student at Masai and your focus is not diverted anywhere else.
Combine all of these with a great curriculum and helpful mentors, and you will have a solid software engineer after just 30 weeks.
What are your hobbies?
I really like to read books. Think and Grow Rich, a book authored by Napoleon Hill in 1937, is one of my favourite books.
There are two other novels on my list. The first is Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a 1997 book by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. I want to finish it. Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam, Former President of India, is the second book on my list. Dr. Abdul Kalam and Arun Kumar wrote it.
What are your views on the practice-based curriculum of Masai?
First, I thought I couldn't learn for so long from 9 am to 9 pm for 6 days. Even my parents were skeptical. They even doubted that I could sit in front of my laptop for so long.
When activities develop on schedule, it's easier to manage a busy day. The tight timetable becomes routine. When hard work assures growth, it's easier to maintain. You slowly gain habits that make you disciplined.
They teach the lessons to you in bits and pieces. And that makes learning simple. So you're motivated to study every day.
What did you do in Construct Week, and how is it helpful?
Construct weeks are actually very helpful. The bond we build with our teammates throughout construct week is important for years to come. You stick together after Masai, through thick and thin.
Construct week projects are made similarly by different team members. This teaches cooperation. Since you develop projects firsthand, you can readily answer difficult interview questions. You can also simply complete projects at work. These construct weeks prepare students to work in any job situation from day one.
During the first construct week, we cloned Netmeds, an e-pharma service that sells real prescription drugs and health supplies. In the second construct week, we worked on the backend of the same project. In the third construct week, we built a Twitter clone.
What do you think about the mentors of Masai?
I'd want to thank Masai's Instructor Associates first. Instructor Associates have always helped Masai students' emotional well-being outside the classroom. They're strong, confident, and motivated.
The mentors are super-helpful. I'm not exaggerating. In live classes, we could interrupt the mentor and ask as many questions as we wished. Because of this, doubts were cleared quickly.
How did your parents react when you got placed?
When I received the news of my placement from the team of Masai over the phone, my mother was sitting just next to me. And, she was able to understand it by the expressions that I was placed. She was thrilled to hear that.
My father was equally happy when he heard the good news. He was also happy with my company and praised it.
What was the reaction of your friends when they came to know about your placement?
“You were a mechanical engineering graduate and how can you be a software engineer?”
This was the first line my friends could utter, after hearing about my placement. It was unbelievable for them. I did not tell them about Masai.
“How? Where? Why? When?” The questions kept coming. That is when I created a group and answered all their queries in that group. I told them about Masai and its workings. It really impressed them.
What are your plans for the future?
My focus and first goal are on reaching a salary of seven figures. I plan to reach there by strengthening my learnings from Masai about Java and Data Structure.
What has Masai taught you that will be helpful for the rest of your life?
Masai has taught us to find an answer to a question on our own, no matter what it takes. They were able to develop this habit by giving out assignments that demanded hard work and intelligence. We were never spoon-fed with the answers or the solutions. We were just shown the way of getting to the solutions.
Rather than worrying about the problem, we look for the solution. And, we do not give up till we have the solution. This trait will make us stand out in the crowd, for the rest of our lives.
Is it worth paying three lakhs to Masai?
Yes, definitely, it is worth paying. Masai is inviting you to upskill yourself and make yourself job worthy, without paying any upfront fees.
Basically, all you have to do is sharpen your skills with Masai and get a good job. You are required to pay your fees only after you start earning more than 5LPA. What else can be better than that? Once you have a decent job, three lakhs is not a big amount.