Having chosen civil engineering upon his family’s advice, Anurag decided to switch to his natural calling- Software development, when he couldn’t get a good placement opportunity in his college placements.
Following the same path as his brother Ashish who went from driving cabs to becoming an engineer, Anurag joined the full-stack web development course at Masai School. Amidst difficulties and hurdles, he completed the 7-month program and got himself placed as a product engineer at HyperTest, a tech startup that monitors traffic and tests APIs for business applications.
In a conversation with Anurag, he shed some light on his journey and talked about how Masai opened the doors for a high-growth career.
Here are a few excerpts from the conversation-
How're you feeling now?
It's a great feeling. Becoming self-independent at the age of 20 feels great. My parents are so proud of me.
Tell us about yourself.
I am from Munger, Bihar. I've completed my diploma in Civil Engineering from LNCT Bhopal. Since childhood, I wanted to be a software engineer but as there's not much scope for govt jobs in the software field, my family and relatives advised me to opt for Civil Engineering.
Before Masai, I was an average student. I wasn't interested in studies and didn't have a defined goal. Masai made me realize the importance of purpose in life- what should I aim for in the next 5-10 years.
What happened after you graduated your college? Tell us about your college placements.
College placements were not satisfactory. A few companies that came in were offering a maximum of 1-2 LPA for civil engineering roles.
Also, there were a few IT companies like Cognizant, Wipro, and Infosys in the hiring pipelines.
We didn't even learn a single thing about programming in the 4 years at college, how were we supposed to crack IT roles all of a sudden?
All in all, it was a forgettable experience.
What did you do after college?
I’d made up my mind to pursue a career in software, and so I started learning to code right after college. In the meantime, my elder brother Ashish got placed as a software engineer after learning from Masai. His success worked as a driving factor and I joined Masai.
My parents were initially skeptical - even though they witnessed a successful story in our family. This speaks volumes about how badly education institutes have broken the trust of parents, and children.
Here’s how his brother Ashish turned his career around with Masai-
Describe the Construct week experience.
In the first construct week in Unit 2, two of my team members fell sick and it was all left to the remaining two of us. Instructors were helping us when we had doubts. Finally, we managed to build the project within time. It was a wholesome experience.
That was a clone of the Healthkart's website where we only worked on the front-end part. Construct week projects made me fully prepared for industry roles. After building 4 real-time projects, I didn’t feel like a fresher anymore.
What other challenges did you face at Masai?
In Unit 4, my father got a cardiac arrest. It was a hard time for us. I was uncertain about continuing the course as I had missed a few classes. I raised this to my EC (Excellence Champion) Arushi Nagar, and she assured me that I'd get to recover the topics I'd missed. Her help gave me a lot of courage in those rough times.
Did you get Async? How did it work out for you?
I had problems with back-end engineering in Unit 3. That's how I got the Async. But I feel it was for the best as I got to learn the back-end part twice and eventually became proficient at it.
As a matter of coincidence, my current job role is concerned with back-end development.
“Async at Masai is different from say backlogs in college. If a student isn't able to perform well in the unit test, they're asked to join the next batch in line and resume that very unit that they couldn't clear. Masai's team focuses on finding the exact point of weakness in a student and teaches them with a revised approach. Async is there to make sure that students don't miss any concept in their pursuit of becoming a Full-stack developer.”
What do you have to say about the IWY teaching methodology?
I liked the I Do-We Do-You Do method of teaching as the topics go straight into your head. Following the instructor first and then coding on your own is the best way to learn. I think it should be implemented in every other branch of study and not just in coding. Colleges should definitely follow this model.
How did you prepare for placements?
At the end of Unit 5, I was worried if I still remembered everything taught in the last 5 months. But luckily, the 6th unit was dedicated to revision and preparations for the placements.
The Masai team highlighted the important parts we needed to work on. Also, there were mock technical interviews by industry mentors which helped me a great deal. Actually, it was my first interview sort of experience as I'd never sat in front of a camera for an interview before. In the end, the mentor gave me feedback on what was my strong areas and what areas I needed to work more on.
How does Masai help in building professionalism?
Masai has designed the curriculum in a way that it covers A-Z of things needed to get a student placed in a top company. Apart from the soft skill sessions that we had almost every day helping with communication and interpersonal skills, Masai focused a lot on our LinkedIn profile building, social media presence, and most importantly resume-building.
The team helped us in refining our resume 2-3 times before it was sent forward to the companies. In fact, there were separate sessions for that. This shows how they focus on each and every element in building a student's employability. And they know what the industry needs from a candidate.
How many companies did you sit for during placements at Masai?
The first company I sat for was Techion Corp. I wasn't able to crack that interview. Two more companies came in but I still couldn't find any success. Later on, I got shortlisted by two more companies including an MNC and a startup named HyperTest. I cracked both their interviews and opted to work for HyperTest as I was more inclined toward start-ups.
Currently, I'm working as a product engineer, mostly in the back-end domain.
What's the fastest way to learn to code for a student?
If you're asking about full-stack development from start to finish, I think learning at Masai school is the fastest way. No doubt a student can learn a few concepts here and there on YouTube and other platforms, but Masai teaches you everything(MERN Stack, DSA) in a structured manner which makes the difference, and that too in just 7 months.
Self-learning from random sources is like touching the water's surface whereas learning at Masai is like going deep into the ocean and coming out with a treasure. You just can't compare.
What are your future plans?
I have ambitions of working for Google in the next 5 years time. Masai has helped me develop this mindset so I can aim for high-end career options now. I have the confidence to crack Google's interviews in the future and I have a roadmap to get there. I'm working towards it, and hopefully, I'll be able to get there one day.