Hi, I am Pankaj Kumar, a senior software back-end engineer at Isima.io, a hyper-converged data platform. Before moving forward to a life-changing experience in computer science, I would like to start with a personal life story. I am from a remote village named Gopalpur in the Siwan district of Bihar, where I completed primary and secondary education from my village government school.
The education journey started in some unique circumstances. I still remember that there was not even a single classroom in my school. We used to study under the tree in the summer and the winter season. Sometime the school’s headmaster had to request the villagers to provide some space where he can take the classes in the rainy season. Thus, a single teacher used to manage the entire school and teach all grade students together (1st to 5th Grade). However, even we were struggling to find drinkable water on the school premises.
Family’s financial condition was extremely critical, and hence I can not afford to go to JEE coaching classes. Fortunately, after completing secondary education, I came to know about Anand Kumar’s Super 30 program in Patna from a local newspaper. I somehow managed to go there and got selected for the Super30 batch. Anand’s sir unique teaching style always kept me motivated enough to go at any level of hard work. With Anand sir's guidance and consistent practice, I cracked the JEE advanced exam with a good rank. I was thrilled that my dream come true.
I had no prior knowledge of computers, but I was good at Mathematics. So based on the guidance of Super30 seniors, I picked Computer Science and Engineering department at IIT Kanpur as my major.
After joining college, I was trying my hands on the computer for the first time in my life. However, there was always a pressure on whether I will be able to perform better as the grades were relative. Some of my batchmates were already 2-3 years ahead of me in terms of programming knowledge.
I got introduced to Computer Science first time with the introductory programming course in C language. In the initial days, I was struggling to understand how loops work? How iteration happens, and how do we fill 2D arrays? It was tough for me to visualize the memory allocations. But at the same time, I found it fascinating that this small box of computers helps us solve several real-life challenges. So I never got demotivated and kept fighting with the concepts so that my learning become firm and practical.
I want to summarise these steps point-wise:
I was not good at communication skills which affected my placement as well. I was able to clear most of the aptitude and programming rounds but could not make it in interviews. But being privileged as a Computer Science Engineer from one of the best institutes, a Bombay-based firm offered a Data Analyst position. Believe me, I was not satisfied with my performance and decided to build a career in backend development. So I decided not to join the firm. This was not an easy decision as I was under the pressure of my family’s financial condition. But still! I left the offer and started preparing for off-campus placements.
After completing graduation, I joined AlgonoX, a Hyderabad-based firm, where I built an internal employee management system. After that, I switched to a B2B e-commerce firm MedleyMed where I worked as a Django developer. But fulfill my aspirations, after few months, I joined Fortanix, a cloud security firm, where I learned a lot as I managed their clients directly. I worked there for two long years.
Currently, I am working in the field of Backend development for Data Management. There are multiple technologies in which research and development works are happening every day. Hence, it is always necessary to explore the areas before starting a career around them. Moreover, it is always advisable to sense the future of that area in the coming ten years. Therefore, if I have to pin-point 3 of them, my suggestions would be:
There are some standard practices which I would like to emphasise:
In summary, I would like to say that: Hard work and continuous learning is always the key to success.
Enjoy Learning. Enjoy Thinking. Enjoy Algorithms!