Try it out. No matter you will pass or fail, but you will definitely learn

Introduction

Hello everyone, my name is Aman. I am currently serving as the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at my startup, Dybo, which focuses on Augmented Reality. Our team at Dybo has raised 1.2 Crore INR (162K USD) in funding, and I am pleased to be a part of it. Let me take you through my journey, starting from my childhood.

Background

I come from a remote village in the Gaya district of Bihar. Despite belonging to a farming family, I feel fortunate to have received an education at a private school. I have my parents to thank for this, as they never compromised on our (my sister's and my) education, regardless of the cost. My father was burdened with heavy loans, but he never lost faith in the idea that education is the key to transforming his children's lives.

The first interaction with computers

My love for computers goes way back. I enjoyed exploring the user interfaces on computers and would visit relatives' homes just to try out their computers, which they were always happy to let me do. In 8th grade, I was introduced to HTML for the first time. I found it fascinating because with just a few lines of code, we could create attractive designs.

After completing 10th grade, I went to Patna with the dream of cracking the JEE Advanced exam. Despite financial difficulties in my family, my dreams were always ambitious. I learned about the Ramanujan School of Mathematics, founded by Anand Kumar, the creator of Super 30.

Fortunately, I was selected for the program and started preparing for the JEE exam. The fees were more manageable compared to other schools, but still a challenge for me. Although I didn't succeed in cracking the JEE Advanced exam on my first attempt, I didn't let it demotivate me. I planned to try again but couldn't ask my family for more financial support. That's when I decided to join the Super 30 program, where Anand sir provides free education to 30 meritorious students. It was my only option, so I began preparing for it.

During my preparation for Super 30, I came across a book on the C++ programming language called "Jumping into C++" by Alex Allain. I had an I-ball tablet on which I read books, and I discovered an app on the Google Play Store that allowed me to write basic programs in the Android environment and run them.

This was my first experience writing logic in any programming language. Initially, I enjoyed it, but as I delved into more advanced topics like memory allocation, I became intimidated. I thought I wouldn't be able to pass the Super 30 test, so I stopped exploring C++ further. Fortunately, I was selected for the program, which was a huge relief for me.

By this point, I could sense a transformation in my thinking and behavior. Whenever I encountered a mathematical problem, my initial instinct was to consider whether I could write a program to solve it. One of my happiest moments during that time was when I successfully wrote code to solve the quadratic equation. It made me realize that my passion for programming stemmed from my love for automation. I always found repetitive work to be quite bothersome.

On my next attempt, I managed to pass both the JEE and BITS exams. However, my rank didn't secure me a spot in a top IIT for a computer science or related field. That's why I decided to pursue Electrical and Electronics Engineering at BITS Pilani. Another factor that influenced my decision to choose BITS was their 0% attendance policy, which meant I could dedicate more time to computers without overly worrying about daily academic attendance.

College Journey

As an introvert, I faced struggles at the beginning of my college journey. Many of my classmates had already mastered programming languages and possessed excellent English-speaking skills, particularly in the context of coding. It was frustrating and demoralizing to witness their code running smoothly while I grappled to come up with a solution.

However, joining the coding club at BITS Pilani turned out to be a wise decision. I approached the senior members of the club and shared my struggles with them. They proved to be incredibly helpful, providing me with a list of projects to choose from and attempting to identify my interests. I decided to focus on game development, particularly in the realm of 3D and enrolled in online courses to gain a foundational understanding of game development engines like Unity.

Despite acquiring this knowledge, I still found it challenging to keep up with team members who had more experience in game development. Feeling like I couldn't compete with them was demoralizing. Nevertheless, I was determined to persevere and enhance my skills.

To overcome my lack of self-motivation, I began working on basic projects for self-learning. I never hesitated to seek assistance from seniors and classmates. Even when collaborating with juniors during my second year, I acquired valuable insights. Our coding club embarked on developing a game from scratch each year for BITS Pilani's cultural fest, Oasis, and encouraged visitors to play it. While the festival featured virtual reality (VR) games, they were typically purchased rather than created by a team.

In my third year, I assumed the role of coordinator for the coding club. My initial resolution was for our team to develop a VR game for the festival. This presented a significant challenge as none of us had prior experience in VR game development. We started slowly but managed to successfully create the game within the designated timeframe. It was a hit at the festival, and people appreciated the unique concept we had brought to life, expressing their admiration for our efforts.

Serving as the coordinator was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life, not only in terms of technical knowledge but also in personal growth. This decision facilitated a transformation within me, turning me from an introverted individual into an extroverted one.

Startup Decision

Based on my expertise in VR game development, I started gaining recognition. One day, Dhawal, the co-founder of Dybo, reached out to me. He had some business ideas and was in search of someone to handle the technical aspects. Initially, I hesitated about the opportunity, but ultimately, I made the decision to join Dhawal.

One reason was that the startup was already incubated in my college, and we had an office space to work in. Additionally, the 0% attendance policy at my college allowed me to dedicate myself full-time to the technical aspects of the startup.

During my fourth year of college, the season for dream placements arrived. I recall my friends and classmates dressing up for job interviews while I went to work at my startup in casual attire. This situation was nerve-wracking for me since I had taken a 100% education loan to cover my academic fees at BITS. The thought of not participating in the job placement process and being unable to repay the loan was a nightmare. It kept me awake at night for a while. However, my belief in the startup idea kept me going, and I continued working on it.

I informed my parents that I wouldn't be partaking in the job placement process because I wanted to focus on my startup idea. Initially, they disagreed due to the loan and societal expectations, but eventually, they came around when they saw my confidence in the project.

Startup Execution

Let me present this pointwise so that it will be easier to read:

  1. Initially, our idea was to create virtual house plans and offer interior design services using VR technology. However, we soon realized that this technology was still too new and not yet ready for widespread adoption. As a result, we decided to pivot our business to the augmented reality (AR) domain, which I was open to exploring.
  2. Another challenge we encountered was the Covid-19 pandemic. Just as we were beginning to gain customers in Mumbai, the lockdown was imposed. Our previous approach involved physically visiting their stores to acquire customers, but the new guidelines prevented us from leaving our rooms. Consequently, we had to adapt our marketing strategy and enhance our products to cater to the online market.
  3. Working from home, especially as a startup, presents its own set of challenges. Our work involves 3D models and designs that require constant discussions, but virtual meetings have certain limitations, making it challenging to maintain a swift pace.
  4. During the pandemic, we relocated from Mumbai to Gurgaon and are now operating from Bangalore.
  5. We secured our initial round of funding from Spanache, a prestigious venture capital firm. It was a moment of pride for all of us.

Yourstory snap

Source: Yourstory.

Technologies to explore

One thing about technology is that you need to stay updated and be ready to evolve with it. There is a famous quote by APJ Abdul Kalam that states, "It is not unemployment that is the major problem; it is the question of 'unemployability' that is a bigger crisis."

Even if you have the necessary skills, you may still be considered unemployable if you don't have the most current knowledge and skills. In such situations, the only option is to learn new skills and stay up-to-date on the latest tools and technologies.

Based on my experience, I believe there are three technologies that can lead to a successful career:

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

These technologies have the potential to completely change our perspective. We have seen holographic movies for a long time that allow us to sense the presence of an object that isn't actually there. You might not realize it, but your phone can be a gateway to a completely different world where you can do almost anything you want, such as building your own home or hosting physical meetings.

Many tech giants, like Apple and Facebook, are heavily investing in this area. Apple is working on AR glasses to make the virtual experience more realistic, and Facebook has also announced its focus on this space. Our smartphones are becoming more powerful every day, providing a strong foundation for the growth of AR technologies. I believe this is one of the most promising areas for a career in technology.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

There is no doubt that this industry will be huge in the near future. And when we combine AR and VR technologies with AI, it becomes even more promising. A small example of this is Google's recent addition of occlusion to its AR vertical using AI. They use deep learning techniques to mask objects in between, providing a more realistic impression. Data is everywhere, so we need technology to utilize that data.

Blockchain

The third technology that I see potential in is blockchain. If you remember, Jack Dorsey (Founder of Twitter) recently auctioned his first tweet. You might wonder, "How can we sell a tweet?" If we can demonstrate its authenticity and provide ownership, we can sell anything. Blockchain tokens can serve as a true authentication mechanism, similar to a signed copy of an item.

When we associate data with a blockchain token, the security level increases. I have personally seen friends in this field never having difficulty finding clients or funding. So, I believe this is an area that will continue to grow, making it a good choice for a career.

Tips and Guidance

  1. Never regret any decision in life. Being in guilt of whatever has actually passed now will only ruin the motivation for the future. So it's better not to regret but to think with a progressive mindset.
  2. I have personally seen many learners drop out at the start from the computer science field. I would suggest giving it some time. Seek proper guidance from seniors and don't get burned out at the beginning by thinking that you cannot do it.
  3. Don't think of computer science as just a course, but perceive it as a tool that helps you solve daily problems. By adopting this mindset, you will easily be able to keep yourself motivated.
  4. To solve any bigger problem, break it into several smaller subproblems and then combine the solutions as a whole to solve the bigger problem. There may be scenarios where you won't find any help from the internet, making the problem statement even tougher. But breaking bigger problems into smaller ones smooths out the process of solving something complicated.

Book Recommendation: I highly recommend that every programmer read the book "Clean Code" by Robert C. Martin. In the tech industry, writing clean code is one of the biggest challenges, and this book will pr

Final Remarks

I have many friends who have thought about starting their own startup, but they never pursued it due to fear of how it would turn out. My advice would be: If you believe in your idea and want to see if it will work, give it your all and give it a try.

Enjoy learning, Enjoy thinking, Enjoy algorithms :)

Share Your Insights

☆ 16-week live DSA course
☆ 16-week live ML course
☆ 10-week live DSA course

More from EnjoyAlgorithms

Self-paced Courses and Blogs

Coding Interview

Machine Learning

System Design

Our Newsletter

Subscribe to get well designed content on data structure and algorithms, machine learning, system design, object orientd programming and math.