Hello Everyone, I am Aman. I am currently serving the role of Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in my startup, Dybo, which is based on Augmented Reality. Our team at Dybo has raised a funding of 1.2 Crore INR (162K USD), for which I am pleased to. Let me take you through my journey, starting from my childhood days.
I hail from a remote village in the Gaya district of Bihar. My father is a farmer and the only earning member of my family. Despite being from a farmer family, I feel privileged to get an education in a private school. The credit goes to my parents, who never compromised with our (me and my sister) education at any cost. My father was under the burden of heavy loans. Still, he never left believing that education is the only key to transform his kids' lives. His decision was firm that my kids would not go to any Hindi medium and government schools, and because of that, I was in touch with computers.
The love for the computers inside me goes way back. I enjoyed seeing the UI present in the computers. I used to go to relatives' homes to try their computers only for which they were happy. In class 8th, I got introduced to HTML for the first time. I found it really cool as we could attractively display things with just a few lines of code.
After my 10th standard, I went to Patna with a dream to crack the JEE Advanced exam. There were financial issues in the family, but my dreams were always bigger. But there is one famous quote, “Where There is a Will There ‘s a Way.” I heard about the Ramanujan School Of Mathematics, run by Anand Kumar, Founder of super 30. Fortunately, I got selected for it, and my JEE preparation started. Fees were not as high as others were taking, but even that amount was barely manageable for me. I tried hard but unfortunately was not able to crack the JEE Advanced exam on my first attempt. I was hurt, but that did not break my motivation. I was planning to make another attempt, but I could not ask for more money from my family this time. I learned about the Super30 program, where Anand sir provides free education for thirty meritorious students. This was the only option available to me, and hence I started preparing for it.
While preparing for Super 30, I found one book on C++ programming language — Jumping into C++ by Alex Allain. I had an I-ball tablet on which I used to read books. I found one app on the google play store where we can write some basic programs in the android environment and run them. That was my first attempt to write the logic in any programming language. I initially enjoyed it, but I got scared once advanced topics like memory allocation, etc., started. I thought that I would not be able to crack the Super30 test, and that's why I stopped going further with C++. Fortunately, I got selected for the program, and it was really relieving for me. Till this point, I could feel the transformation in my thinking behavior. For every mathematical problem, my first thought was, can we write programs for this. Writing the code for the quadratic equation was one of my happiest moments at that time. I sensed that the reason for this love with programming was my love for automation. Repetitive work always annoys me.
I cleared both JEE and BITS exams in my next attempt, but I was not getting any computer science or relevant fields in any top IITs based on my rank. That’s why I preferred BITS Pilani EEE. Another reason for choosing BITS was the 0% attendance policy here, which meant I could spend time with computers without worrying too much about daily academics.
I started my college career as an introvert. Some students already had covered programming language in their schools, and their English speaking skills were excellent. Especially related to coding, By the time I could barely think of the solution, their codes used to run. These things were frustrating and demotivating for me.
There are a lot of clubs inside the college that promote coding on campus. I entered the coding club of BITS Pilani, which I consider to be one of my best decisions. I consulted the club’s seniors and conveyed my exact problem of not finding solutions to the analytical questions within the given time. The seniors were very helpful. They gave me a list of projects to pick and tried to find my interest first. I selected the field of game development as 3D was fascinating to me. I went through some online courses of game development engines like Unity to gather the basic knowledge about that. But! Believe me; it was never easy for me. Other team members already had some hands-on in game development, and I was with beginner-level knowledge. These things were very demotivating for me as I felt scared about how I could compete with them.
I gathered some self-motivation and started doing some basic projects for self-learning. I never hesitated in seeking help from seniors and batchmates. Even in my second year, while working with juniors, I learned a lot of things. Our coding club developed a game from scratch in the Oasis every year — a cultural fest of BITS Pilani, and invited visitors to play. There were Virtual Reality games at that festival, but those were mainly purchased, not developed by the team. In my third year, I became the coding club coordinator, and my first resolution was that our team would develop the VR game this year. It was really challenging as none of us had any experience developing games with VR. We started slowly and successfully developed the game within a given time frame. It was one of the most talkative things in that year’s festival. People loved the idea of what we developed and were appreciating our efforts. Being the coordinator was one of the amazing experiences of my life, not only from the technical-knowledge perspective but also from my personal development perspective. It was the decision, which changed an introverted person to an extroverted one.
Based on my VR game development knowledge, people started knowing me. One day, Dhawal (Co-founder of Dybo) contacted me saying that he had some business ideas and was looking for someone to work on the tech part. Initially, I resisted a lot, but after thinking from a learning perspective, I joined Dhawal. The good thing was, this startup was already incubated in my college, and we had an office to work in. Because of the 0% attendance policy, I was able to work full-time on the technical part.
Then came my fourth year in college and the season of dream placements. I can clearly remember the scenario when my friends and batchmates were all dressed up going to give interviews, and I was going in half-pants to work in my startup. That was scary to me, and the reason for that, I was on a 100% education loan for the academic fees of BITS. Thoughts of not sitting in placements and not paying the loan amount had become a nightmare for me. I had already lost my sleep for some period. But, I believed in the idea and kept working for it.
I conveyed to my parents that I am not sitting in the placement session as I want to work on my startup idea. Initially, they disagreed because of the loan and the social norms, but they agreed when they saw my confidence.
Let me present this pointwise so that it will be easy to read:
One thing about technology is that you need to keep yourself updated and ready to evolve. There is one famous quote by APJ Abdul Kalam, which states
It is not unemployment which is a major problem; it is the question of ‘unemployability’ which is a bigger crisis.
You may have the skill, but still, you are unemployable as technology keeps evolving. There is no other option except to gain the newer skills and upgrade your knowledge around the newer evolved tools in such scenarios. Based on my experience, if I would have to suggest three technologies where one can make a successful career is:
I would personally suggest every programmer have a look at the book Clean Code by Robert C. Martin. In industries, writing cleaner code is one of the biggest challenges, and reading this book will surely provide you a better insight into how to clean your code.
Many friends thought of starting their own startup, but they did not pursue it because they always feared how it would run. So my suggestion would be: If you believe in your idea and want to know whether it will work or not, try it out and give it your 100%.
Enjoy learning, Enjoy thinking, Enjoy coding!
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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.
An inspiring success story of Dhananjay in computer science. He faced several challenges in his life journey and landed in the famous super 30 program run by Anand Kumar. After that, he went to IIT Kharagpur electrical engineering to start his journey of aspirations. He is currently working as a passionate software engineer in Mathworks.