Friday, March 20, 2015

Communication Skill Is A Spring Board To Reach Great Heights

When people say confidence is the key to success, I say it in a different way. In the context of a workplace, confidence comes with good communication skills, at least in India. I always reiterate more about effective communication and contextual English. Effective expression means, expressing one's thought in a precise, unambiguous and to the point. The lesser the words, the better. The yardstick to measure good communication skill in English is the word count. One's ability to express all his thoughts but with the least number of words, showcases his/her power and command over the language.

There is no shortcut for achieving this greatness. It takes years together. And, it is acquirable through practice. It is a continuous process and one should keep updating his/her vocabulary with new words to use them in the right context. This is extremely important when putting the learned words to use.

Reading newspaper (I prefer 'The Hindu'), trying to write concise emails, putting the newly learned words in conversation with colleagues, are some ideas to make the efforts habitual.

What is 'God'?

Since my childhood, I always wanted to see God. I used to imagine him appearing on top of the mountain as a huge image coming from behind it, covering the entire sky, to bless me and kill the evil Asuras of this world. But, as I grew, my thoughts matured as a result of exhaustive reading of various books and I spent long hours questioning the validity of all spiritual conventions relating to god.

I started to think, How God can only be a human being rather than any other animal in this world or even a superior being than a human? When I read ancient history, I came to know that people who lived in BCE, personified various forces which are uncontrollable by human beings, such as sun light, rain, thunder, lightning etc and worshipped them as supreme beings, who are now cherished as 'Gods'. But... wait! In that case, if there is no god or supreme being then how this nature is so regulated? How the nature is self-governing? How complex beings such as human beings evolve from the so called unicellular organism like amoeba? Is this complex evolution possible without a supreme designer? 

The so called 'God' as we call, a supreme being, as believed by most of us, may be a human, an enormous energy, or even something superior like a gravitational force governing the entire universe.. I still have a lot of questions in my mind.. I am consulting various philosophers and their thoughts on the existence of God.. I don't know how long the journey would be but I am sure, this journey is going to be interesting !!! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It's My Story With Accenture

It was a big day for me on March 4th, 2015. I had quit a company which was an important part of my life. It all started in 2010 when I was taken into Accenture through off campus, which was a grim period with the climate of recession gripping all parts of the country. I couldn't forget the day when I was offered a job, in a multinational company. It was Feb 6, 2010. I walked with pride since I was one among the 130 candidates selected that day in the all-India level drive conducted at Kumaraguru College, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The offer was even more significant since it came in the midst of recession, when students were running from corner to corner for a job. It was a dream come true. I dialled my relatives, friends and loved ones to tell the news and was excited to tell the story of my interviews repeatedly to my friends, no matter how many times I was asked for. I told myself that my career is settled and put in the right direction and from then I didn't worry about it anymore. Days of worries vanished. Right from my childhood, I loved computers and I always dreamt of spending the whole of my life working with computers. I took a deep breath with a smile, as I travelled back to my home in bus, telling myself, looking outside the window, 'I did it'.

I waited for the joining date and it was intimated after a month or so as April 14, 2010. I was so excited. I started surfing internet about Accenture and I felt some happiness inside me on seeing Accenture logo. I don't know, I was a college student and getting into an MNC was a dream in those days. Finally I met the D-day too. I was put under Java training (being lucky enough to get what I loved) and I came out as a topper of the batch, scoring more than 90% in practicals. I felt that I was one step above all my peers and that gave me confidence and made me feel good.

After completing 2 months of training, I joined a project in Sholinganallur office. And I worked there for an year and a half, followed by another one for around 3+ years. The most important transformation within me was from a theoretical college student to a practical professional. It might not be uncommon but still it was very true in my case. It was my first MNC and this experience in Accenture would definitely influence my perception of IT industry and it did. I learned to manage people, to be harsher for the harsh, to be softer for the soft hearted, to make better decisions and to solve problems quickly. I understood that a person, who makes mistakes at the earliest and takes better decisions to solve problems quickly out of his experience, as he moves up the career ladder, will excel. He will be unstoppable. I think this is the secret of success.

I always wanted to tell my juniors that, anything done for the first time is always tough. But, if you do it for the second time, you will get to know it very well and third time will be a cake walk. So, it is always better to confidently jump into the water and test it, rather than sitting outside frightened by the experiences of failed candidates. These lessons are already said by all our good old philosophers but a typical human being realises it after getting himself hurt. This is similar to mathematics. When you read the theory it would seem confusing but if you workout a couple of problems, then you get it.

Loads of lessons! :) Finally, March 4th, 2015. My heart was not heavy preparing the last day mail. I know, I have to run... I cannot stagnate.. I have to keep moving ... Still a long way... I don't know the distance of my journey.. But, I have to run... miles .. and .... miles... and miles..... !!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How I cracked athenahealth Interview

athenahealth Technologies is one of the leading health care product companies. I am happy that I got through the interview and joined as an athena employee now. It was an interesting experience.

I was searching for job and one fine day, my friend who is working at athena told me that a recruitment drive is scheduled the following weekend and it would be a good opportunity for me if I take up the interview. I was quite interested and got me referred to the position through my friend. As I got the information at the last moment I couldn't get ample amount of time to prepare for the interview, but I was a bit confident with my preparations which I did for appearing other companies.

On the interview day, I went to the office in a casual T shirt and Jean, as there is no dress code. The first round was a programming round and there were 3 problems. They involve basic string operations and looping. One can choose his/her own language for writing the program. A basic knowledge of programming with a decent logical blend of mind will get you through this round. I appeared as an experienced candidate with 5 years of product development experience from Accenture.

The second round was a face to face round. There were two interviewers in the panel asking questions about data structures, time and space complexities, collections in Java, sorting and searching algorithms, and few questions from frameworks like spring and hibernate. I answered all the questions and got through this round as well. I think for data structures and algorithms one has to be strong in basics. Only then one can tackle unexpected complex questions fired on him/her. Basic knowledge and differences of list, queue, tree, etc and sorting algorithms like merge sort, quick sort (popularly used algorithms because of their time complexity).

The third round was again a face to face technical round which was a bit more difficult compared to the second one. Questions were from object oriented analysis and design, design patterns, data structures and algorithms, collections (and the difference in implementations) in Java, and multithreading. This round went for around 2 hours and again for this round too, instead of getting into too much of theoretical concepts, it is better to see from a practical point of view and get to know the basics well. This helped me in answering even the most complex questions. Problems were given to me on the above topics and papers were given to solve them. One more thing is even if you don't know the answer at the first instance, just give a try and put your efforts in solving it and thats the way to crack it! I got through the second face to face round as well.

The third and fourth rounds were again a managerial cum technical round where both the managerial and technical questions were asked, since I was with 5 years of experience. They had very few questions compared to the previous technical rounds. I got through them as well. The programming interview happened on a weekend and the rest of the round were conducted on a separate working day.

Finally, the HR round and I was offered a Technical Lead position and It was quite exciting :)