Saturday, December 5, 2009

I got placed today. Yesterday to be accurate. Only five hours and ten minutes have passed since my placement in Cognizant. But appears like it has been ages!

I wanted to share my interview experience with you. December 3 was announced long back as the first round date. My semester exams were over on November 24. And I relaxed for a couple of days. Then downloaded Vidathu Karuppu (Marma Desam) series and watched it. It was Saturday, November 28, 2009 and I was watching Vidathu Karuppu still. Sunday morning I woke up at 9. I planned to start with aptitude. I was trying out the cube sums and syllogism rules. And I watched the film departed once again(I have so far watched it 4 times). I have developed a strong liking towards that film! The day was over. I received a mail from the placement cell that there was a pre-placement talk from Cognizant on December 2(2:00-6:00 PM).

November 30, 2009

The next day I planned to go to hostel and prepare the technical stuff along with my classmate John(he is THE technical wizard of my class). Karthi was to join me as well. There was an interesting question in the model question paper that the placement cell had mailed us.

Why result is different for:

int x=5;
int y;
y=++x + ++x + ++x;

int x=5;
int y=++x + ++x + ++x;

In Type 1: Line 3 is treated as an expression, and based on the “Operator Precedence” the increment [ ++ ] operator takes precedence over summation [ + ] operator. Hence in the expression, the increment operation is done first, and then the summation operation is done, thus the output of the expression will be "24".

In Type 2: Line 2 is treated as an assignment statement, and is hence evaluated from left to right. Thus the value of ' y ' in this case will be "21".

We started by discussing this question. Then we moved to data structures. When we were half way through data structures me and Karthi left for lunch. And though we retuned to the hostel by 1:15 itself, it took us another one hour to start again. We finished Data Structures and then moved to Computer Networks. In CN we brushed up the concepts like OSI layer, Topology, and other important concepts from Wikipedia. Then we started Operating system by 6:00 and finished it by 7:30. I was feeling very tired. But was glad that I learnt lot of stuff that day.

December 1, 2009

Then on Tuesday, I was just maundering over Database management system concepts. And resumed with aptitude.

I was searching for different formula and successfully stumbled upon this,
If a cube has n sides and all sides are painted and if it is cut into (n*n*n) identical cubes, then it has:
cubes painted on 3 sides: 8 ((n-2) power 0)
cubes painted on 2 sides: 12 ((n-2) power 1)
cubes painted on 1 side: 6 ((n-2) power 2)
cubes painted on 0 sides: 1 ((n-2) power 3)

Probably this was the only new thing I learnt that day.

December 2, 2009

The next day, I spent on my projects. Browsed through the code of all my projects. Fine tuned my resume and left to college. I reached at 12:30 in my college. Had lunch and was chit-chatting with Karthikeyan, Sathish alias(Sathish alias is his nickname) and Arun. The pre-placement talk was scheduled to begin at 2 'O' clock. But it never really began until it was 3:15.

There was a video display about Cognizant and Mr. Vishnu, the Vice President and Head of Coimbatore division of Coimbatore gave his speech. He was speaking about Cognizant, their policies and stuff like that. I don't know if it was the acoustics of the hall or the time. I was feeling damn sleepy. But tried with all my concentration power to focus on what he was speaking. After he finished his speech, there was a Q and A session.

I felt that my college mates posed senseless questions. Few like...
1. Is there a rejection panel during interview?
2. What do you provide for recreation to your employees?
3. Do you really recruit non-technical(OMG!) students?
and many more....

But Mr. Vishnu answered them patiently! This man has amazing patience.

Then there was quiz session, where there were questions about Cognizant and people got caps when they answered it right. I knew the answers for couple of questions. But never bothered to stand up and give the answer. A munch or perk would have motivated me. A cap? no way! Finally there was a passion video, shown about Lance Armstrong, a gymnast and Kapil Dev.

It was 4:45 when the program was over. I reached home and started preparing the aptitude question from TIME book. I really prepared well. I prepared 4 books of TIME. It was really easy.

December 3, 2009

The next day morning, I woke up, brushed through different coding problems and binary problems. Went to Arumugam Student's centre(in my college), that's where the exam was scheduled.

I had to fill out a form(much similar to my resume, except for the projects section). It had questions like what would be the qualities of a good software engineer? How do you think you would be a good software professional? etc.,

The test began at 10:00 and ended at 11:10.

There were three sections. Quantitative aptitude(25), Verbal(25) and Logical reasoning(20).

The test was very easy and there was no single question from what I had prepared!

I performed well in the first and the last sections. English was always a doubt. It depended on the cut-off. I knew I can make it if the cut- off was around 10 to 12.

I heard from Arun that the cut-off was 7. I was quite confident of clearing the round but never admitted it to anyone!

The results were announced in mic. and it was quite a long wait before my name came up. It was second in panel 7. Panel 7... Ah! May be luck is in my side, I was born on 25, my lucky number is 7 and my panel number was 7. Coincidence may be...

I came home. Watched the highlights of Indian innings where Sehwag was rocking with a double century. And then slept off by 8:00 PM itself.

December 4, 2009

Woke up early in the morning(4:00 AM) and prepared Object oriented Programing, revised operating system, networks, data structures, database management system, checked out my project codes and modules, and finally studied C.

I left to college. Interview began at 10:10 for me.

My interviewer was a very warm person. He greeted me by standing up from his chair, walking towards me and giving a firm handshake. And the little nervousness I had while entering the hall had vanished completely. I was feeling very comfortable. He resembled my friend Vikram's(thenga) brother and was a left hander.

Interviewer: Introduce about yourself.
Me: I am Deepak. blah.... blah... I have developed 9 Projects.
Interviewer: We'll go into projects later. Tell me about your family, hobbies.
Me: I am the only son to my parents. Hobbies...hmmm... I write short stories, novels and poems.
Interviewer: Novels... Tamil?
Me: No sir, in English.
Interviewer: Oh! Have you published.
Me: Should search for a publisher. But one novel is ready for publish. Planning to publish soon.
Interivewer: Whats the name of the novel? What's it about?
Me: Spoke about Mystic Murder
Interviewer: Why Cognizant?
Me: Mainly due to a senior, a super senior actually... She gave very positive feedback about the work culture in Cognizant and her experiences. And ofcourse the growth curve that I saw in wikipedia and during the pre-placement talk. Where it moved from 1 billion to 2 billion and so on exponentially. Other than this the enormous customer-base that Cognizant has is amazing sir.
Interviewer: That's cool Deepak. What's the name of that senior?
Me: Sowmya.
Interviewer: Where does she work?
Me: Chennai.
(All the while the interviewer was looking at my resume. Thank God! He read through all my projects)
Interviewer: Seems like you have done a pay roll software.
Me: It started off as a pay roll software sir. But with 6 iterations and 6 versions it has now become more of a HR software.
Interviewer: HR?
Me: Employees joining, leaving, attendance management, Performance appraisal, salary, leave, rating of employee...
Interviewer: Oh! Thats great! What language did you choose for this application?
Me: VB .NET.
Interviewer: Ok! Then tell me the difference between VB.NET and VB.
Me: Spoke about CLR for sometime. Then suddenly realized that I needed to give the simple answer- VB---> Component oriented, VB.NET---->Object oriented. When I was about to start with exception handling....
Interviewer: Fine Deepak. What do you know in DBMS? Just write down in this sheet of paper, he said, handing a sheet of paper.
Me: Started with files, tables.
Interviewer: Fine Deepak. Just write two tables, fill it with data and show a primary key and foreign key in those tables.
I started explaining as I was filling.
Interviewer: You fill and explain Deepak. Meanwhile can I have a look into your file?

I understood that he wanted to occupy me with some work while he was skimming through my file.

I started explaining the tables I had written. He said, just tell me the primary key and foreign key. I replied.

Interviewer: Deepak. You say a good software professional must be innovative. Can you give an example where you have been innovative?
Me: Explained about my paper called Graphentication of passwords, where i had proposed Google earth to be the password!

Interviewer: What do you think about recession? How it affects student community?
Me: Spoke everything I knew about it from banks, companies to Anna university Counselling!
Interviewer: Deepak do you know what SDLC is?
Me: Yes sir, SDLC means Software Development Life Cycle Process.
Interviewer: What are the SDLC's you know?
Me: Waterfall, win-win spiral, Spiral, Iterative, Prototype
Interviewer: What SDLC do you think Microsoft would have used to develop .NET?
Me: Iterative.
Interviewer: Reason?
Me: Explained the logic behind versions, bugs, problem with sun and such stuff.
Interviewer: Would Microsoft be tempted to use waterfall model for .NET development?
Me: I don't think so. Waterfall model is not for complex projects. It is for simple projects.
Interviewer: Where can you use Waterfall model?
Me: I had developed a project called ICAL(of course with Karthi and Arun). Which is a simple internal mark calculator with a relative booster like if the top mark is 15 then it gets boosted to 20. 10 gets boosted to 15. In that, the requirements were 3:

1. Collection of the internal assessment marks
2. Calculation of the total internal marks
3. Relative boosting

And I submitted it to a Microsoft contest called S2B. Where I had to develop it using Waterfall model. And all the phases were finished at one stretch.

But when I was developing a project called Pearl (Payroll management and Employee ARchivaL), I collected requirements from a particular person, who had given me the requirements but resigned when I next went there. Then explained certain nuances of the project where I was unable to implement waterfall model and instead I had to work on Win-Win Spiral model and it wasn't a true Win-Win Spiral model either. I had to mix it with Prototype model. For faster delivery of the software.
Interviewer: You say that you are the only son to your parents. I cannot guarantee you a job in Coimbatore. Would you shift your base?
Me: Definitely sir. That wouldn't be a problem at all.
Interviewer: Ok Deepak. I am done with you. Do you know whether Sehwag scored a triple hundred?
Me: No sir. Yesterday evening he was 284 not out. That's all I know.
Interviewer: Thought you would be knowing it. Didn't your friends message you?
Me: I had my cell phone switched off sir. I hope Sehwag scores another triple hundred and adds a really expensive dish in the menu card of his hotel :-)
Interviewer smiled.
Interviewer: Do you have any question for me?
Me: Sir? If I join Cognizant? How would you like me to spend the next six months? Should I learn something? Like I have heard that Cognizant works on mainframe?
Interviewer: Just continue your routine activities and enjoy your college life. Eh Deepak! I have the form that you filled yesterday. That's enough for me. You can take back the resume you had given me. I will place it in your file. It was nice talking to you Deepak.
Me: I had a very pleasant experience too sir.

After a firm handshake I started to walk back. I turned back and asked him.

Me:May I know your good name sir?
Interviewer: Shyam.
Me: Thank you sir.

My interviewer was the kind of dream interviewer I could ever imagine off. He was very friendly always smiling at me making me very comfortable.

I left the hall. I was confident of getting placed except for the one incident of him returning my resume. It was sowing some doubts in my mind.

Interview was finished in 22 minutes for me. I came out at 10:32 and nearly after a nine hour wait, I heard that I was selected.

My friends Karthikeyan and Johnson were selected too.