Friday, 10 March 2017

Going beyond the IIT tag

Hello readers, It's been a long time since I wrote a blog post. I had been involved with something exciting!

My undergrad is about to end in another 2 months. IIT Bombay has given me a lot in the past 4 years. It has not only helped me shape my career, but also helped me become a better person. I gained knowledge, I gained recognition, I gained contacts and I gained readers - all thanks to this IIT tag :)

I am sure many of you are curious about what will I be doing after my undergrad - after all that exactly is the juice of the 6 years of hard work - 2 years of JEE preparation and 4 years of undergrad.

As some of you might be knowing, I interned at Rubrik in the Silicon Valley in the US. For those who aren't aware of what internship is (I didn't know about internship until my first year of undergrad), it is a kind of training wherein you work for a company for about 12 weeks. The company pays you and at the end of the training period, the company decides if it wants to hire you for a full time job. So basically, internship is like the period between engagement and marriage :P

During my internship, I worked with the file system team. Was that hard to digest? Let me break it down. So basically, Rubrik is a company whose customers are these big companies like Facebook, etc. Rubrik sells them 'briks' (not bricks) which power the data centres of these big giants. So your timeline data, your Facebook friends, your posts, your photographs - all of these are stored eventually in Rubrik's briks that are running in Facebook's data centres. Of course, I am exaggerating a bit - not all of Facebook's data centres are powered by Rubrik. But you got the idea, right? In order to store data in a brik, you need a way of organising information in the storage devices present in the briks. These storage devices are essentially hard disks and SSDs - similar to what you have in your PC/laptop. A file system is the layout of your data in the hard disk. You cannot just dump data in the hard disk. It has to be organised in a way that you can retrieve it real quick - so that you do not have to wait to stalk that crush of yours ;)

I worked in restructuring the file system of Rubrik - switching from Cassandra to CockroachDB. Weird names, isn't it? Cassandra sounds like Cassatta ice cream and CockroachDB - ughh! These are highly scalable databases. Your Facebook messages were once backed by Cassandra and that's why you were able to quickly send messages to your friends even when a billion people like you were messaging their friends at the same time!

These problems are pretty challenging. When it is about a million people, maybe with some effort, you and I can do it. But when you have a billion people using your application, things start breaking. I enjoyed working with Rubrik and at the end of my internship, they extended me a return offer at their US office in Palo Alto (yeah, the place where Mark Zuckerberg lives!).

I got the visa process started and things were going pretty smooth until December, when I was at my home for winter vacations. It was then that a question stuck me - why should I go to US? Philosophical questions started striking me - are my parents happy? Will I be happy in US alone? Is that my real goal? What am I giving back to India if I go to US?

As a fresher, I didn't have too much knowledge about the corporate world and my parents aren't too educated to guide me. I did not sit for placements because I had a return offer from Rubrik. However, I had referrals in a couple of big companies - Google (Sydney office) and Bloomberg (London office). I had got interviews with them and I was in a position to clear them with whatsoever no effort - I had gone through much harder interviews already!

The only thing I could do was to get confused! India or US? Industry or higher studies? I don't know! Whom to ask for help? I don't know!

After at least 2 days of thinking, I asked myself a simple question - will I be happy staying away from my parents in US? Immediately the answer was - NO! It was then that I made a firm decision that I won't go to US. At least, not for now.

Near the end of December, I was approached by a company called Directi. It is a famous company and recruits from all top colleges. They had seen my online profile and liked it and wanted to interview me for a full time position as a software engineer. Interviews were scheduled and within a week I had the offer letter in my hand. I was initially a bit regretful about my decision of not sitting for campus placements, but given the Directi's offer, I was happy.

Later, a recruiter reached me out on LinkedIn. She really liked my profile and was kind enough to set up interviews with one of the high frequency trading firms. Trading after undergrad in CSE? My immediate reaction was - what? No, I am not doing this! But then she explained that my role won't be trading based. I would rather work with the technical team to develop the trading infrastructure. After a bit of Googling, I got to know that these High frequency trading (HFT) firms have some awesome challenging problems from Computer Science domain and I was super excited to interview for this firm called APT portfolio.

Vacations had almost ended and I was supposed to go back to Mumbai. Getting a flight from Lucknow to Mumbai is real hard. Kanpur doesn't have an airport. Getting a train ticket from Kanpur to Mumbai is even harder. So, the way I usually travel is to take a train from Kanpur to Delhi and fly from Delhi to Mumbai. I have a few close relatives (my sister included) in Delhi and so, I stay at their home for a day or 2 before flying to Delhi.

APT has their office in Delhi. Given that I was in Delhi around that time, they scheduled an onsite interview. The interviews were quite challenging and I enjoyed them and got an offer in January's first week. The package that APT offered was about 1.5 times that of Directi and I was quite happy.

During December, I had also applied on the portal of Tower Research - one of the highest paying company in India and around mid January, I received an interview call. They flew me to Gurgaon towards the end of January and I got an offer from them - yay!! Meanwhile, I had informed Rubrik that I won't be coming to US and that they should stop the visa process. They kindly agreed to it. Later in the next week, I was informed that Rubrik wants to open an office in India and that they are interested in offering me a position at their Indian office. I was quite excited. The salary they were offering was higher than that of Tower Research! It was quite surprising because Tower Research is a HFT firm while Rubirk is a software firm. Generally software firms don't offer salaries as good as HFT firms (remember Directi vs APT?).

So, at present, I have the following offers:
  • Rubrik US - yes, they are still ready to hire me at their US office
  • Rubrik India
  • Tower Research
  • APT Portfolio - I am in the process of informing them that I have got better offers
  • Directi - I have turned them down last week
So, for now, I am deciding between Tower Research and Rubrik India. Tower Research was quite impressed with my performance in the interviews and so, they have left an open offer for me - I can take as much time to decide as I want to. Generally this isn't the case and the companies have a limit on the offer letter - it expires in a week or so.

Having said that, I would also like to mention that I am working on something of my own in parallel and if it picks up, I might end up pursuing it rather than going for a job. Shushh, it is a secret, tell no one!

Let's see what life has to offer ahead :)

41 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Packages aren't supposed to be disclosed in a public forum.

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    2. That's alright, nothing to be sorry about :)

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  2. From this article we can clearly feel your hard work Aman Goel .I wish when I will reach that hard work. Anyway, Congrats,I wish to see many more achievements from you Aman Goel

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  3. So will you continue writing on this blog or the end is near :p

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    1. Maybe I will hand this over to some junior.

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    2. Coming across your blog was not planned. But following your hard work and dedication, perseverance and follow through is what I look forward to be an inspiration to my young son. Please if you can continue with your blog. Juniors can add on their experience but your passion to share your hard work and see effects on others will be difficult to replicate. But at the end of the day it's your blog and your decision. My best wishes to you as always.

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    3. How about me, Aman? I anyways have my own blog too :)

      Anyways, as always.... U stay my inspiration and I won't be forgetting our meeting at IITB. All the best for your life and the wonderful career that you have crafted through your hard work and dedication

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  4. Sir would you please tell about the hardships you had gone through in your 4 years in IIT. So we will atleast know what we have to do after entering the top colleges

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    1. https://www.quora.com/Do-you-get-a-lot-of-free-time-in-IIT/answer/Aman-Goel-9

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  5. I guess u might be trying for higher education as u have said "pursuing it", am I correct?. Srsly a movie should be made on your life story :-p. I guess ur one of those rare guys ones who had one hell of a successful and an adventurous journey in ur life.

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    1. https://www.quora.com/Why-didnt-Aman-Goel-choose-to-do-a-master%E2%80%99s-from-a-top-college-of-the-USA-and-instead-decided-to-work

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  6. Well, I am a ninth grader and I wanna pursue CSE at IITB. Any advice on how I can secure an exceptional rank in JEE? My prep's going on really well - that's what my teachers say. But in any competitive exam, I am unable to get a rank within 50. The highest I managed was 74. And how did you keep yourself motivated throughout this journey?

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    1. http://amangoeliitb.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-guide-to-get-top-50-rank-in-jee.html

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  7. the time mentioned by u is absolute?i mean that utook a week or so in completing chapter by doing that chapter only?or also did simultaneousl other 2 or 3 subject?talking abt quora answer

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    1. https://www.quora.com/If-every-question-in-JEE-Advanced-is-difficult-and-different-from-what-it-is-in-books-how-do-average-students-crack-it-with-a-lot-of-practice/answer/Aman-Goel-9

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  8. I have read that you got 1 crore package. IT IS TRUE RIGHT?

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    1. https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-bitter-truths-about-life-at-IIT/answer/Aman-Goel-9

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  9. Best of luck !Happy holi &Best wishes :)

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  10. You've always been an inspiration, Bhai :)

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    1. Well, I should thank you instead for all the ways in which u have always inspired me :)

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  11. Aman. Please don't stop blogging. Its a life saver for millions of kids. All the best for your future mate. Cheers!

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  12. More than anything , this really inspires people to work really hard if they want to be successful.
    Congratulations Aman for your success !
    I am now going to read all your other posts :)

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  13. can i gove ur no. to my friend?starts wih 8 nd ends with 3?dont take this rudely but he was asking me

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  16. Happy to see dedication towards work and patriotism towards india. Good luck for future

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  17. Being a distributed filesystem engineer, i would wish you would devote your brains towards advancing CS and science. HFT and finance are notional science at best and you can always come back to it anytime. There are some very tough problems left to be solved in distributed storage systems and it would be gift to have great minds working on it.
    Btw dont think Rubric office location matters much since probably the core team is US based :) So start with the Indian office and move on to the bay area if you get bored i guess.
    Just my 2 cents i guess.

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  18. aman,i have been following your blog from last two years.Everytime i learnt something new and motivated from your blog and in quora.i appreciate your thought(giving back to society) as you said in quora.congrats for getting multiple offers from big companies.i hope your legacy continues in future too.All The Best..

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  19. Bhaiya..
    Is pinnacle program in FIITJEE enough for jee? How should I balance both board and jee?

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  20. Hi Aman,

    Its always interesting to read your blogs where one can learn more about computer science, At last in this article you have mentioned about something so, Are you planning to start your startup if it yes, then i would like to apply for a job in your company.

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