Gourav Zutshi (right-most) interned with Maxerience, and shares all the opportunities he had during working in a start-up. Gourav is a final year student of Electronics & Communication Engineering at RVCE, Bangalore and his internship story entails his love for his work.
I had the privilege of working in a startup called Maxerience, as an intern for two months in Bangalore itself, during the semester break. The company was started by two passionate people who had worked for many years in the industry and intended to build a product of their own. They had come to our college looking for candidates who were good at analog systems, DSP, C programming and embedded systems. The selection was based on a written round followed by interviews of the shortlisted candidates. The paper comprised of precariously framed questions in all domains and required good conceptual knowledge of the subjects. Nine people were shortlisted for the interview and following that, I went through the first interview of my life, I might have been really nervous about the interview, but it wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be. Four people out of nine finally ended up with the internship. The internship meant that my stay at home was curtailed, after spending around 10 days in Jammu and 6 days travelling to and fro, I joined the firm.
The firm was set up in a nice office in STPI, Electronic city, Bangalore and had 5 employees (4 from our college). The very first day I was given a target sheet in which my entire schedule for two months was laid out. My initial project included spinning a stepper motor and displaying characters on an LCD, using a board I had never worked on before. The company asked me to purchase the necessary items and then reimbursed me for the same. Going to the shops looking for necessary components made me realize a lot of important things, few of them being that it is always advisable to test the components before buying, and to always buy components based on the specifications. After buying all the necessary components, I had to make them work. It was only then that I realized, how useful the internet and associated online forums were. I went to different forums posting the difficulties I faced in my project, some people were kind enough to help me out and some of them were pretty hostile, cribbing about lack of my knowledge. The lesson I learnt was that all kind of opinions mattered, positive and negative, and they were meant be taken seriously.
After a week of enduring many pitfalls, I finally got my motor working. After that my employer wanted me to combine the running of the motor with face detection. When I posted such queries online, people told me that the task was tedious, they advised me to drop it and consider working on something else. A small part of me was convinced that this was possible and I set to work on it, the literature was gruelling and many a times I was considering giving it up, but one day a small idea struck and yes! I made it work, the motor would spin only if there was a person in the camera, and this would have a lot of potential applications.
During the course of my internship, I got to meet people with a lot of industrial experience. I demonstrated my project to the NASSCOM panel and in the Texas Instruments’ office. I also got an opportunity to attend the MATLAB expo in Bangalore, were I got a chance to meet many like-minded people working on the similar projects. I had a chance to talk to potential clients and customers, where I learnt what it takes to convince someone to invest in you. Another fun part of the internship was that my employer gave me the privilege to interview future candidates and give him my opinions about them. The people I interviewed were as much as 10 years older than me and had much more experience in the industry than I had. This made me aware of what the interviewer’s mindset is like. The office was located 30 odd kilometers from my hostel and around three hours of my day were spent in travelling, but that hardly mattered, as I loved my work.
Whenever people work or intern for major firms they are put under a specific domain of expertise, but working in Maxerience gave me the opportunity to work as an embedded systems engineer, an image processing engineer, a manager, a website designer, social media manager and an HR. The two months in the internship were intellectually stimulating and a major learning curve. Without a doubt, I can claim that I learnt more in the two months of internship than I did in past 3 years of engineering.
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