Doing what you like is freedom; Liking what you do is happiness. Shubham (the person in front) is pursuing Mechanical Engineering and shares his awesome experience of internship days.
I am currently working at an early-stage startup named Aasaanjobs, which is a digital portal that bridges the gap between job-seekers and recruiters from various companies. It’s an end-to-end recruitment service, from job posting to hiring, for entry-level and blue collar jobs.
Introspection and getting ahead: It was not until January, after the majority of my tenure as a core group member in Mood Indigo had elapsed, that I really started looking for what to do in the summers. I was handling the tech department during the fest, and after it was over, I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to do next. I was now looking for an internship that would expand my foray of skills in web architecture and augment my knowledge of a vertical in a particular field.
I have always felt strongly that one, by the middle of his third year, should have a clear idea of the career trajectory he wishes to take, at least for the next 2-3 years. If you cannot sum up your short term aims in a single sentence, then you have not given enough thought to it. A lot of companies came with various internship programmes related to coding, analytics or operations, but none had a profile that would enable me to learn what I could, at a job that envisages putting in place a system that can be scaled to 10 million users. This was my project in Aasaanjobs.
I applied through their website for their internship programme and was selected after a personal interview taken by Gaurav Toshniwal (CTO of Aasaanjobs). Coming from a tech background, I got a plethora of opportunities to learn and experiment with a lot of technologies related to web and cloud deployment, which helped me form a perfect base to gain expertise in this area by working with an experienced and a highly professional tech team.
The Internship: Technically speaking, my role there was that of a Development Operations (aka dev-ops) intern. It’s a fairly new position, albeit an important one, in the many tech startups that are sprouting up in the Powai valley. I imbibed three major skills during the internship – coding or scripting, process re-engineering and communicating and collaborating with a team. The broad aim of my project was to develop an architecture that could handle 10 million users, monitor and automate the whole process as well as optimise the cost without compromising the security of the whole infrastructure. I was the sole person working on this project under Gaurav Verma, a 2006 IIT Bombay alumnus who works currently as the Architectural Head at Aasaanjobs.
My day here starts at 11 am in the morning and goes on till 9:30 pm in the night, with delicious (and did I mention free?) dinner waiting for us after a tiring day of coding. The project began with reading and researching about the current IaaS providers in the market, where we compared Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Digitalocean. It took us a week to plan out exactly the intricacies of what we wanted from each of the platforms and based on 11 parameters, we chose to go ahead with planning our architecture on Amazon Web Services. The whole structure here is based on Django, Node.js with the growing importance of AngularJS and Elasticsearch. We cut down our deployment time on the cloud from 3 hours to 20 mins by automating all the stuff from application servers and data servers to load balancers, to put it in layman terms. It took us three weeks to achieve this.
Three things that were instrumental for the completion of this project were getting continuous guidance, enhancing our reading skills (because we used to read a lot every day, apart from blogs) and getting hands-on experience of the things we’d read. After completing the first part of my project, we shifted towards effectively monitoring the infrastructure that we had deployed, saving all the server logs in Elasticsearch as well as studying the pattern related to traffic and error rate. This was followed by creating a small internal search engine using Elasticsearch out of a sense of curiosity, which worked out pretty well. In the end, we experimented, ideated, developed and deployed the whole cloud architecture in less than 7 weeks, cutting down costs by more than 1000$ a month.
Work culture and environment: Life here is very fast-paced, with many people constantly working on multiple projects. Employees experience an exponential rise in their learning curve. They are actively involved in their work, breaking the monotony of a stereotypical desk job, and get to bear responsibility and ownership at work. A significant number of the employees have come here after leaving their jobs at big multinationals due to the seemingly limitless opportunity to grow here. Everybody in the office is extremely approachable and always takes out the time from their hectic schedules to help you out in case you are stuck somewhere.
Aasaanjobs has a very well-laid out office with all sections and rooms named after the different Kingdoms of the Lord Of The Rings, though the best part of the whole office would undoubtedly be the sleeping rooms, housing two bunk beds where you can take a quick power nap, or sleep for a longer stretch of time if you are on a night out! This is a classic case of improving productivity by boosting job satisfaction.The more comfortable the employees are in the office, the longer they work and bond with colleagues which in turn helps the company in the long run.
Pros & Cons: This internship is perfect for someone who wants to do tech and learn the art of managing multiple projects simultaneously. Through this internship, I gained considerable knowledge of each and every aspect of the web-based scalable infrastructure and architecture.
You don’t get to travel in this profile and it’s mostly a sitting job. If you are someone who finds it impossible to sit at one place for longer than an hour, then this internship programme probably isn’t for you.
Takeaways: One of our seniors in office rightly said that the time you can enjoy the most is the four or five years that you spend in your institute. You won’t have that freedom once you are out of college. At a particular juncture of time, one would inevitably have to choose between self-exploration and being hand-holed for tasks. Both of these are important in different phases of life, and eventually one has to discover when to choose what. For this to happen, one needs to have some order in life as well as peace of mind to be able to overcome any barrier and achieve anything that one desires. The internships moulds and equips you better to be able to handle this decision.
In Retrospection: This internship was an eye-opener with regards to the manner in which startups function as well as the professionalism with which numerous people from diverse backgrounds team up to complete challenging tasks. You get to interact with a lot of seniors from IIT Bombay and thus gain considerable insights into how their careers shaped up after they left the institute. And yes, you still get to whack them with chappals on their birthdays!
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