Posted by: Suresh S | July 26, 2012

My experiences with technical interviews

Over the past few weeks, I have been actively taking a lot of technical interviews. The good side is that, I get to talk to lot of people, and there is a very healthy discussion about technical stuff. The bad side, it takes a lot of time to find a good candidate that fits the requirement.

From my personal experience, I have jotted down a few traits of good programmers, which has really been a common thing I observe in all the candidates who clear the interview.

I would broadly classify the candidates whom I have interviewed till date, into 3 categories.

  1. The how-to-do-and-why-to-do programmer
  2. The how-to-do programmer
  3. The others

My decision to pick a particular type of candidate, is purely driven by the job description and how the candidate’s skills matches it.

  • The how-to-do-and-why-to-do programmer

This type of programmers usually are the best of the breed. I would almost always end up giving them a thumbs when I interview such people. They always bring out a logical reasoning angle to every question I ask them. 

    • Sample this.. If you ask them, “Can you explain me why abstraction is important?“, they are most likely to give me examples which not only gives you a bookish definition, but always add their understanding of it. They go on to take examples from their past projects or real world examples and highlight the key points how utilizing the concept of abstraction helped them design/code a solution better.
    • They are always able to explain me the concepts very very clearly, in the most simplest terms. I carefully watch out for their communication skills when they answer me because, I firmly believe that if you cannot explain me something in simple terms, you just don’t understand it enough!
    • They ask a lot of clarifications when you ask them vague questions. If they have to make assumptions they let you know about it.
    • When thrown with open ended questions which have lots of alternative solutions, they almost always present the pros and cons of each approach. Very rarely have I found a programmer of this type
    • They are open about things which they don’t know and don’t beat around the bush too much.
    • They are passionate about their work and eager to share with you on what they have done in the past.
    • They are open to admitting the mistakes or bad decisions they have taken while working on a project before. They are almost always candid in their opinions.
    • Last but not the least, they not only know how a thing works, but almost always know the why part of it. This by far, has been the most impressive aspect of it.
  • The how-to-do programmer

This type of programmers are usually the ones who have got a lot of “hands-on” experience but for some reason have never bothered to or not had enough zeal to dig into the why aspects of the programming.

    • They know how to configure things in a framework and how to use an API.
    • They know how to use xyz tool.
    • They know the text book definitions of almost all concepts.
    • But the one thing that I have always seen in them is the lack of effort they have shown in understanding the why part of things. I understand that there is a practical limitation on how much one can dig into why aspects of it. But they usually don’t seem to go any deeper than shallow definitions.
    • They are pretty good at taking directions and executing them. They are do-ers.
    • They are enthusiastic and work well when given a clear definition of what is to be done.
  • The others

This is the third category of programmers who usually don’t answer questions to the point and simply beat around the bush. The biggest problem I see with this lot, is their own inability to assess their levels of proficiency in things. They almost always assess themselves higher than they actually perform.

    • They don’t know about their concepts.
    • Their answers are shallow.
    • They show lack of inquisitiveness to learn.
    • They usually avoid getting into specifics as you dig deep into the concepts.
    • They wait for your inputs when asked with a vague question. They don’t ask for clarifications.

Now having known the types, which one would you prefer to hire or take into your project?

I would say, I prefer both type1 and type2 because you actually need both of them. Here’s why…

  • You need type1 people in a project because they always have the big picture. These are the people who looks for design violations, coding violations and any discrepancies in the implementation. They are just like any other team members but they care of your project and have a good overall understanding of how things work and why. They can think on their own feet and almost work independently in the team with very little to no guidance or supervision.
  • You need type2 people in a project because are the doers. Though they may not come up to you and suggest hey why don’t we do this instead of this, and so on, they are pretty good at taking instructions and executing them. I believe they can be trained over a period of time and they have the potential to move to type1.

I would strictly refrain from hiring  type3 candidates because they not only lack technical skills but also lack an zeal or enthusiasm to learn. They almost always end up being a pain, if you happen to hire them. They show lack of ownership of things assigned to them. So I would rather not be taking them into them system than having to deal with them later.

P.S. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this subject. I think the process of interviewing is interesting and it gives a good opportunity to know more about people and technology.

Posted by: Suresh S | June 23, 2012

Why Do I Love You?

Why do I love you?

You make me smile
when I’m having a bad day.
You make me laugh
at everything you say.

You allow me to copy your style
but ensure that I never lose mine.
You laugh at my silly jokes
but never forget to trash the bad ones.

You love me for what I am
while the world around judges me by what I have.
You love my foolishness
while the world around thinks I am fool.

You teach me how to care
when everyone around just doesn’t care.
You teach me how to be honest
when everyone around is busy finding a ‘work-around’.

You teach me how to be patient
when everyone around seems to be in a rush.
You teach me how to be calm
even when we are in a ‘storm’.

You’re always there
no matter where you are.
You come rushing towards me
even if you’re very far.

You enjoy my company
You smile when you see me.
You’re interested in what I have to say
You like me for more than what you see.

When I’m afraid to step ahead
You’re there to hold my hand.
You tell me you love me
and that everything is gonna be alright.

I love the way you talk
even when your voice is bearly audible.
I love the way you wait for me to hang up
even when I say good-night many times.

You give me so much
more that I could ever give.
I want you in my life forever
for as long as I live, and there after.

The words may not be perfect. But my feelings for you can never be expressed in words.
You are the best gift GOD has ever given me. I Love you so much.

Posted by: Suresh S | June 2, 2012

In you…

In you, I find happiness

In you, I find love

In you, I find selflessness

In you, I find strength

In you, I find the courage to love

In you, I find a reason to live

In you, I find the inspiration to be the best

In you, I find kindness

In you, I find the innocence of a child

In you, I find honesty

In you, I find forgiveness

In you, I find me.

You remind me of me, in you…

P.S. This is dedicated to someone whom I treasure more than anything in this world. Thanks for being part of my life.

Posted by: Suresh S | June 1, 2012

A birthday to remember…

Tagged!

Today has been one of the most happiest days of my life. Yes, after 26 years, I finally had the most amazing birthday celebration of my life.

Everything that I always dream about, happened today. What one needs is not costly gifts or luxury items to make your day special. All it takes is love, affection and loads of care. I have received that in abundance today. It just feels great when someone carefully plans to make your day really special.. Takes all the pain to make sure you look amazing. To ensure that everything is perfect on your birthday. It just makes you feel so good about yourself. You feel blessed to receive all that love. It makes you realize that the best things in life aren’t costly. They are in fact free!!

Today I received such wonderful gifts which I would cherish for the rest of my life. I just felt so good to receive a card that was so painstakingly done. The amount of care and attention to detail that it had, can put any Archie’s card to shame! It isn’t jazzy and glossy as most Archie’s cards would be, but it makes up for all that with its kind and affectionate words, spoken about me. I can never ever repay such love showered on me. In a world where people ask, “how much did you pay for this gift?”, it leaves you blissfully contented to receive something that money can never buy, love! It shows how much effort has gone in to making this card so special. It captures the essence of the relationship, love and care you have for me. It contains memories inscribed in our hearts forever. Moments that we have shared together in this beautiful journey.

As they say, “A man who knows the price of everything, knows the value of nothing.” You make me realize the life is not about “getting”, but about “giving”. It’s about small things and not about “big” things.

In these small things that you do for me, I find all the happiness of my life. You show me how to live life. I find peace in you. I find myself in you. Thank you for making my day so special 🙂

Posted by: Suresh S | December 25, 2011

Flash back 2011

What went well?

  1. Experienced my first flight journey in 2011. I loved the take off part of it. The landing was scary!
  2. Had a chance to see the mighty Bay of Bengal, Konark Sun Temple and Puri Jagannath Temple. Thanks to my friend Debasis and his family.
  3. Dirtied my hands a bit by engaging into some hard core coding for 8-10 straight weeks. It was fun. Though frustrating at times. I was happy to get back into groove!!
  4. The cult of Rocky totally took me off my feat. Why did it take me so long to watch this series is still a mystery? But I totally love every bit of it. Sylvester Rocks!!
  5. The experience and learning on the professional front has been remarkable. Had a chance to play roles which have given me enough confidence to take it further.
  6. Made new friends. Also, caught up with college buddies and had a blast with them towards the fag end of this year.
  7. I am done with the 1yr in MS program. Just the project that’s pending now.
  8. The ups and downs of this year have only strengthened my faith in GOD.

What didn’t go well?

  1. Lot of things that happened around me showed me how times can change so much. What looks perfect in one moment can be all gone in the very next.
  2. I have been a little occupied with my work, due to which I was not able to devote time to my friends. I have learnt this lesson the hard way. When every one walks out, it’s your friends who are there for you. So never give them a chance to walk away.
  3. Never take people for granted.
  4. Been more vocal and express love. You never know when it’s too late. I think I should have done this more often.

This song pretty much summarizes what I wanna sing for myself now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEzTdBJUHO8

Here’s wishing you all a merry Christmas and a splendid year ahead.. God bless.

Posted by: Suresh S | December 31, 2010

Flashback 2010

The last day of the year or should I say the decade is almost coming to an end. This year has been significantly good for me. An year that has be full of ups and downs. A quick recap of things.

What went well…

  1. This year I got a chance to work on a project that helped me explore new horizons into design and implementation more than ever before. I worked on a critical module that gave me immense satisfaction. Undoubtedly that’s the best piece of code I have ever written in my life. Thanks to my team back @ MindTree who entrusted me with the responsibility. What an opportunity!!
  2. Contributed close to 8 articles on Java Lobby and have made sure I religiously follow all their articles. It has been an amazing source of information for me. Thanks to the folks @ Java lobby. You guys are amazing.
  3. Started a collaborative initiative to collate all the useful links related to java, along with a few like minded folks. Ever since we started this, it has really helped us in collating all the interesting stuff together. Hope this shall serve a good repository for future reference.
  4. Embarked my journey in MS CSE @ Manipal university. The decision was very much influenced by Sree. Vaibhav and I enrolled to this course and have managed to sail through it successfully till date. Other folks that gave us a good company are Karthik, Neeraj and Hemanth. Thanks folks for keeping me motivated to pursue this amidst all the chaos that reigned in 2010.
  5. Attended lots of interviews only to find each time something was not matching. Finally moved into a good firm. Happy with my decisions. No regrets at all on this front.
  6. Made 2 unconventional choices when buying my most coveted gadgets this year. I bought a Samsung R528 laptop and Kodak Z980 point n shoot camera. Both of them have been stunningly good so far. Just made me realize I must take more risks…

What got screwed up…

  1. Lots of interviews. One of them was a dream company. Nevertheless I will give it a shot sometime in the future.
  2. Lost my Micromax Music edition phone. It was my 3rd phone. God!! Why are all those odd numbered phones I buy, destined to get doomed. Did I tell you what happened with my 1st phone? Well, let’s just say.. It’s a longggg story.. Some other time.
  3. Lots of cracks and communication gaps in certain relationships. Apparently, I figured out that communication skill is not exactly what I think it is. Needs lots of improvement here. But I still love my buddies.
  4. The numbers of movies I saw this year was dramatically lower than the ones I saw, let’s say in 2009. Thanks to my MS classes on Sunday!!

All in all I still feel 2010 was an amazingly good year for me. It just shows me that things are going to get better and better. Hard work always pays off. And above all, God is there by my side all the time.

This pic summarizes how this year has been for me:

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year. May the force be with you. God bless!!

F.R.I.E.N.D.S TV show title track lyric.

So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, you’re love life’s DOA.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, cause you’re there for me too.

You’re still in bed at ten, the work began at eight.
You’ve burned your breakfast, so far, things are going great.
Your mother warned you there’d be days like these,
But she didn’t tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees.

That, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, cause you’re there for me too.

No one could ever know me, no one could ever see me.
Seems like you’re the only one who knows what it’s like to be me.
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with,
Someone I’ll always laugh with, even at my worst, I’m best with you.

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be the

Posted by: Suresh S | November 20, 2010

What do you want?

How often do you ask this question to others? It doesn’t take much of an effort to throw this question at others when someone annoys you or keeps pestering you to do something. You just throw this ultimate question, “What do you want?” I am no exception to this either.

Just think for a moment. Instead of asking this question to others, ask this question to yourself. Give it a shot. You’ll know how clueless you are! Isn’t that a little surprising?

Most of the time we think we know exactly what we want. But trust me, it’s not what we want. It is just what we think others will admire us, if we have it. The  ego in us can blind us at times. It can play havoc if it exceeds healthy levels.

So if we don’t know what we really want, how come we end up being so happy at times with some of our decisions? This certainly reminds me of a quote from Alice in wonderland, when Alice is on cross roads.

“Would you tell me which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” said the Cat.

“I really don’t care where” replied Alice.

“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Well, you know what most of the time, we just don’t know what we want and just  ‘discover’ that what we just got was what we wanted. It doesn’t matter what you get when you don’t know what you were supposed to get!!

At other times, we curse people around us for making our life miserable, and even blame our fate. We think how ‘unlucky’ we are since we don’t get what we want. What make things worse is, we tend to look at others and think their life is so ‘perfect’. Everyone else around you seems to have the best life you could ever imagine. It’s just you who is leading a miserable life.

Why does this happen to us? Why are we not happy about things as often (and as much) as we should be?

The answer to this, I think lies within each one of us. The key to unlock unlimited happiness lies inside us. We just don’t realize it. We tend to spend a lot of time trying to unlock that happiness with other’s keys. How stupid is that.. Isn’t it?

I read a quote this morning, that I felt summarizes why we are grossly unhappy with things around us. The quote reads along the lines, “A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.”

It came as a wake up call to me since I almost felt connected with what the author of this quote told. How true. Is it not? I strongly believe that we ‘attract’ things we think about most of the time. Everything you find around yourself is what you have attracted.

Do take your time and write down a list of things you want. It might sound a really petty exercise. But I firmly believe that if you can’t write down what you want, you still don’t have the faintest of an idea of what you want.

Posted by: Suresh S | September 10, 2010

A new journey

I was looking out for a good wallpaper and when I came across this pic. It not only impressed me by it’s simplicity but I was able to connect to it instantly.

Looking forward to an exciting new journey of my life. Enjoy this pic.

On an exciting new journey

Photo Courtesy: http://7te.org/wallpaper/1271290935_3546_1680_1050/one-path-wallpaper

P.S. Wish you all happy Ganesha Chaturthi.  Look forward to posting updates shortly.

Posted by: Suresh S | August 1, 2010

They remind me of…

It has been a long time since I posted on this blog. Life was on 5th gear and I just seemed to be too lost in things that seemed to keep me so pre-occupied that I literally ate, dreamed and talked about those things. This must have probably been one of the longest break I have taken from blogging. No qualms, I finally managed to pull time off jot down something that just kept popping in my mind all the time.

Yes! I wanted to pen down my thoughts on how each song (almost all) reminds me of some phase of  my life. I just thought I will write them down as they come to my mind. They are not necessarily in the chronological order:

  1. Lucky Ali songs – All those wonderful songs of Lucky Ali like sunoh, tere mere saath jo hota hain, yeh mumbai nagariya, etc remind me of my days back in the home town, where I first listened to them on Sandeep’s computer (I think pentium p2 or something). We used to play games on his computer like chess, wolfenstein, prince of persia, quake3 etc. I still remember how I once crashed his OS and I thought I had damaged his computer!
  2. Mitwa (KANK) – This reminds me of my initial days of blogging when I has just started blogging and used to follow a lot of bloggers from ISB. I just loved the way they wrote. I still follow a couple of them. But this song touches the soul and I just don’t seem to get over it.
  3. Back street boys – The songs from Backstreet boys reminds me of the time I was in the first year of pre-university. I wasn’t having a computer then. I used to listen to his song on a tape recorder, which my brother used to get from his friends. I used to play the tape over and over. At times it has helped me wake up to 4 am in the morning and finish some assignments. I still remember those physics problems I solved listening to those songs. I even wrote the lyric of the songs, “Show me the meaning…”, “I want it that way..”, “Quit playing games”, etc in a dairy.
  4. Masakali (Delhi 6) – This song reminds me of the time I moved to a new rented place in BTM last year. This was feb 2009. I remember listening to this one song all over the place, in the cab, office, hotels,etc. This reminds me of a lot of good times I spent at BTM. I also remember reading The White Tiger during my commute to the office that would give me a good 45 minutes.
  5. Khuda Jaane (It plays in the backdrop as I write this) – This song reminds me of those night outs I had a MindTree. Sometime during july 2008. I was working on on my first project and I remembered having one of my leads asking to me code a whole new module at 3 am in the morning. This song played in repeat mode all that night. Just can’t associate this song with any other stuff.
  6. Recorded books of Richard Feynman – This reminds me again of the days I traveled from BTM in the cab. I used to listen to the audio books of Richard P Feynman like, “Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman”, “Perfectly reasoanable deviations from the beaten track”, “What do you care what other people think”, etc. They were simply superb to listen to. That was the first time in my life I realized how great it feels to listen to audio books. It’s like someone narrating you to whole book to you. Try it. It is simply amazing.
  7. Kya Mujhe pyaar hain – This song reminds of my final semester when I was doing my final year project. Srinidhi used to play this song always. I have vivid memories of we editing the final year project synopsis @ srinidhi’s place and we used to play this song in the back drop and along with one more kannada song (it was srinidhi’s favorite) from one of upendra’s film. Can’t quite recall which one. Those were great times.
  8. Mauja hi mauja (Jab we met) – This song reminds me of the time I had just joined MindTree in Oct, 2007. I used to hear this song literally at every other place I went. A group also performed to this song and it was an amazing performance.
  9. Hey ram (Jagjit singh) – This song is one of the most serene and divine compositions I have heard till date. It is so good to listen to. I mean try this out. Just play this song first thing in the morning in your audio system and just see how good it feels. I remember listening to this song every single day at a relative’s place. They used to play this for 1 hour and I used to just listen there listening to it. Gives me a lot of peace of mind.. Amazing song.

I have just wrote a few of them I can recall. There are countless such vivid memories associated with each song I listen to. Each one brings back fond memories of the past.

P.S. If you too have some memories associated with some songs, feel free to share it.

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