Life@IITD

I am leading the so called “normal” life now – yeah, you guessed it right ” The Job Life”!! The one where people work like crazy on weekdays and sleep/go out for adventure activities/movie/shopping/relax with a book/eat after browsing on Zomato /read a blog like this:P, etc. ย on weekends – depending on interests. The happy moment for most of us is when we get a message from your respective banks at month end; the contents of which contain a word “credited” ๐Ÿ˜› Its a routine life, monotonous – you have to live with it. Some people like it ; but then some people also like Justin Bieber’s Babyย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย ( On that note, I just found out a couple of days ago that the second highest viewed song on YouTube is nowย See You Againย – actually a good idea to listen to it while writing ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). OK, coming to the point .. this post is due for almost four months now ( yeah, four months since I finished my Masters in Computer technology at IIT Delhi). Just wanted to write an account of my crazy experiences @IITD….okay all right, had not written a blog post since a long time ย and got no other topic in my mind ( why does this Sugarย song always starts playing after See You Again)

In case you need a background on how I landed into doing Masters @IITD , you can have a look at my series of postsย here. I am going to divide this post into sections each describing one aspect of my life at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi ( yeah..we should use the full name too sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Academics: Computer Technology was the most worked up branch for Masters when we joined ( though some friends in Power Electronics may have a different opinion :P). I am saying was because the curriculum has changed drastically starting from the batch which followed. The number of credits are reduced, labs have become optional, etc. Though I still think, we were the winners in terms of learning and also putting up more points on our CV during placements.
    • Assignments and Term-Projects: We spent our entire one year doing assignments, projects and classes.The main reason why all of us felt the “load” was that in our BTech we were not used to doing assignments like this. Most of the assignments ( in our college at least ) were written assignments where we just had to copy from two or three sites ( mainly Wikipedia ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I remember going to the Digital Electronics lab and seeing the Google Doc for the first assignment on screen which was to design a microwave controller. I had no clue how am I gonna do it…Initially, all of us thought it is impossible to do it in one day but at the end of the day all of us did submit it after completion :); such is the pressure ( or miracle ) of IIT. And yeah, I forgot to mention the most important point: you can’t copy from anywhere ..yes anywhere included Internet, your friends, your seniors submissions. Though some people in our batch thought of outsmarting the software ( and some succeed rarely ) , but I will strongly advise not to copy because if you get caught by MOSSย (plagiarism detection software) you will suffer a lot. All these situations forced you to actually think and do assignments on your OWN and that is what has contributed the most to my learning curve. I especially loved doing Computer Vision and ย System Software assignments. Being a person with ECE background, I was pretty apprehensive about my abilities to do programming , but I have realized of late ย that their is no escape from programming anywhere. Its a tool to implement your ideas and love it or not you have to do it..you will eventually start loving it. I was just amazed with the idea that me with my laptop can do so many wonderful things and actually see its effect unlike in ECE where I used to just imagine Electromagnetic Waves and obviously, getting access and working on a chip was very difficult.
    • Courses, MTP and Professors:ย I enjoyed all the subjects which I studied as part of my curriculum (core courses as well as the electives which I took). My personal favorites being OS, Neural Networks, Computer Vision and Deep Learning for Vision. DBMS was also fun but for a different reason ;). The professors are good but not exceptional. It was absolute pleasure for me to attend the lectures of some professors while in others it became difficult not to yawn on the face of the professor. I always believe you do require a learning instinct and interest within yourself first rather than expecting the professor to somehow magically implant the “learning beans” inside you which will grow automatically to somehow make you love the subject and you being ‘pro’ at it. The choice of electives is mostly based on interests to the difficulty level of the course, i.e., if you want to improve your CGPA ( especially before placements ) you tend to go to a subject which will fetch you higher grades without much effort. Though personally I always prefer a subject which I am interested in more than a subject which will get me an A ( all good courses are actually difficult – but you will learn a lot from them ). Your 4th sem will go entirely in your MTech project (MTP). Again a lot of factors come into play here which primarily include your dedication and your supervisor’s impression on you. You might get frustrated at some (okay many ) occasions when you think you are doing your best still somehow not getting the desired results/ credit for your work – but that is what is research my dear ๐Ÿ™‚download
    • TA duties:ย Well, there is a lot of variation in the amount and the extend of TA duties which you can get, even within the same branch.I remember having to check about 400 exam scripts of Basic Electrical Engg. as our only TA duty in the first sem ( got pizzas in the end though :P). For me, the final sem was most loaded in terms of TA duty as I had to mentor projects and take assignment vivas for two courses. Though I was liberal in marking , but its always fun to question BTech people and confuse them with the looks even if they answer a question correctly ๐Ÿ˜‰
  2. Hostel :ย Living in hostel is always filled with pleasant memories. The late night assignments till 4 am and then rushing to classes at 8 am, finishing your browsing quota (the famous ” You are Squished ” message ), planned measures to open or download all necessary items before 1 am ( yeah the net stops working in IITD hostels after 1 am ; though WiFi in the main insti area and net in labs work 24 hours), necessary ritual to avoid Saturday lunch and endless gossiping laying in each other’s rooms were a delight. The mess food was bad/tolerable/good depending on days of the week. Staying in 3rd floor and climbing the stairs (no lift in Kailash ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) especially in Delhi summer was horrible ; though coolers are now allowed inside the hostel rooms after the surprise visit by our Honourable HRD minister. You can find cats eating with you in the mess and scaring you on stairs, dogs successfully bringing down the tall dustbins kept on the hostel lobbies and shitting in your bathrooms, washing machine kept on every washroom just for display and the only laundry room in the hostel being utterly crowded so eventually you have to wash them with your own hands or else find an odd timing when you can expect to find a washing machine actually empty !! But nevertheless, how much I complain about the hostel, the fact is I like living there ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. The Campus: The IITD campusย is very small as compared to other IITs but the main advantage is its location. It is located just in the right place !! – the airport, railway station, all cool places to hangout are nearby ( yeah , with Metro everything is approachable unlike in Bangalore). The hanging spots and the birthday celebration spot ( if you don’t have lab keys) inside the campus being the WindT, CCD ..( yeah that’s all :P). Always remember that the Shani Mandir gate is more near to PVR Saket but then you don’t get autos there very often ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Placements:ย Seriously, I hated going to CSC for those tests..but now I am so happy its over :).To be honest, I am not the best person to advice you on this topic as I was not so serious about it, but yeah I always enjoying giving “gyan” to people. Just few important things to keep in mind.You will feel very bad especially in the month of November and it will seem that you will not get placed anywhere and all your tests will be screwed up, you will be able to solve just 1 question of of the 3 questions in the coding round..etc ( you know all that stuff). But just hang in there. You will definitely get placed somewhere and in a good company if you are an average student. I won’t be giving preparation tips here because the already long post will become the length of Lord of the Rings ๐Ÿ˜› ( yeah, I crack lame jokes ).Just keep yourself physically and mentally fit during placement season and do not get affected by performance of others.
  5. Dilli-the city:ย Well people say a lot about Delhi being unsafe for girls and the extreme climate, but for me I love Delhi more than Bangalore. May be the reason is that I spent my beautiful college days here and may be if I worked there I would have loathed it. But irrespective of all this, Delhi is a beautiful place. There are historic monuments, malls, good food outlets, shopping paradises for girls ;), HKV, CP. The stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan – India Gate and Bangla Sahib were one of my favorite destinations.
  6. Fun times: I can’t even start describing the fun times here because it in itself needs a separate post.So, stay tuned for that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Many people ask me why do companies pay so much to IITans? Why are the companies biased? What is so special in them? Well what I feel is that the competitive environment changes the mental attitude of the person a lot.You somehow learn to take risks and are more open to new challenges. You know you will figure out a way to do an assignment in Java even if you don’t know Java :P. So, basically the job gets done at the end of the day. As pointed out by Prof. CNR Rao ( our Convocation chief Guest), IIT’s are truely the only Indian Brand which need to be preserved and cherished. On that note I will conclude my post saying Jai Ho IITD and Jai Kailash !! ๐Ÿ˜›

Sorry for the long post, but the memories were also 2 years long. Stay blessed and chillax !! ๐Ÿ™‚ And as my friend pointed out, do not take out more than two tissue papers for wiping your hands as you never need more than two ๐Ÿ˜› So, save paper..save trees and save environment ( inspired by recent smog in Delhi ) ๐Ÿ™‚

IISc CEDT(DESE) written test and interview Experience

Hi everyone, This post is a continuation of my Introduction post where I mentioned some preparation techniques and do’s and don’t required before and after GATE. Those of you who missed it,can read it here.In this post, I will share my experiences at IISc,Bangalore. IISc was the first to make a written test/interview offer to me which came as a pleasant surprise as I had no hopes of being shortlisted for the written test. I had heard that they call only top 100 students but luckily the cutoff for general category was 850,so I made through.Around 600 people from four streams( EC,CS,IN,EE) were called for the written test which was scheduled on 21st April, 2014. CEDT(now DESE) was the only course (among the ones I applied) which conducts written test/interview for selection of candidates.ย All other courses offering ME take admission directly based on GATE score; which meant there was no hope for me( As heard later, admissions were closed up to AIR 50 for General Category ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ).Before reaching Bangalore, I had done some homework in gathering some feedback about IISc ; most of which had a negative impact on me.It was suited only for research, there was not much emphasis on placements ( some IISc alumini on Quora even said that there was no T&P Cell ), there was no culture for fests and the interaction among students/faculty was very weak, professors tend to pressurize the students to do PhD,etc.With all these preoccupations in mind, I reached the campus on 21st morning 7 am.The written exam was scheduled to start from 9 am. I had my breakfast in the Institute canteen ( cheapest Idli I had so far in my life ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and took a seat in the hall which was the venue for the written test.

Written Test:

The test was of 90 mins duration consisting of 1 mark, 2 marks and 3 marks questions.One mark questions were fill in the blank or one word type questions and the rest were mostly numericals with some questions which required us to draw plots and diagrams.I don’t remember the questions exactly ; but the few I do are presented below:

  1. Draw top view,front view & side view of a cup lying on a table.
  2. A question to calculate force acting on the center of a wheel with spikes.
  3. A C Program to convert 8 bit data to 16 bit using a microcontroller.
  4. Some questions based on Nyquist Sampling and Shannon coding.
  5. Design a constant current circuit using BJT.
  6. Question on calculation of offset voltage of OPAMP given its variation with temperature.
  7. Simple question on CE Amplifier gain calculation.
  8. Some very simple questions on digital circuit design and microprocessors.

My paper was not as bad as I had expected it to be.The results came out in the evening of the same day and guess what I was one of the 150 candidates shortlisted for the interviews !!This was a huge shock for me and I was happy that atleast I will tell my parents that I faced the interview :). Each candidate was allotted a panel and given a slot of 20 mins. My interview was the on 22nd April at 4 pm.

Interview:

I hardly got 4-5 hours to prepare for the interview which I utilized in going through my BE project reports. I had completely forgotten about them in my two years of job.I hadn’t touched a single page of my GATE material or any book and so I was quite nervous to face the interviewers.I heard from my seniors that the interviewers were asking three subjects which we would like to be interviewed in.Clearly,they were all experts in Analog and I was not so confident in it, so I decided to say Communication,Digital and Microprocessor as my subjects. There were three professors in my panel. As soon as I entered one of them shouted to one of the office boys to bring him a cup of tea.They asked about my GATE score,my subjects and a little about my job. The questions were:

  • An OPAMP integrator was given with square wave as input ranging from 0-5 V , asked to draw the output.
  • Input changed to -5V to +5V with the same circuit, output was asked.Later he went deeper into saturation which confused me further on output voltage level values.
  • A circuit with combinational and sequential elements with setup time,hold time,propagation delay of each element given. A input wave was given,asked to plot the output wave.
  • Design of a simple Mod-6 synchronous and asynchronous counter using D and JK F/F.
  • Role of cache.

Quite unexpected,the first question was from OPAMP (analog).Within my mind I thought,”Why did you ask me my three subjects when you had to ask from your’s?”. Anyhow I answered this question correctly but with little confidence ( result of not being in practice after GATE) .The professor saw this and took advantage of my situation to prey a little more on me.He popped up the 2nd question and went to the extreme depths ย which was sufficient to confuse me. This professor then left; both annoyed by my answers and not receiving his tea till now. This made me more nervous and I knew this was my end. The other proff. then asked me 3-4 questions on digital which I thought was more of an attempt to boost my confidence rather than judging me for selection.Results were out in about 15 days and clearly I was not selected ( about 26 were selected).

About CEDT:ย CEDT ( now DESE ) stands for Center for Electronics Design & Technology.Contrary to my notions, after my interaction with the students at IISc who were in this program and others, I came to know how good an opportunity I missed by not taking this interview seriously.For all those who are interested in Electronics Systems Design,this is one of the best courses in the country both from research and placement point of view.You will get an opportunity to learn a lot by doing stuff practically and from one of the best faculty in this field. Among all other ME branches of IISc; this one has the best placement record and MTech passouts from this course have huge demand in the industry.

Pros:

  • If you want to do research, IISc is heaven for you.The peaceful campus, brilliant faculty, excellent labs provide just the right stimulants for your work.
  • For those who are interested in doing PhD from abroad,you will get excellent references as the professors are reputed internationally.
  • The companies coming for placements on-campus are coming only for you ( i.e, there are no BTech students to compete with you).This gives you ample opportunities. Even if you are not placed on-campus, being in Bangalore you can get an off-campus job easily ( especially if you are in CEDT).
  • Hostel rooms are good and food is also convenient.

Cons:

  • There is no internet facility in the rooms ๐Ÿ˜ฆ This was a major upset for me as I can’t stay in the lab all day and night and internet is the basic necessity.
  • If you love interacting with people,taking part in fests,participating in extra curricular activities then this is not the best place for you.
  • I found the communication skills of the students and professors a little weak.( This is hardly a con ; more of my observation).
  • You will miss the fun of being an IIT student ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. The observations and views expressed above are solely mine ( OK some of them are borrowed ๐Ÿ˜› ).I will be mentioning questions and views related to my field only ( EC) ; though students of other branches are also encouraged to read in order to get a general idea about the interviews and institutes.

You can have a look at the below links for more interview experiences of IISc CEDT:

http://shuva709.blogspot.in/

http://mobileelectron.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/iisc-interview-experience-2012/

http://abhitak.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/iisc-cedt-written-test-interview/

I enjoyed my stay in Bangalore a lot. Thanks to my old friends and some new friends made in the process :).In the next post, I will be discussing about my IIT Kanpur interview.I will be happy to hear from you and clear your doubts as much as possible ๐Ÿ™‚