NSIT’s Hall of Fame

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Greetings people!
Presenting before you all, the third post of our series, NSIT’s Hall of Fame. This time we have, Sachin Sahoo, placed at Microsoft who would be sharing his valuable experiences with us. Here is an excerpt of an interview session with him:

1.Please specify your profile and the company you have been placed in.
I am currently placed in Microsoft IDC as a Software Engineer

2.How did you apply for this company and what was the selection procedure?
At the beginning of 3rd year, Microsoft IDC came on campus for selecting students for internship. The initial cut-off was 70% to be able to sit for the online coding round. After the online round, there was a group fly round in which all students were given the same problem and they had to come up with the solution and write the code for that problem on a paper, after which the solutions were discussed and candidates were shortlisted for the interview rounds. After three rounds of interviews, I was selected along with 9 other students from our college for the internship. And after completing the internship I was given a pre-placement offer from Microsoft.

3.Please provide details about questions asked in written tests and interviews?
Online round: The online round consisted of 3 coding questions in 75 minutes. The questions were based on basic Data Structures like stacks, binary trees, etc. Group-fly round: A new alphabetical sequence was given and we had to write a function for comparing 2 strings according to that new sequence. Interviews were based on data structures and algorithms. Some of the questions asked in the technical interviews were: 1. Given a binary tree and a node in the tree, find the in-order predecessor and successor of that node without using recursion. 2. Given an array of positive integers, arrange the numbers in such a manner that the concatenation of the numbers gives the maximum possible number. 3. Given an array of 2N numbers, N even and N odd, re-arrange the numbers such that all odd numbers lie on odd positions and even number lie on even positions, while doing the minimum number of changes in the original array. 4. Given a snake and ladder board, find the minimum number of dice throws required to reach the last cell from the 1st cell and also generate a string which has the die rolls required at each point to reach the destination in minimum number of steps. The last round was a technical-cum- HR round where HR questions like “Why Microsoft and why not Google” were asked and a coding question was also asked.

4.How did last 2-3 years plan out for you academically? We would like to know projects, internships and extra-curriculars done by you.
Firstly, I made sure that I maintained a good enough percentage so that I could sit for all the companies that came on campus. I didn’t do any internship during the first 2 years. I worked on some basic projects that were part of the curriculum, but apart from that I majorly concentrated on competitive programming and practiced on various online judges (Codechef, SPOJ, Codeforces) in the second year which helped me in enhancing my knowledge of various data structures and algorithms. Competitive programming can help you become better at applying various data structures and algorithms to solve different problems and enhancing your problem solving skills.

5.How did you prepare for the internship season?
Since I had been actively involved in competitive programming, I prepared specifically for the internship season only in the last 15 days through sites like Geeksforgeeks and also practiced on InterviewBit. Also, writing code on paper is something that one should practice, as during the interviews you have to write all the codes on paper

6.What does this company look for in an ideal candidate?
Microsoft looks for candidates that have good problem solving and programming skills and they test the candidates based on their knowledge of Data Structures and Algorithms since it can help to see how the candidate approaches a given problem and comes up with a solution.

7.How were the two months of your internship? Provide details about your first day, project assigned, ambience, mentors, teammates and perks.
The two months of internship at Microsoft IDC, Bangalore was quite a good learning experience. The first day was just an orientation day on which all the interns were assigned their projects and mentors. My project was based on building a customization timeline for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which involved knowledge of C#, JavaScript, AngularJS. Since I had no prior experience working in any of the above languages, I initially spent some time in learning these skills. But once I started getting a grasp of things the project went ahead pretty well. The mentors assigned were helpful and made sure that we didn’t get stuck at any point for too long. The overall ambience was amazing as there was not too much pressure and a good work-life balance was maintained – every evening we would spend at least one hour playing pool or foosball. The perks were good as apart from a good stipend we were also given accommodation for complete two months in Bangalore.

8.[Answer if you got a ppo] What qualities do you think can help one to fetch a ppo at your company?
For getting a PPO, the major qualities that will make a difference is that you should always be willing to learn and work hard. Make sure that you work on your project with complete dedication and have a broader view of the project and how will your work make things better for the company or the customers. Once you have that view, you have to keep working with the team assigned to you with full enthusiasm and hard work. Also, make sure that you take out some time to brush up on your Data Structures and Algorithms concepts for the interviews. At the end of the internship, the work that you have done is analysed and interviews are held during which they ask about your work along with some DSA questions.

9.This season is full of ups and downs. Would you like to share some experience or provide advice to juniors?
Before getting selected for Microsoft, I had sat for other companies that had come on campus like Amazon, Samsung and Qualcomm, but got rejected from all. That time can be pretty frustrating when you keep on facing rejection, but make sure that after every rejection you learn something, so that you don’t end up doing the same mistake again in the future.

10.Tell us about any great thing or mistake you did in the last 2-3 years that gave you advantage/disadvantage over others?
During the first two years, I did a lot of competitive programming which gave a bit of an edge over others as I had gained experience by solving questions on various online judges. But make sure that you look at Geeksforgeeks during the internship/placement season as the questions asked in interviews are usually standard questions.

COLLEGESPACE would like to congratulate Sachin Sahoo for his wonderful achievement and wishes him luck for his future endeavors.

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