Wielding A Lance of Coding: Debakanta Kar
Debakanta Kar, a fourth year student from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering is truly known for his humble gesture and unmatched passion for coding. He got an opportunity to pursue his internship at IIT-Bombay through the prestigious Ekalavya Program during the summer of 2017. Read on to find more:
MM: Tell us something about your childhood and schooling days.
DK: I hail from a small village in the interior of Jajpur district, Odisha. I changed a few schools during my primary and secondary education. Primary days were spent in a small school in that village. As I progressed to 6th grade, I was transferred to St. Xavier’s, Jajpur. Soon after 10th, I went to complete my intermediate at ODM Public School, Bhubaneswar.
My childhood was fun-filled and exuberant. I still fondly remember those days when we didn’t have many impacts of digital products on our lives and used to play cricket during evening hours. But as I progressed to higher classes, I was bound to stay in a hostel and a certain part of this childhood mirth began to dissipate from my life. Nevertheless, I began to perform extraordinarily in academics and my name always glimmered among the list of toppers. My 12th percentile was among the top 5 percentiles in Bhubaneswar zone.
MM: How did NITR happen to you? Was CSE at NITR your first choice?
DK: During 12th standard, in our school, we had integrated coaching. During that time, they taught and trained us to face the entrance exams with much-needed confidence and knowledge.
Talking about my branch, I was keenly interested and determined to pursue a B.Tech. degree in Computer Science in a prestigious college. Computers had always fascinated me. When I was a little boy, I really loved to play computer games and during my school days, I loved to write programs. I had a teacher in my school who was excellent in programming and he greatly contributed to feeding the coder within me. Even my elder brother is a Computer Engineer. So, in short, throughout my life, I have been continuously inspired by people around me.
In JEE Mains, I had a good rank which guaranteed my B.Tech. degree in Computer Science Engineering from NIT Rourkela. This campus was good, had good ranking among other colleges and was in my own state. Hence, I decide to settle for this option.
MM: You bagged a prestigious internship through the Ekalavya Program at IIT-Bombay. Please tell our readers about the procedure that you followed to apply for it.
I had a CGPA of 9.32 which actually helped me to get this internship. After CGPA shortlisting, there was a small coding test and that required very basic knowledge of coding due to which it became very easy for me!
MM: What prior projects and internships did you pursue before this? Did it help while getting selected for this internship?
DK: Before this, I had not done any internships but I had done some projects in PD lab during my 3rd year. ‘Digit recognition using machine learning’ and ‘liveliness detection’ were the two projects that I had worked on. Liveliness detection was a project which was aimed at the drivers. It could tell whether their eyes are shut or open while driving and hence could prevent road accidents to a certain extent. Apart from these, I had done few projects related to website development but it was on a small scale. I had also contributed to the technical wing of NU team of 2017.
MM: What do you feel about the curriculum of the Department of CSE? How much did it help in bagging this internship?
DK: Curriculum of our branch doesn’t really help in industrial applications. In our branch, the core concepts are taught elaborately but practical knowledge isn’t sufficiently provided to us. Though some subjects provide a little help in industrial applications, I think our curriculum should be shifted from theoretical foundation to a more practical foundation. This way we could produce more efficient engineers for our future.
MM: Tell us about your project at IITB. How relevant was it to your area of interest?
DK: The project was under Chemical Department and aimed at the back-end development of a Single Board Heater System. It was a small device which when commanded will perform experiments, and it received data over the internet. The setup was already there and we had to update the architecture. We just included some new features; besides that, the IITs help in documenting the projects and journal papers which are very helpful for the future as well.
MM: Which clubs are you a part of? How much has the knowledge gained outside the classroom helped you in shaping your career?
DK: I have been a part of the SPAWN club and it definitely helped because I had seniors who guided me. I was the Technical Head of the club in my third year. As of now, I am not much active in the club and I contribute as and when required. But overall being in the club has helped me very much.
MM: Was it a paid internship or an unpaid one? If unpaid, what other perks did you receive?
DK: The internship was an unpaid one but we received other perks such as accessing all the facilities of the institute and our accommodation was also free. I made some good friends and I was also happy to get the opportunity to work in IITB. So, internal satisfaction was the perk that I received.
MM: What are your future plans?
DK: I am thinking of pursuing higher studies but as of now it is not yet decided; whether I shall be doing it immediately or after working for a few years. Even if I join a company, I would be quitting it to pursue my higher studies in the coming 4 to 5 years.
MM: Do you have any message for our readers?
DK: The teaching in the classes is fine but the students need to pursue their passion. The higher studies or the industrial jobs require a determination on the part of the student so I recommend that they should work hard for their passion.