MM's Iron Man: Ankit Kumar

If you think a tech genius is his only identity owing to his stint as the Technical Coordinator of Monday Morning and as a part of Microsoft Campus Club, you are gravely mistaken about this soft-spoken Computer Science and Engineering student of our institute. From being a class topper in school to holding a senior Diploma in Fine Arts, Ankit Kumar has done it all, and his wave of nostalgia makes for a good final year memorabilia. Team MM would like to share his NITR days because who knows? A few years down the line, a few of us might be in his shoes and that is when we shall know the essence of the beginning of the end - the final year of college.

MM: Tell us about your childhood. You had a 4000 rank in IIT JEE. Why did you choose NITR over IITs?

AK: I was born and brought up in Jamshedpur. I did my schooling there as my father was an employee at Tata Steel. I was very fond of painting, hence I took a course, and went on to have a senior diploma in painting.

It is true that my rank was 4000 in IIT JEE, but my heart was with Computer Science. I made up my mind that I will pursue Computer Science in future, may be in an IIT or a NIT. When I filled up my choices for AIEEE, I was allotted NIT Rourkela initially and I stuck to that. I would have got NIT Calicut in the further rounds but did not want to shift.

I am very enthusiastic about Mathematics and I love solving problems. Learning by heart is something which does not go well with me which is why my academic performance has degraded over here. We just have to copy-paste during the exams. The courses here are very obsolete now.

“When someone will sit for placement, he/she will understand that nothing that is taught is going to be useful.”

MM: How did Monday Morning happen to you?

AK: It was actually an accident. I was not at all prepared to go for the first round. My friends were going and I went along with them thinking that it would be a good learning experience. I got selected for the first round and in the second round we were given the task of website making. That was something very inspiring and challenging for me. I tried to learn a lot at that time. I worked hard for a couple of weeks to make the website. They liked the various ideas that I had incorporated in my website. Finally Shantanu (Kumar), Kushal (Tibrewal) and I got inducted. Shantanu was very good at Photoshop as well. But Kushal made through because of his cartoons and we got a brilliant leader in Dhruv Deejay at that time. We learnt a lot from him and really took off from there. Kushal designed logos for some of the clubs and also introduced the concept of doodle in the website.

MM: How gladly do you recall spending those sleepless Sunday nights? Can you remember any memorable incident?

AK: Initially we (Shantanu, Kushal and I) were a bit irritated because it was a new role that we had to play. Later we became used to it. Basically, Shantanu and I handled the part of uploading articles. Kushal used to pitch in sometimes as he was busy making cartoons and doodles. We used to do the work along with our chief coordinators namely, Antareep Sharma, Sai Shankar Pradhan and Raunak Thomas. We used to have fun throughout the night. After a few issues, we didn’t mind it. It actually felt great to be going on with that habit. Even if we finished our work earlier, we used to chat throughout the night because had we slept we would have missed our class the next morning. That way we became very close friends.

Raunak used to check the entire site for every tiny mistake and sometimes he used to find out many errors, so much so that we felt saved. We used to call ourselves “The Three Musketeers” and we were really close at that time.

I would like to mention an incident. We all know that our institute internet connection has the habit of getting screwed up quite often. One Sunday night, we decided to upload the articles early and get some sleep. The internet took that chance away and we could not complete our work that day. That was the first time when the issue was not published on Monday morning. So what we did was that, we uploaded the articles in our lab class. We used to have lab at 8.00 am in the morning and we had one tab particularly open for uploading articles. In fact that happened quite a few times after that. That was quintessential tech-team fun, if I can call it so.

After I became technical coordinator, I had a great team consisting of Rahul, Abhipsa and Prem as Chief Coordinators and juniors like Siddharth Manu, Sushovan Das and Sandeep Kumar. Initially I was quite skeptical of their performance, but they proved their worth. It was a great experience working with them. I hope that Monday Morning scales greater heights in the future.

MM: Apart from Monday Morning, you were also a part of Microsoft Club. Can you recall a few experiences for us?

AK: I must say that Microsoft Club has grown a lot over the past few years. At that time Prateek. was the president of the club. After he left, the mantle passed on to Dhruv. Shantanu, Yogendra and I worked very hard to help attain new levels for the club. I can say that at present it is the best technical club of NITR because of the events we conduct like CODENIGMA, Treasherlocked and Appathon, which receives thousands of participants across the entire country.

I can recall one of the most memorable incidents with regards to Microsoft Campus Club. We were conducting CODENIGMA. What happened was that just half an hour before the commencement of the event, the NITR server crashed. So we called up every senior and junior member of the club to help us out. We sat together in a single room with 15 laptops working at the same time. The entire room was literally converted into a central server room. The event turned out to be pretty successful and we partied through the night.

MM: You were a part of the tech-fest website preparation team in your 2nd year. How did this responsibility pan out?

AK:  I was in the Monday Morning tech team, hence Dhruv recommended my name. I worked for the website along with Shantanu under the guidance of Sulaiman, who was also a Computer Science student. It was one fabulous experience. The platform we used there and that we used in Monday Morning i.e. Joomla was similar. People from the event management teams and other teams used to contact us and ask us to put whatever was essential on the website. That was thoroughly enjoyable.

MM: You have senior diploma in Fine Arts. Kindly elucidate.

AK: Yes, I have a senior diploma in painting. Actually there is a board called Bangiya Sangeet Parishad under the West Bengal Government in Jamshedpur. I joined there in class 5 at a very basic level and that is when I used to drae and color using crayons. I moved on to water colours, oil canvas painting, portraits and glass paintings. Finally, I graduated when I was in class 12. The only thing I regret is that I have lost complete touch over painting after coming to NITR. In future, I would like to get back into it whenever I get time off from work.

MM: You are placed in Novell. How did you prepare for it? What suggestions you would like to give to the future aspirants? Also throw some light on your internships.

AK: In Computer Science, to get placed in any good company, you need to know one programming language and data structures and algorithms. Most companies that come to NITR are good companies but not great ones. If you want to join great companies like Google, you need to be absolutely brilliant in competitive coding. The preparation should start by participating in coding competitions conducted in CodeChef and other such kind of websites.

I consulted the website Geeksforgeeks for the aptitude round. And for further rounds, I practiced a lot of coding. There I had to write the code in front of the interviewer and in this tremendous pressure, our minds usually do not work. So practice makes it perfect. Another important aspect is the internships for anyone’s career. I did two internships: at Information Technology of Tata Steel in 2nd year and at IIT Bombay in my 3rd year. In IIT Bombay, I understood where the huge difference lies between IITs and NITs. The labs are open for 24 hours over there. One can consult a PhD. and get their ideas incorporated in projects. Getting fund is also easier out there.

“While in NITR, there is no product development lab in CSE.”

Research and development should go hand in hand. There I worked on a Quadcopter navigation system. There were students from departments of Electrical Engineering and Electronics Engineering as well. That is not possible here. I made an android app which could control that Quadcopter wirelessly.

MM: There is an inside news that you are allergic towards girls. Why?

AK: The kind of girls I met, if I go into relationships, I think it would be really painful. I have seen my friends, who have been in relationships, that have turned out very horribly. I want to be with a girl for whom I really feel something.

MM: Any message you want to pass on.
The college life is the best time one can have in one’s lifetime. It is the best time to have fun without responsibility.

“One must remember to enjoy this time of their life.”

Learning will always come along in one’s lifetime. Also one should not take something very lightly and participate in things. Do not just go for CGPA. One will not get such opportunities in the future to learn things and gain experience in such an environment.