Placement Preparatory Guide 101
The placement season is a heavy one. For most of the students, this is what they’ve worked towards for the duration of their education. For some, it is the make or break criteria based on which they (quite wrongly) classify their education as a success or failure. As this placements season edges towards a close, the pre-final years begin their silent quest to finish off the last leg of engineering. Before you dive into the nitty-gritty grind of tests, interviews, and call letters, we bring you an article about the preparation strategies followed by successful candidates in their venture to secure their dream job. Welcome to placement preparatory guide 101.
In the sections that follow, strategies pertaining to each sector would be discussed. To understand the general requirements of the recruiters, Team MM sat down with Soumya Sambit Rath, who is the chief coordinator of the Training Committee. Given below are some of the points he stressed on:
- Soft skills: The most common set of soft skills that are asked for are spoken English, written communicative English, leadership qualities, management qualities, and some basic corporate etiquettes.
- Must have technical skills: Good knowledge of the subject is a must when it comes to core industries/ companies hiring in the core sector. This includes the PSUs, the manufacturing/heavy industries (of all domains), the semiconductor/ electronics industries and the automobile industries. Analytics/ Consultancy companies desire skills like problem-solving, case studies, decision making, and R/Python programming. All software roles need the student to be good at object-oriented programming and DSA (Data Structures and Algorithms). Other requirements/ desired skills vary within companies and roles. Familiarity with recent trending areas like AI, Cloud Computing and Blockchain is always an advantage.
While speaking about the balance between technical and soft skills, Soumya Sambit says
Technical skills are very essential for core companies but the number of core companies hiring from the campus are less. A vast share of the hiring happens from Software/IT and Analytics/Consulting. Soft skills play a very important role for these companies. These employers may be ready to compromise on the core technical skills of the student (some might even ignore low grades in your grade sheet), but they always prefer students with good communication and management skills. Hence, one should never ignore his/her soft skills over technical skills if he/she “needs” a job.
- Concerns of recruiters: Most complaints come from recruiters of companies seeking technical skills in students. There are a lot of concerns made by a lot of recruiters regarding the knowledge of students in core areas and the lack of coding skills.
- PATs: About the PATs, he says
The TnP had planned to conduct the PATs in the exact same pattern of CAT/XAT (Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability (VA) and Reading Comprehension (RC), Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR)). But due lack of time, resource and manpower constraints, it couldn’t be followed for the 1st PAT. Hopefully, we will shift to the decided pattern from 2nd PAT onwards. the technical, analytics and soon-to-be-introduced coding tests are kept optional. In these tests, we have decided to provide endorsements (digital certificates) to the top 5 percentile students of each section.
- Training and placement committee's plans: Apart from PATs, the TnP has planned:
- SSD Sessions (GD, PI, and JAM)
- Analytics, technical and coding tests
- Technical Mock Interviews (Department wise)
- Sector-wise discussion sessions (Department wise with placed final years)
- Alumni Interaction Sessions (Already some sessions have been done. More are planned
There are eight sectors in which companies come for placements. They are
- Analytics and Consultancy
- Software and IT
- Electronics, semiconductors, and VLSI
- Power and heavy industries
- Oil and gas
- BFSI(Software profile)
To understand the specific requirements of different sectors, Team MM approached final year students who secured stellar placements in their respective fields. In accordance with the guidelines of Training and placement cell, their names and placement details have been kept confidential. Here is what they have suggested:
- Analytics and Consultancy:
- The first thing to work on is Speed Maths/ Basic Arithmetic. One can find that most of the questions pertaining to this are very easy. All that they require is presence of mind and common sense, to solve them within seconds. Ample amount of practice plays a crucial role in this section.
- One also needs to develop his/her quantitative ability that tests both speed and accuracy. Basic maths till the high school level needs to be brushed upon to fare well in this.
- Trading Round is another aspect of the testing phase. It is the most important and difficult round. An aspirant needs to practice for the trading round a few times with a group of friends, before appearing for it. It is a floor test to see whether one can perform well at a firm in a real-life scenario.
- Guesstimates and puzzles are needed to be solved by the interviewee during the PI round that challenges one's thinking process.
- They don’t demand any coding skills.
- The only technical questions asked for a trading profile (Market Analyst) are on puzzles and guesstimates and hence no core subjects are a must.
- One can study case Interviews, cracked books and watch video lectures to be proficient in solving guestimates
- For Puzzles one can surf around in Quora and for Quantitative Aptitude sites as Parikshya, IndiaBics help develop the skillset.
- Internships in the field of BFSI(Software profile) are welcome.
- The aspirants should prepare well to answer for questions like "Tell us something about yourself", "Why not a core company/GATE", "What are your personal goals", "Tell us a situation each when you took a risk when it went well and when it didn't", etc.
- Software and IT:
- For software giants such as Microsoft and Amazon, competitive coding is a must. Core CS subjects such as Database management, Operating system and networking are crucial.
- To avail of online courses or projects, websites such as Udemy, Coursera and Udacity can be referred. CodeChef, Codeforces, and HackerRank are the most preferred platforms for competitive coding. If a sophomore is aiming for an internship in such companies, only an ample amount of competitive coding will be sufficient.
- To gain basic level coding mastery over the various data structures and algorithms, students should practice as many questions from GeeksforGeeks as possible, since most of the questions are repeated in OTs and interviews. The link to the questions is:https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/must-do-coding-questions-for-companies-like-amazon-microsoft-adobe/?ref=leftbar
- C++ is the most suitable language as far as competitive programming is concerned. A student doesn't need to know multiple languages. Instead, proficiency in C++ or Java (for Amazon) is better.
- To effectively crack the HR rounds, students should be well versed about all the aspects of the company such as their work culture and what is their current target or motto.
- Semiconductor and VLSI
- One needs to prepare well for the online test, be fast in solving Aptitude problems, have a firm grip over the core subjects and develop some good programming skills to be placed in top tier companies as Qualcomm.
- One doesn’t need to be too good at coding. You should know all the basic concepts of C and C++ Programming language. Any scripting language like Python or Perl will be an added advantage for Communication profile as you will using these languages in your future while working.
- Those interested in hardware profile should learn hardware modelling languages like Verilog and VHDL.
- In addition to that one should learn data structure algorithms. The coding aspect of these is however not compulsory. One also be should be able to write basic competitive programs like factorial, sorting, matrix multiplication / inverse etc in any of C or C++ language.
- Practice aptitude problems from Pariksha. Study core communication subjects from NPTEL lectures of Prof Aditya K Jagannatham. For hardware profile follow NPTEL lectures of Prof Indranil Sen Gupta. Solve previous year GATE problems for core subjects you will get a detailed insight into the subjects and it will help in clearing the online test.
- For Communication Profile the following subjects are important
- Digital Electronics
- Analog Communication
- Digital Communication
- Basics of Wireless Communication (Fading, CDMA, MIMO, OFDM)
- Basics of Mobile Communication Protocols (GSM, WCDMA, LTE, 5G basics)
- Basic of Antenna Theory (Basic parameters of Antenna, Antenna length and Spacing, Friis transmission equation)
- For Hardware Profile the following subjects are important
- Analog Electronics
- Digital Electronics
- Hardware Modelling using Verilog
- Microprocessor and Microcontroller
- Embedded Systems
- Regarding the communication profile availing any of the following will be helpful:
- Any research internship in IITs
- Industrial Internships in telecom companies
- Doing a project in wireless domain
- Training in IOT, Image Processing, and Python will be added advantage.
- Power and Heavy Industries
- As far as the core companies of non-circuital branches are concerned, coding is not required.
- Online sources to help land a job in one of the core companies comprise NPTEL lectures and PDFs. The website indiabix.com is also very helpful.
- Offline sources would include notes given in class and a few books of the related subject are very helpful. There's no need for studying the books line by line. A thorough overlook on the important topics is a must though.
- It takes thorough understanding in subjects of mechanics of solid, production processes, basic thermodynamic cycles and a little bit of fluid powered machines (pumps and turbines) to get placed in a dream company like TATA Steel.
- An internship in any mechanical industry will be very helpful. If one opts for a research internship that person should have a thorough understanding of the field of research. Internships play an important role but it can be counterbalanced with ample knowledge of favourite subjects.
- In general HR rounds are relatively easy as this is a technical institute. One should thoroughly know about the core company in which he/she wishes to get placed. Group discussion carries a significant amount of marks, hence preparing well for GDs is also essential.
- There is no online test or GD for Hindustan Unilever Limited except for the HR and technical interviews. So, for the preparation for the technical interviews, a student should be comprehensive with his/her fundamentals in the core subjects. For that, subject books and YouTube videos would suffice.
- Zero coding skills are essential for a profile in the FMCG sector.
- During placements, the interviewer looks for the underlying fundamentals in the core subjects like Thermodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Heat Transfer, Mass Transfer, and Chemical Process Technology.
- Juggernauts like HUL don’t favour internships or prior trainings in any particular field. Industrial trainings and research internships hold the same weightage for them. Nevertheless, one should delve deep into the topics related to the internships mentioned in his/her CV to answer questions in the technical rounds.
- HR interviews are crucial. No question is stupid when it comes to HR interview; hence one should be well prepared.
- BFSI(Software profile)
- Knowledge of basic concepts of core Computer Science like OOPS, OS, DBMS, DS, Advanced DS, algorithms, mathematics, link lists, trees, graphs, puzzles and finally most important AI and machine learning are important.
- One should practice writing code on paper. They do ask for writing code on paper
- Hackerrank, geeksforgeeks are the best platforms for practising.
- Data science, database design, software development, management skills are an add on.
- Never get nervous if encountered with critical questions. Stay confident while answering. Hand gestures are preferred while explaining things. It is advisable to speak good English without any mistakes.
- 11th and 12th PCMB, NCERT is important if you are preparing for the Education sector.
- Teaching internships, content creation internships are most suited and preferred.
- Confidence and clarity of thought process that follows an analytical approach is a must and can help one succeed even if they don’t have the correct answers.
- Oil and Gas
1. To get shortlisted for a PSU, one should ensure that he/she has a good CGPA
2. The technical interview would be mostly based on one's final year project and the summer internship project.
3. PSUs don’t evaluate a candidate based on their coding proficiency.
4. A strong base in core subjects like Strength of materials, Engineering Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer etc is required.
5. For a better understanding of concepts one can rely on video lectures provided by NPTEL and do some certified courses on ANSYS, SOLIDWORKS etc. on Udemy or such platforms.
6. For placements, having an industrial internship experience in a core company gives you an advantage over research internships.
Team Monday Morning wishes the students and training committee very good luck for their future endeavors.