Coder’s Journey featuring Pritha Upadhyay (SDE at Amazon)
Every time you reach a goal, you are already ready to set another and work towards it. Meaning – there’s always a scope of learning and getting to know new things which helps you to set new goals. Walking on the same lines, we at GeeksforGeeks, have brought to you another Coder’s Journey. Through this concept, we at GeeksforGeeks want to bring to your table some inspiring journeys of young coders and how we assisted them in achieving their dream careers.
Pritha Upadhyay has recently completed her graduation in 2020 from IIIT, Vadodara in CSE & is currently working as SDE in Amazon Development Centre. Along with a full-time job, she works as a Knowledge Mentor with Udacity. She started working as an educator with Unacademy when she was a sophomore after which she got the opportunity to contribute to GeeksForGeeks as a Technical Content Writer.
During the course of time, she mentored students in various events including Google Code-In 2019 with JBoss Outreach by RedHat, GSSoC with SHE Endeavours community and GCI 2020 with TensorFlow Organization.
Other than tech, she is a trained Bharatnatyam Dancer and loves travelling.
When and How did “being a programmer” strike you as a perfect career choice?
Computer Science was not even into the picture until class 11th. Having Computer Science for Higher Secondary gave me a great insight into the vast world of opportunities in Tech and I decided to combine my love for CS with my dreams. This was how I started my journey with Computer Science.
After that during my bachelors, I started working with Open Source Organizations and also got in touch with GDG and WTM Ahmedabad. I started mentoring students for open source development and this was when I realised my interest in creating software for solving real-life problems. These consecutive events in my life gave me a whole new perspective about being a programmer and I decided to take this further.
You worked as a Technical Writer at GeeksforGeeks. How did that experience help you in your journey?
I was always a GeeksForGeeks student and the articles have helped me a lot. I started working as a Technical Content Writer with GeeksForGeeks when I was a sophomore. Initially, when I applied for the opportunity, I was quite unsure because I was still a student and the standard of GFG articles made me nervous but with my first article, the reviewers helped me with some specifics which made my article worth publishing. Writing articles required a lot of research and deep dive which gave me a good understanding of the concepts.
I would like to mention about one of the funny coincidences as well, where my interviewer asked me a question from a GFG article and I was one of the code contributors for that problem. I gave the solution and the person thought that I cheated because I gave the exact same approach.
Being a student of GeeksForGeeks as well as a Technical Content Writer, I have spent a lot of my time working around GFG and this has definitely helped me a lot in my conceptual understanding of algorithms.
What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
I don’t consider any downfall in my life as a failure, it’s just the ups and downs of our journey and we need to cross every downfall to reach the hill of success. One such instance was when I was preparing for IIT-JEE and even after preparing for 2 complete years, I couldn’t get a seat in IIT. Obviously, it felt like a failure at the moment but I soon realised that my work will make me achieve my goals and not any IIT tag. I believe that there are achievers in every institute and it only depends on you, whether you want to work or continue blaming what happened in the past.
How did you bag an offer at Amazon? Could you share some tips for the same?
I specifically want to share a story here. When I started searching for a 2 months summer internship, I initially applied to multiple big companies, contacted people on LinkedIn but got no response. At that time, I was preparing to clear GSoC but a summer internship was compulsory in my institute. After a few months, I started doubting my technical skills as I had no offers in hand.
I got rejected by many companies whose names I don’t even remember now and even received discouraging comments.
At that time, I was working closely with GFG as a Technical Writer and I used to contribute to codes as well. I knew that I was good with algorithms and concepts but clearing the initial technical rounds required understanding of the interview process and some hands-on practice.
I still remember, I received the worst ever rejection response from a company and on the same day, I got an email about an Amazon internship opportunity. I had around 3 weeks in hand and I won’t lie, I had good projects and a resume ready beforehand. In those 3 weeks, I started going through the most frequently asked coding questions by the top product companies which are easily available on GFG and after solving some continuous set of problems, I got an understanding of the requirement. After that I started practising some good DS problems, learning from editorials and existing articles.
Obviously, it is not like just 3 weeks of preparation can get you an offer but yes, those 3 weeks prepared me really well for facing the interviews.
I got Summer Internship in Amazon after which I got a PPO and now I have joined as an SDE. The only thing I want to tell everyone going through a similar phase is that never let any individual or any organisation affect your confidence. You are making yourself the best version of yourself and it’s perfect to focus on your flow. Take criticism positively, learn from them and keep going.
To all the people who tell you – ‘Tumse Na Ho Paaega’, show them ki ‘Tumse Hi Ho Paega.’
What are some of your greatest achievements and what are your future goals?
I believe that I have a combination of things that I together consider as an achievement so far. I have mentored students in Google Code-In 2019 with JBoss Outreach by RedHat, Google Code-In 2020 with TensorFlow and GSSoC with SHE Endeavors organisation. I have continued my love for Dancing and other cultural activities along with my technical learnings.
I have explored my interest in mentoring and writing and have experienced it working with Unacademy and GeeksForGeeks. I am now exploring the world of Software Engineering with Amazon. Doing all of this gave me some good understanding of career planning and interview preparation and now I am starting to work as a Counselor with Quantel. I am working every day for the greatest achievement, which I will mention someday.
For the future goals, there is no dead-end to my goal. My dream is to grow every day and become the best version of myself. There are short term goals but this is for sure that I will continue doing multiple jobs along with my full-time job and explore my interests in mentoring and educating.
Pritha can be reached on LinkedIn.
We at GeeksforGeeks, have always tried to impact the lives of all the young coders out there, by bringing to you such inspiring journeys & providing quality content that will help you in your preparation and turn your dreams into reality.
Coders inspiring coders!