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How he ended up as an Automation Specialist at Grab

Sigma School
15th April 2024

Watch the full interview here :

In this episode of Stories of Hackers, we talked with Gautam Mishra, Automation Specialist at Grab to present about his journey of becoming a software developer and tips and tricks of how to be successful in the tech field. We hope you guys can learn some new insights from Gautam’s story and his experience, enjoy!

Can you give an introduction of yourself to our community?

Hey guys, my name is Gautam and right now I'm working at Grab.  I'm originally from India and did my Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science Engineering so I'm like a proper computer science guy but I'm not that good. I feel like the newcomers, the interns are doing really great and I'm a bit scared that they might take over haha.

Let’s start with some short, quick questions for us to know you better. First things first, what’s your favourite programming language?

That's a tough question because there’s a lot of languages are very good actually but I would name two for me, one is C# and the other is jQuery or say like JavaScript, though javascript and jQuery are like a scripting languages and you cannot categorize them as proper programming language but these days the line is very blur between these two.

Second question, Mac or Windows?

Windows, I am a diehard Windows fan. I think for programmers, Windows does give you more liberty to experiment with the system itself, Mac is bit control, you cannot hack into the system, you cannot jailbreak things 

Last short question, favorite code editor?

If you talked about free one or open-source one then definitely Visual Studio code and if you talk about those who can support frameworks full-fledged then it will be Visual Studio.

What have you done in the past that helped you get your first job? 

My life is really a story of struggle, I was a born in a very poor family, our financial condition was really really bad and sometimes we didn't have food to eat you but the good thing is that my family always ensured that we get education regardless that they were sleeping hungry sometimes but they made sure that we are getting education so my schooling was good unfortunately I didn't have books so I used to go to my friend's house and just study with them and then fortunately my neighbor had a computer and he allowed me to use it and then I got I was interested in C programming when I was like 11.

I got graduated from a college which was a very crappy college actually so I wasn't able to get jobs it was very tough for me and especially because I was from a city which is not known for you know the IT industry so the companies were really less and all of them were looking for you know person with experience.  I asked one of my other friend for a job opportunity and he called me and I was interviewed but they said that interview wasn't good because especially I was C# programmer and they gave me a task to do on system and I took a bit of time, i really want the job so i just ask them to take me for free but after one week, I was fired because of slow programming and I was so demotivated then I started preparing for other jobs for government services.

Fortunately, one of my friends went to Delhi which is the capital of India and he introduced me into his company and then I got my first job there. He also taught me a bit of programming in jQuery and since then, I never looked back, I just kept improving myself. I jumped from one company to another company and that's how it has been.

What strengths do you think are the most important for a developer?

There are two things which are really important for being a software developer, one is creativity and the second is critical thinking so there is a very fine difference between these two, creativity is like you can think of anything but critical thinking comes in when a solution is failing then you look for a turnaround.

I'm saying it to all the programmers out there, you should be really focusing on debugging because debugging is the one which is going to save you anywhere in your job. With creativity, it's just a gift to you, you're just gifted or sometimes you can improve your creativity by solving some riddles or playing some games.

Does a Uni degree matter in the hiring process?

It doesn't matter how good you are it's very hard to bypass the resume shortlisting if you don't have a uni degree but a resume can be designed in such a way that it might give me a thought that, I want to test this guy, this looks very interesting. I mean, you have to balance things like if you don't have one thing definitely you have to balance it somewhere right? So resume the place where you balance it.

What is one advice you'd give to people starting off in tech?

IT or tech field is a field which is evolving almost every day,  almost every second actually. New things are coming every second so the most important thing is to keep you updated with the latest trends. So how do you decide which one to go for? You always should look for those trends or skills which you think might impact the businesses most, learn those things which are newest in market, even the interviewer doesn't know what to use because he also doesn't know the technology and you will always be top of the chain.

Hope you enjoyed this series!

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