Coder’s Journey featuring Abhishree Shetty (Software Engineer at Microsoft)

Coder’s journey covers the experience of programming experts across the globe. With coder’s journey, GeeksforGeeks aims to deliver practical guidance to all young programmers and assist them in launching their dream careers.

Abhishree is a Computer Science graduate from Manipal Institute of Technology and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. She has also worked with Cisco as a Business Analyst Intern. She is a computing enthusiast and has a very keen interest in solving puzzles and problems. Abhishree has also worked with GeeksforGeeks as a Campus Ambassador. Apart from programming, she likes to read, cook, travel, or go for a walk to rejuvenate. She believes that If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, then what you want becomes the sacrifice”.

When and How did “being a programmer” strike you as a perfect career choice? 

It was a gradual process for me, I did not have a particular ‘Eureka’ moment per se. Since my childhood, I’ve had a penchant for solving puzzles, math problems, or anything pertaining to logic in general. As a result, I decided to choose my subjects accordingly. I wrote my first working code in the 11th standard and it felt ecstatic. I felt the same joy as I did when I cracked a tough puzzle or hard Sudoku. And then there was no going back. Apart from college lab sessions that needed programming, I also started coding for fun, taking part in hackathons, various competitions & proactively looked for ways to use programming to ease out my own daily life. For instance, during my 3rd year of college, I had written a Linux file organizer script to organize the files in my system as files in my PC were always cluttered. Thus, pursuing a career out of my interest came as a natural choice. Additionally, the realization that a person sitting at his/her desk can write a program & impact the entire world positively, fortified my decision.



You worked as a Campus Ambassador of GeeksforGeeks. How did that experience help you in your journey?

The post of Campus Ambassador of GeeksforGeeks resulted in an inherent drive to be a better programmer in my campus. Apart from conducting coding events in the college to impart programming education & helping budding programmers with the necessary support I can, I knew I had to work on honing my own coding skills. I started to proactively go through GFG articles, study algorithms, make sure I knew answers to most of the commonly asked questions. I personally felt the need to be able to help when my juniors or peers reached out to me.

What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

I can’t think of one big failure. As there has been a good number of setbacks I’ve had in life. It was my 3rd year of college, the time when companies came to recruit for 2 months summer internships. I felt that I was fairly prepared. After clearing the entrance test for a good number of companies, I would go till 1st or 2nd round only to get rejected. This included companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Goldman Sachs. I was disheartened & felt my that hard work is not paying off. After several rejections, I tried applying off-campus as well. For about 7 months, I had only seen the face of rejection. I had numerous moments where I felt insecure, where I questioned my career choice & asked the most daunting question of all, “Am I not good enough?”. This ended, when I bagged an internship in Cisco & then several others followed.

What I learned from it is: 

  • Acceptance: I learned that I need to accept my setbacks and move on. It’s important to realize that apart from internal efforts put in, other external factors should favor too. So the end result is not in our hands. “Whatever has to go wrong, will go wrong” – Murphy’s Law
  • Persistence: Don’t stop trying hard/ give up after a series of rejections, because there will be light at the end of this tunnel if you keep walking. Take every setback with a pinch of salt & be patient. 

How did you bag an offer at Microsoft? Could you share some tips for the same?

Major factors that helped me are:

  • Getting the basics right Having a strong background in Data structure and Algorithms
  • Know your algorithms & FAQs – Having gone through GFG religiously from 2nd year of college. Over 2 years I had covered most of the algorithms & frequently asked questions asked in interviews.
  • Keep Coding- I realized quite late that knowing how to solve and actually solving is not the same. Implementing as and when I studied an algorithm helped me gain confidence & improve my speed
  • Learn from others experience Talking to seniors who have previously cracked this process & learning from their experience

For tips, apart from the above-mentioned ones,

  • Think out loud while answering. Often interviewers are not just focused on the solution but how you arrive at it. Also, do not straight away give up if you think you don’t know the answer. Keep trying, start with a basic approach, ask for hints, show that you’re willing to arrive at the solution.
  • For coding/algorithms, also speak about the faults, if any, in your solution. Like, edge cases not taken care of, scalability, space, or time issues that can be worked upon. Demonstrate critical thinking for your own solution.
  • Be confident 

What are some of your greatest achievements and what are your future goals? 

  1. Technical head of the official computer science club in college (IECSE)
  2. Community Volunteer for Teach Code for Good. It’s a student-run club where we teach underprivileged kids basic programming & about computers, in general, using our laptops. I love teaching & to have gotten an opportunity to teach, to make a difference has been very gratifying.
  3. Worked on Compiler Design lab code enhancement  which went on to get added in the official laboratory curriculum for the subsequent year.
  4. Bagging job offers in Cisco, Microsoft
  5. Acceptance for a research internship in Gdansk University of Technology, Poland in AI discipline
  6. Winning 2nd place in Microsoft wide annual Hackathon where my team built an AI solution to detect & mask sensitive content from a video during video share.

Future goals:

  • Ensure that the work I do can make a positive difference in this world
  • Never get complacent in my career
  • Towards the final years, I would love to pursue teaching as I find that very fulfilling

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