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Chhavi is a Computer Science Graduate from Delhi College of Engineering and is currently working as a Software Engineer in Microsoft. She is highly passionate about Machine Learning and has 3 research papers published in Natural Language Processing. Chhavi has been a speaker at Grace Hopper Celebration, Orlando’19 and is a scholar recipient for GHCI. She has also been a Campus Ambassador for GeeksforGeeks and helped fellow students with Competitive Coding. Apart from programming, Chhavi loves traveling and reading. She believes that everyone should try and “Be the Best Version of themselves“.
When and How did “being a programmer” strike you as a perfect career choice?
I love being creative and building things, so I just followed the science stream in 12th standard. I had never “coded” until college first year. After the first experience of working on C++ and later android development, I started enjoying the experience immensely. It felt empowering, sort of, to actually be able to create something(website/ app or a software) by just writing some lines. After I started competitive programming on CodeChef, I knew this is what I wanted to do. There was a thrill when you get a tick at the end of a correct submission, rewarding you for the hours put in while pondering over the ideal approach.
You worked as a Campus Ambassador. How did that experience help you in your journey?
Being a Campus Ambassador, I conducted “competitive coding” classes for students in the college. It provided me an opportunity to teach students, and while doing that, I gained clarity of concepts like never before. The amount of pre-work and research before each class to answer the students’ doubts prepared me well for DSA.
What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
The first company in our campus was Amazon, which I could not clear. By then I had a PPO from a company where I was not keen on going. I had no option to sit for on-campus placements. I kept cold emailing recruiters or reaching out to random people on LinkedIn for referrals. I was desperate and kept trying, without losing hope. Somehow with the turn of events, I ended up getting a job at Microsoft, for which I am still grateful. The lesson here is quite simple, “Don’t Quit, Keep Trying“. At one point, I realized I was not afraid of rejections anymore. It is a part of life. Somewhere, after so many attempts, someone would have to respond with a “Yes”.
How did you bag an offer at Microsoft? Could you share some tips for the same?
I was a GHCI scholar in 2017, when luckily Microsoft was hiring from the conference. I had to give an online coding round before the conference dates, and the interviews were held on the conference site. As an IT student, I was prepared with basic data structures and algorithms. For last-minute revision, I referred to Geeks LMNs, which proved in quite handy as I was asked theoretical concepts of Operating Systems. Apart from that, I believe it is very important to have a good command over DP, array/ strings, and trees for Microsoft interviews. For theoretical concepts, basic OOPS, OS, and DBMS topics should suffice.
What are some of your greatest achievements and what are your future goals?
One of my happiest memories is being selected as a speaker for GHC. A conference which over 20,000 women and men attend, from diverse backgrounds, all connected by one thing: their passion for tech. It allowed me to network and connect with some really great people.
For my future goals, I believe in having realistic short term plans for the moment, which act as stepping stones for the long term goal. I want to always keep growing and learning. Stagnancy scares me. For my personal growth, I am constantly reading books over a variety of genres: Nietzsche for philosophy, Investment books or biographies of famous corporate leaders, self-development books, etc. I even created a YouTube channel(BookShots) to share this passion for books. For my professional growth, I am pursuing a distant online masters in Machine Learning from Georgia Tech. I also keep researching beyond the normal confines of work, constantly exploring new horizons and pushing boundaries. We should never limit ourselves.
Chhavi can be reached at LinkedIn
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