Geek on the top is all about success stories of Geeks who are working hard to chase their goals and are the inspiration for other geeks.
Sahil Garg is a programming enthusiast since his high school and took competitive programming in his sophomore year in college. Sahil is an MIT, Manipal graduate and seeks to be CEO of his own company. He believes that there is nothing like a bad programmer or a good programmer, it is all relative and different people have their own programming styles and techniques.
How did it all start? What made you land into the world of competitive programming?
I have been a computer science enthusiast since my high school, and my interest in programming grew in the school itself. I had taken up computer science in 11th and 12th grade, where we were taught basic C++ programming. I really enjoyed these classes, and in my sophomore year in college, I found out about competitive programming. I joined two of the largest computer science clubs at MIT, Manipal, ‘IECSE Manipal, and ACM Student chapter’. Seniors in these clubs told me about competitive programming and even ACM-ICPC. This is when I started exploring all of the competitive programming and began practicing on the various sites online. Since then, there has been no looking back.
You have been selected as a Summer Intern at Goldman Sachs. How did you prepare for it?
In the summer after my second year, I started to concentrate solely on my competitive programming skills. I did a remote internship during the summer but mostly worked on improving my data structures and algorithms. I put in 3-4 hours daily to learn and improve my knowledge of C++ Template libraries, Data Structures, and different algorithm techniques. I started solving the data structures and algorithms tracks on Coding websites (like GeeksforGeeks, Hackerrank) as well as participated in sudo-placement 1 of GeeksforGeeks. I would read up at least 2-3 articles daily on GeeksforGeeks on a specific topic that I chose to do on that day. It is very important to stay motivated and continue practicing. For the top companies, speed is also important. Solving more and more questions online helps to improve the speed.
What is your career goal? How are you preparing for it?
I wish to become the CEO of my own company someday. I believe that with the power of computing that we have today, we can solve so many problems and make this world a better place. Having an entrepreneurial mindset, I want to take up these problems and use computer science and programming skills to create effective solutions that make a change in our society. For this, I have been interacting with various mentors, taking their guidance and am planning for a small startup in my own college business incubator. I am doing Android and iOS development so that I can get an insight on how projects are developed. I also have a few apps deployed on the Play Store and I wish to continue to build new ones.
What do you like to do in free time apart from programming?
I enjoy tech quizzing and so I try to stay up to date with the latest trends in gadgets and technology. I play sports and have been a part of my college Basketball and Table tennis teams. I also like to spend my time playing the guitar and playing XBOX. These activities help to relax and calm one down, and help because you will then be rejuvenated and can then think fresh.
How did you handle the stress while competing to code? What are your suggestions for other students for the same?
I think that it is important to neglect the stress that one feels while competing to code. One must concentrate only on themselves and should compete with only himself/herself. There is nothing like a bad programmer or a good programmer, it is all relative and different people have their own programming styles and techniques. So, it is important that one finds their passion, and works to only improve themselves. Programming requires thinking clearly and calmly, and the stress only hampers this, so it is essential that you do not worry about anything but the problem that you’re solving at that time!
You are also active in sports. Do you think students ignore these activities? What do you suggest to students on that?
Yes, it is very important to have some kind of physical activity as it helps to free both the body and mind. I feel that it could be anything, you could go running, or gym or sports, but physical activity helps you to be active and work faster and better. Many students ignore these activities thinking that they would take up their time and waste time in which they can work, but the real fact is that these activities help one to become fresh and fast, and they will then be able to do more work and better work in lesser time. I would really suggest to take up some kind of physical activity, especially if you’re into programming or computer science related work and try to follow a routine for the same.
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