“Persistence is what got me this far”, says Prabha Satya, Yahoo!’s recent hire for Software Development. Lately Yahoo! is also actively hiring other than acquiring startups one at a time. “I want to make a difference in the field of technology, however small it may be” she explains when asked about her Goal in life. A graduate from a remote village in Andhra Pradesh to multiple placement offers at IIITB , this week we bring you the story of Prabha who considers herself as a proud Alumnus of IIIT Bangalore.
Want to know how her resume looks like ? You can download it here.
Could you briefly describe about your student days at IIIT Bangalore ? How is it like to study there?
Prabha: I was a very common student until my B.Tech but it was when I joined IIIT-B for my masters, I had become a true computer science student. It had widened my horizon, made me inquisitive and curious at learning instead of just being bookish.
Coming to my student days over there, they were really challenging. The kind of dedication we used to pay in order to produce some quality work in our projects is so intense. I do remember one course in our college, Web Information Retrieval,which had changed me and my learning process completely with its mandate oriented approach. IIIT-B is the best place I had ever been and it had truly made gaining knowledge as my aspiration.
What makes Yahoo so special? Why did you decide to join Yahoo?
Prabha: Yahoo! is a great place to work for. The kind of exposure one gets in terms of technologies is both deep and wide. Now, Yahoo! is in a very big transition. And even if small change has to be made, it does not effect just hundreds of users but millions of users, the scale with which it operates is very big.And being able to deal with such a scalability makes it special. The only reason for me to choose Yahoo! is it is very much aligned to my interests.
Can you describe the complete hiring process of Yahoo?
Prabha: There are several different rounds. First round was a written test which included around 50 objectives, completely technical and no aptitude questions. This round is intended to test the basics in computer science.Next there were two programming rounds. You have to code and solve some algorithmic related questions. Then started my technical interviews. I had about three technical interviews in which first two were completely focused on problem solving and algorithms. Then came the last technical interview, this is mostly aligned towards designing systems. I need to design some real time problems like building an airport system in a best possible approach, best cache system etc., In this round, they also dwell ed deep into my projects and electives . All the 3 interview rounds lasted for more than an hour. And it was finally HR round.
What were the tricky questions you encountered? How did you tackle them?
Prabha: In the second technical interview, they gave me a question which should be solved using stacks. I was not able to give the exact solution. I just told all the possible approaches and the best way is to solve using stacks and why is it so. The only thing which matters in technical rounds is our approach to solve the given question. You need to start from the basics and go on discussing with the interviewer till the best possible solution arrives. Most of the time the interviewers help us arriving to the solution.
What is Yahoo culture like? How does it impact the overall process of working there?
Prabha: Culture in Yahoo! is very much open. There are events where you will get to know what other teams or departments are working on. You are very much welcome to any suggestion before any product reaches the end user. Your work is not just for your team and you can also contribute by making hacks in quarterly hackathons etc., There are lots of chances to contribute ideas not just belonging to your work but anything which makes an impact from the company’s perspective.
Yahoo has been going through a transition phase recently . How do you think this affects the workplace from a career perspective?
Prabha: Yes, after Merissa Mayer took over as CEO, Yahoo! is in a very big transition phase. Developing products from scratch is challenging but developing new features(which are not intended to provide at the start) for any product with minimal changes to the existing base product is even more challenging. It is a great time to work in Yahoo! in terms of learning.
What were some important factors according to you that made you stand out?
Prabha: Sound basics, developing problem solving abilities, solving algorithms, enough coding skills helped me. Being a technology student one should be able to follow the changing trends, should be ready and willing to learn new stuff every day because change is rapid in the field of technology. Any student who is ready to learn new stuff can lead here. I always enjoyed accepting challenging work and continuous learning. May be that helped.
Currently, what are you working on and how has been the experience till now?
Prabha: I am currently working for Advertisements and Data platforms in Yahoo!. My work is more towards user data analytics. Got a chance to work on one of the biggest data pipelines in the world. My journey is just started and there are very big technologies within Yahoo! and there are lots to learn for me.
Your advice to students and job seekers from elite colleges
Prabha: When we are in college, there would be lots of pressure in terms of grades, averages and needless to mention pressure of getting a job and making it big. But only thing which matters is to focus on gaining more knowledge. Do not limit your work just to course work. Try out some new stuff. And at last be curious and inquisitive at what we learn. All these finally pay us.
Any relevant incident or experience that you like to share through TopTalent?
Prabha: There would be lots of distractions but we should not get blinded by the options while choosing the courses we elect, or the job profiles which we aim for. If you want to choose something, first know what your interests are, what you want to work for and then decide the best possible option. Learn to enjoy the journey by constantly gaining more knowledge out of your interests and by accepting challenging work.
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