CommVault Systems Job Process – Software Engineer – Ishaan Arora
Ishaan Arora, Software Engineer at CommVault Systems , shares his experience in this brief interview.
1. Please tell us about your placement procedure at CommVault Systems (Short listing procedure, GDs, Interviews).
The first step to get through to the company was a 65% barrier and either of COE, ECE or IT as the stream. It was later extended to ICE students with a minimum percentage of 70%, this is where I came into the picture. The process was split into two days – the first comprising of a small coding test with 6 classic coding questions the likes of which you find at any competitive coding events, however you had to be quick because as I recall you had under an hour to do them. I was able to successfully solve three and a half of those and got through to the next round that took place the following day. It was another coding round, this time, one big question and 6hrs to do it.
We had to design a virtual file system, the representatives from the company took approx 30mins to explain the entire problem to us, and then we began coding. They had put certain ‘milestones’ and you were expected to have successfully completed a certain number of them after certain regular time intervals or else you were eliminated. By the last milestone and nearly 5hrs of continuous coding later, the number of competitors was reduced to 8 from the original 24 in the beginning of the day.
I finished early, explained my code to the recruiters, and left the room while the other 7 were still coding. And after a couple of hours, I got a call for the interview. We were only 3 who got the final interview call which was started shortly. I was the first to take the interview. It was mainly a tech interview with three interviewers asking questions heavily based on problem solving capabilities. They weren’t after the bookish knowledge, rather how one goes about tackling a particular kind of coding problem. For example, I was asked to give them an approach as to how I would write the backend code for a game of snakes and ladders. The resume was only very briefly discussed.
This interview lasted for about an hour for me and then was followed by a very short HR interview that was more of an interactive session and not so much of the typical HR questions. After this, I had to wait while the other 2 got through their respective interviews, and at the end of it, I was handed an offer with one another.
2. What helped you sail through the hurdles and crack one of the finest jobs?
I’d say patience. 6hrs in front of a computer at a stretch is a long time, and you got to be thinking all through it. Now I used to code apps for the Windows ecosystem and I had developed this habit of coding them from 4-5hrs late every night, and I do believe that really gave me an edge. Also, calmness is almost a necessity. There was a time in the big coding round when I was going nowhere with my code and they started counting down to the deadline for the first milestone. It’s important not to let panic take over at such moments and you shall be good to go.
3. How did you prepare for the placement season? What advice would you give to your juniors regarding the placement season?
Well, to be honest, I had a pretty lackluster resume, so to just bring it up to a respectable level, I decided to pick up app development in the summer break right before the placement season. I developed two apps for Windows and Windows Phone, and a game for Android and Windows. As I mentioned above, this proved to be more helpful to me than just provide extra content to my resume. It was only in the last 2 weeks that I started ‘studying’. I revised the C++ I learned at school, then whatever coding subjects I had in college, which, being an ICE student, weren’t many.
For the rest studies, I relied heavily on youtube tutorials for topics such as data structures and randomly browsed the net for popular coding questions asked in interviews. I didn’t cover much while I was studying, and it was apparently evident to the recruiters because when I was handed the offer, they advised me to study some more before I join. So, based on my personal experience, I’d advice to not focus so much on quantity of what you study, rather try and be good at whatever little you manage.
4. What’s the role of academics in getting a good placement at NSIT?
Not so much. As long as you’ve got a decent percentage, you’re good to go. It might just be my case, but as I was applying for a coding job, hardly any knowledge of my branch’s core subjects was put to test. One way it did help me though was that the interviewers accepted my not being a COE or IT guy as a valid reason for my lack of knowledge on certain topics (mostly related to Operating Systems and Threading).
5. What all internships and projects you did while in college? How did you get them?
As I said previously, I had a very dull resume. I had done no projects or internships in my first three years at the college. And no, I didn’t even lie in my resume either. It was the summer vacation I utilized with the app development and that’s about it. I had a make believe internship at the same time too, but that was hardly any useful, you know how most internships are.
6. Are you planning to do higher studies in near future?
Currently, no. I’m genuinely interested in staying in this field for the rest of my life, and I got a good job too, so MBA is not even an option for me. I am open to the possibility of an MS though a couple of years into my job. I’ll decide on that when the time comes.
7. Would you like to give any general advice to your juniors in NSIT?
Sure. I’ll put it in as little number of words as I can. Don’t stress out yourself. You don’t need to study every word in every book, do spend some time on practicing too. Choose what all companies you apply for, needlessly applying everywhere just because everyone else is and then ending up either unsatisfied with your job or with a bucketful of rejections, both situations are equally terrible. Also, try and be honest as much as you can, you need not be the president of every society to land a decent job. Bottom line, stay calm and you shall do good.