Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I had an inkling forElectronics.
Looking at my elder cousins curiously delve into their electronicprojects from school, only made me more interested towards wanting to know moreabout the forces acting upon the creation of a new electronic gadget. In thisage of continuous technological revolution, having to see a new gadget emergeevery other day and being puzzled by its technological marvel, I decided to bean Engineer and an Electronics and Communications Engineer to that matter. So,I’ve secured myself a spot at “Marri Laxman Reddy Institute of Technology” in”Electronics department” in 2011, not a big name when it comes to engineeringcolleges in India, but I knew that with the right motivation and thirst forknowledge, one would definitely feel home at this place. And hence, myengineering program began with budding expectations of building robots anddifferent kinds of projects.My college didn’t have much to offer in terms of researchprospects, apart from the academic schedule that every student is expected totake. I, on the other hand, was more interested in building something that’sfun, useful, bring me some kind of recognition that separated me from the restof my class. So, I started my search for the perfect project to start my workon, neither too simple nor too advanced, my eyes landed on this web article onmy 21″ desktop screen which had the heading “Build your own line tracer”.
Morethan 5 years ago, having no knowledge about any electronic component or evenhow to use a soldering iron, I was determined to build a line tracer. With thatmotivation, I took a note of the list of components I needed and started on thefirst of my many electronic component shopping sprees. After all the planning,soldering and debugging, I’ve built my own line tracer with my own design.
But,little did I know when I started that the Atmega328 controller that goes on thebot, needed programming for functioning but with my little experience withcoding in C and help from my friends with computer science background, I wrotemy first Arduino code and after many attempts, I was successful in programmingthe bot to follow a black line on a white background. That was really fun, butI learned that for being a successful engineer, one must not differentiatebetween software and hardware aspects of a project and I also knew I had toimprove my software programming skills so that I can undertake much morecomplex projects in the future. I started concentrating more on concepts of programminglanguages C, C++, and Java, learning something new each day, practicing allthat I’ve learned and allocating time for my academic schedule, I slowlyimproved my skills from both software as well as electronics’ end. With my hardwork and dedication towards teaching myself new concepts, I started to work onprojects that challenged me mentally and with my higher analytical ability andproblem-solving skills, it became easier for me to conform to the increasingdifficulty level of my projects. I’ve decided to test myself for my finaluniversity dissertation, by working on an idea that I always wanted to work on,but I wasn’t so sure if I would be able to complete it. I approached my mentorwith this idea and he was more than happy to help me in whatever way possible.Nobody that I know of has ever seen a robot imitate a person let alone buildone in real life.
So, I knew it was going to be a challenging task with thesupport and the time frame I had. This project needed high analytical skills,imagination and most importantly programming skills on Java, which I hadacquired from my previous experience.Nevertheless, with the help of my mentor, along with twofellow students, as a team we worked on my idea and in 4 months’ time we builta robot (my friends called it a motorized skeleton) that took inputs from aMicrosoft Kinect depth sensor. The aim of the project was to generate angles ateach of the body parts that we selected i.e.
shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee, onboth left and right side of the body using the Kinect depth sensor and map themon to servo motors, acting as joints for body parts. Then, when the person infront of the camera moved his hands or legs, the Kinect sensor would pick upthese movements and the angle made by the said body parts will be calculated bythe program and sent to the robot in real time, which would rotate itscorresponding servo motor to that angle and give a feel that it is imitatingthe movement of that person’s body, kind of like skinnier and more powerhungrier version of the “Atom” from the movie “Real Steel”. My job in the teamwas to write the code to construct a digital skeleton, calculate the angles atthe joints made by the intersecting lines of the skeleton using Processing tooland Kinect depth sensor, which were the key variables required to drive theservo motors.
It was during this time that I learned that teamwork andcoordination are the keys to success. I took part in many Robo competitionsheld at different colleges and while winning most of them, I lost in somecolleges too, because of the fact that my robot could only move in2-dimensional space and not in 3 dimensions, it is as they say “You win some,you lose some”. Moreover, my project has been nominated as the best projectamong other projects in our class by the HOD of Electronics department and I’vereceived the highest possible marks for that semester’s major project practicalwork. Apart from my academic work, my keen interest and participation inextracurricular activities like athletics, basketball, and cycling have aidedme in the overall development of my personality. My habit of reading books hashelped me expand my English language proficiency which is quite evident in myTOEFL scores.At the end of my undergraduate program, I was at thecrossroads of making a decision, one that would change my life forever.
By now,I’ve decided to pursue my higher studies in computer sciences, the taste ofwhich I’ve tasted while working on my project. But, the dilemma was whether topursue higher studies or to get a job at an MNC. I’ve decided to take up a jobfirst, see what it has to offer, get professional experience and then plan onpursuing higher studies. And so, I’ve secured myself a job as Software EngineerTrainee at Cyient Ltd.
in 2015, a services and solutions provider to the globalmarket in the fields of data analytics, manufacturing, engineering, andnetworks & operations. I was just an out of college kid, surrounded bypeople, who are domain experts, always thinking out of the box and knew exactlywhat they were doing. The time that I’ve spent at Cyient, is the mostintriguing that I’ve ever been. I was assigned a mentor, who taught me theconcepts like SDLC model, entry criteria, exit criteria, tools that I’ve neverheard of and being the quick learner that I am, I soaked in all the informationthat I could on a daily basis.
Post the six months of training, I started beingproductive to the team which made the management recognize my efforts andpromoted me to Software Engineer. I’ve always put everything into what I didand tried to be the best among my colleagues. This determination has led me toexceed everyone’s expectations in the short time that I’ve started working andearn praise from the management and my colleagues. At a later stage, after about two years, as I was working ona project alone on a Sunday evening, I’ve realised that no matter how muchpractical and domain knowledge one has gained, it all renders to nothingwithout the in-depth knowledge and actual conceptual skills, that can only beattained in an academic setting and I knew my job wasn’t going to help me inachieving that goal. So, it was in this regard, I’ve decided it was the righttime to pursue a graduate degree, where I can attain the all-around skillsneeded to become a full-fledged software engineer and choosing to pursue thatdegree in the USA, only aids me in experiencing the best of the faculty andinfrastructure that anybody could offer and gives me the international exposurethat I vitally need to reach my future goals.I honestly believe that studying computer sciences at theXxxxxxxxxxxxxx University that possesses the ideal academic environment, themost experienced faculty and the best infrastructure, can prepare me for myfuture professional life, contribute to my personal and social development andhelp me in setting a new direction to my professional career going forward.