7 lessons I learned as a college student in tech

7 lessons I learned as a college student in tech

Currently, I am employed as a Software Engineer at a startup called The Social Continent. However, approximately 6 years ago, I embarked on my journey into the world of technology as a student, opting to pursue a diploma in Computer Engineering. At the outset of this journey, I experienced a mix of emotions, including confusion, excitement, and apprehension.

Having secured a remarkable 95.20% in my Std X boards, I found myself enrolled at Government Polytechnic Pune. At that time, I had little clarity about my career path. Through a combination of setbacks and achievements, I navigated my way forward. Reflecting on my progress, I often wonder about the series of events that led me to my present position. Starting my diploma without a clear plan, but ending up with a clear vision after completing my bachelor's degree this year, has been an incredible journey. I want to share all the lessons I've learned along the way to make your life in college easier.

My journey began with my first year of diploma studies. During this time, we delved into the fundamentals of programming, starting with the C language. As time marched on, I encountered a significant realization that left a lasting impact.👇

Embrace the courage to attempt without dwelling on the result—whether you stumble or triumph holds no significance in the realm of learning.

But how did I learn this?

Our C programming teacher was guiding us through the intricacies of coding when she posed an intriguing challenge: she wanted a student to jot down a program on the board. Understandably, the room was tinged with nervous excitement; this marked our maiden voyage into the realm of coding. However, I chose to embrace the moment, summoning my courage and raising my hand. With a determined spirit, I penned the program onto the board. Much to my astonishment, its execution unfolded flawlessly. This marked a turning point, a juncture where I resolved to always confront challenges head-on and derive wisdom from them. It's true, I encountered numerous failures along the way, but one constant remained—the unwavering journey of learning.

The second lesson that became apparent to me was when I began to realize that I could effortlessly formulate program logic, no matter how complex, all thanks to my solid grasp of technical fundamentals. Hence the second lesson 👇

Strengthen your technical foundation; every challenge appears conquerable with a solid base.

As I effortlessly grasped concepts, I started underestimating the necessity of rote memorization for exam answers. It took me a while to recognize that I was scoring lower than individuals who hadn't comprehended the concepts as deeply. Even when I elaborated extensively on the subject matter, a crucial element seemed to be lacking. It was at this point that I imbibed my third crucial lesson.

Mastering concepts and their implementation is one thing, but translating that mastery into technical writing, enabling others to grasp your explanations, presents a whole different challenge.

Understanding and mastering complex technical concepts is one facet of the journey, yet the challenge deepens when one strives to transform that mastery into written form, allowing others to seamlessly comprehend the explanations. I came to realize this disparity as I encountered difficulty in employing the precise technical language outlined in textbooks, unlike some of my peers who were doing it with repeated efforts put into memorizing the answers.

This discrepancy signalled the need for me to cultivate my writing skills, understanding that technical concepts cannot be communicated simplistically. The process of articulating these ideas in writing acts as a bridge between comprehension and effective communication. It is the path to finding clarity and depth, making sure the complexities of technical subjects are communicated accurately. This proficiency in technical writing extends beyond exam performance—it facilitates effective teaching, collaborative projects, and the seamless exchange of ideas in real-world scenarios.

Despite achieving a commendable score of 89.80%, fate dealt an unexpected hand as I found myself excluded from the initial allocation list of the degree college. This circumstance compelled me to accept whatever options were presented during the second and final round. The degree college I ended up in wasn't my initial preference. However, adhering to the philosophy that "everything happens for a reason," I chose to perceive this situation through that lens. But I will still say it was one of the best things that happened to me as,

Sometimes you have to fall to bounce back even stronger.

Having completed my diploma studies at a top-tier college in Maharashtra, the transition to a tier 3 college for my degree was undeniably challenging. Recognizing the hurdles that lay ahead, I embraced a strategic approach. In response, I made the conscious decision to become an active participant in coding clubs—incidentally, our college lacked one, but my friends and I rallied to establish it. This initiative facilitated engagement with individuals who shared my passion, fostering an environment in which I could thrive. By forming a circle of like-minded friends, I positioned myself for growth and development despite the demanding road that stretched ahead.

Select your circle of friends thoughtfully, for they wield a substantial influence over your mindset.

This journey transformed my thought processes and cognitive approaches significantly. Swiftly, I delved into a teaching internship, beginning to earn some dollars. It wasn't long before the realization dawned on me—I needed to undertake tangible real-world projects. Thus, I undertook the creation of a digital marketing website for my brother's business. This venture proved invaluable in enhancing my web development proficiency. As time progressed, fueled by three subsequent internships, I proudly adopted the title of a web developer. Moreover, amidst these endeavours, I dedicated time to learning about blockchain technology and attended web3 meetups to connect with like-minded and experienced individuals.

As I grew more adept at crafting projects across various programming languages, I learnt that once your foundational knowledge is solid, you can readily delve into the intricacies of any technology or language and make strides. Amidst my evolving interests, a key insight emerged—comprehending the significance of core fundamentals. Things like networking, databases, how programming works, operating systems, and hardware form the solid foundation for becoming skilled in different areas.

Over these 6 years, my journey led me through various domains - from DSA to Databases, then onto JavaScript and Android app development. Eventually, I found my niche in full-stack web development with a focus on blockchain technology.

That is when I learnt,

Interests shift as new technologies emerge over time. The key to adapting smoothly is having a strong foundation in the basics of computer fundamentals.

Embark on exploration and uncover what aligns with your passions. Avoid hastily narrowing your focus. Early specialization can limit your breadth of knowledge. Instead, venture across various domains, absorbing insights, until you discover the optimal fit that resonates most with you.

In this journey, hackathons stand as invaluable waypoints. They provide not only the chance to dabble in diverse fields but also to hone essential skills like quick adaptation, innovative thinking, and collaborating effectively under pressure. These experiences enrich your explorations, infusing your path with a potent blend of versatility and expertise, ultimately guiding you towards a destination where your passions and capabilities converge.

Hackathons are where rapid thinking fuses with agile coding.

Participating in hackathons provides a unique opportunity to boost your self-confidence in rapidly creating practical and impactful products within condensed timeframes and fast-paced environments. These intense events challenge you to harness your creativity, technical skills, and collaborative prowess to deliver solutions that address real-world problems. This immersive experience not only refines your technical abilities but also fosters adaptability, teamwork, and effective problem-solving. As a result, hackathons serve as a crucible where your development skills and personal growth converge, enriching your overall journey in tech.

Final Thoughts

As I step forward into the ever-evolving landscape of technology, these lessons remain my North Star, guiding me through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. They remind me that the true essence of learning is not confined to textbooks and lectures; it's the fusion of experience, insight, and a relentless hunger to innovate.