Aman Agarwal is a May 2020 graduate from Illinois Institute of Technology at Chicago with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. He’s an incoming Software Development Engineer at Amazon Web Services (AWS).
1. What is the greatest lesson you learned during your time as a student at IIT?
The two skills – multi-tasking and time management, are very important and always go hand-in-hand. As a student, I learned how to prioritize and switch between multiple tasks, varying from interview preparations to managing the household to hanging out with friends.
2. Did you have an internship in your undergrad? If so, what advice do you have for people who will be interning or doing co-op in the future?
During my graduate studies, I did my summer internship with Amazon in Seattle from May’19 to August’19. Be ready for many and many rejections. But remember, this should not demotivate or demoralize you in any way. You have to be 100% prepared for that one opportunity which knocks your door and converts it into a job offer. Let me help you with some actual numbers. For an internship, I heard back only from 5 companies out of 600 applications.
3. What is one major thing you learned when you stepped into the professional world after graduating?
Professionalism is the key to success. The output of your work, your attitude towards co-workers, positive energy you bring to the team, helping nature, communication skills, and mainly your behavior, are all far more important than your technical skills. Improve yourself as an all-rounder and not just a technical guru.
4. How did you land your first job?
To be frank, I did not do anything special. I applied to almost 600 companies for an internship and only got rejections. Then time turned and I got my 1st offer from a company but that was fellowship and unpaid. I kept striving harder and landed a job in another company paying a decent amount. But in my heart I was clear, I want to be a part of “FAANG”. Finally, one day I was selected for an internship by Amazon. I understood the expectations of the company and worked really hard to fulfill those. On the last day of the internship, my manager told me I have been offered a full-time opportunity and I can join as a Software Development Engineer (SDE) after completion of my graduation.
5. What advice would you give to graduates in 2020?
I understand, some unfavorable situations are born out of this pandemic and the job market seems unstable. But believe me, this is the time to analyze market demands and work on your skills, make contacts and do networking, write a resume and cover letter(s), work on effective communication skills, and whatever you think you need to improve. So that, once companies start hiring in full swing, you should be 100% prepared to apply and accomplish. Landing a job doesn’t require special efforts but yes constant ones.