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From B.Tech dropout to developer


Alright, so our guest today is Aman Kumar. He hails from Dharamshala, a beautiful place surrounded by mountains.

I've always dreamed of sitting by a river bank or on a mountain with my laptop, coding away. Aman lives that dream.

Coming from a humble background, he has climbed his way to the top and is still ascending.

I personally know him and have witnessed his numerous struggles with programming. Despite this, he never stopped pushing forward.

Aman shares his favorite quote by René Descartes:

You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.

René Descartes
Let's dive into Aman's story in his own words.

Hey, tell us a bit about your background. Where do you work, and what do you do there?

My name is Aman, and I originally come from Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

I work as a software developer at a startup based in the United States. The company focuses on developing products for various markets.

Though my background is in B.Tech Computer Science, I dropped out soon after enrolling.

How did you start with programming? Share your first experience.

I first encountered programming during my first year of college when I was introduced to C++ and C. However, it wasn't until I joined a coding bootcamp that I truly immersed myself in coding.

The bootcamp provided an immersive environment dedicated solely to learning how to code. It was there I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for programming.

The structured curriculum and supportive community made learning more accessible, although I faced many challenges initially. Learning to code seemed very difficult at first, but with time and hard work, I managed to become a developer.

Overall, my initial experience with programming was a mix of emotions, including the fear of failure and hurdles in learning and implementing programming concepts.

How did you manage those emotions? What kept you going?

In the bootcamp, we had mentors who helped us learn coding concepts. Additionally, there was a community of people with whom we could interact and discuss whenever we had doubts.

Whenever I got stuck with a problem, which is normal during the learning phase, I first tried to solve it by myself with the help of Google, YouTube, and Stack Overflow.

If I still couldn't figure it out, I talked with my community friends. I joined many Discord and Slack channels to get answers from there.

If the problem remained unsolved, I sought help from my mentors.

Have you ever felt like giving up? Felt like programming wasn't for you?

Yes, there was a time when I was learning JavaScript and ReactJS, and I got really frustrated.

I felt like quitting programming altogether because it was so tough. But then, one of my mentors intervened with great advice. They helped me view things from a different perspective and encouraged me to persist, even when it felt incredibly difficult.

Their support motivated me to continue, and I'm truly grateful I did.

It taught me that difficult times are just part of the journey, and with the right support, I can overcome anything.

Programming not only initiated my professional journey but also shaped my thought process towards life.

How did you land your first major breakthrough as a developer?

I secured my first job as a software developer by applying through various job portals. After numerous applications, I finally got an opportunity to interview with a company based in Chandigarh Mohali.

It was a significant opportunity for me, and I was eager to demonstrate my skills and passion for programming during the interview. Fortunately, my efforts were rewarded, and I was offered the position, marking my breakthrough as a developer.

It was an exhilarating moment that affirmed my hard work and determination to carve out a niche in the industry.

---- Interviewer ----
You mentioned, "Fortunately, you were offered the position." This reflects your humility. I'm sure your consistency and intensity played a larger role than luck.

I also want to highlight what you said about "Sending numerous applications." It's a numbers game. The more effort you put in, the higher your chances of succeeding.

I believe it's called "The Law of Averages."

Yes, I comletely agree!

If you were job hunting today, how would you approach it? What process would you follow?

If I were looking for a job today, I'd start by building my professional network on LinkedIn, Twitter, and GitHub. These platforms are crucial for connecting with potential employers and showcasing my skills.

I'd begin by working on frontend and backend projects and deploying them to demonstrate my capabilities.

Regular updates on my learning journey and project developments would be shared across my social media platforms and GitHub.

By consistently committing to GitHub and sharing insights on Twitter and LinkedIn, I'd actively engage with the developer community and potential employers.

This proactive approach would not only highlight my skills but also help me establish credibility and visibility in the industry.

Ultimately, showcasing my learning and projects would serve as a powerful portfolio, distinguishing me from other candidates and increasing my chances of securing a job opportunity.

---- Interviewer ----
Absolutely, couldn't agree more.

You must build your social presence, have your projects in place, and build your network. Keep doing this for 6 months.

If you do this, there's no way you won't make it.

Development is a demanding job. How do you handle burnouts?

To maintain a work-life balance, I make sure to prioritize self-care.

I take regular breaks during work and exercise to clear my mind. In my free time, I enjoy hobbies like reading, cooking, and engaging in outdoor activities.

These activities help me relax and recharge, ensuring I stay motivated and focused in my work.

Are there any non-technical skills or hobbies that you feel have contributed to your success as a developer?

Yes, apart from technical skills, I've also focused on improving my communication skills.

Being able to effectively communicate ideas, collaborate with team members, and explain technical concepts has played a significant role in my success as a developer.

---- Interviewer ----
Amazing, and of course, communication skills really matter in the software industry.

Although communication skills don't specifically mean English, English is the language of this profession.

You need to have basic English speaking, writing, and understanding skills in place.

As developers, we are always learning something new. What are you learning right now?

Right now, I'm learning about cloud services, specifically AWS. I've completed learning about EC2 machines, CI/CD pipelines, and S3 buckets. I'm still progressing with other topics like Lambda.

How do you keep up with the rapidly changing tech industry?

Yes, this industry is relentless when it comes to staying updated.

I follow some blogs and channels like:

These resources keep me informed about the latest developments in the industry.

Which AI tools do you use on a daily basis? Have you noticed any positive or negative impacts of using AI in your development workflow?

I mainly use ChatGPT's code interpreter to accelerate my development work. This tool helps me deliver outcomes faster by understanding the root causes of bugs and offering the best solutions to fix them.

It also assists me in optimizing my code.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?

In the next 5 to 10 years, I see myself transitioning into a more managerial role, like an engineering manager.

Any advice or tips for other devs, especially newcomers?

Keep learning, keep going, and don't be afraid of hurdles and obstacles because these are part of the journey. If you're stuck, don't hesitate to seek help.

I highly recommend joining a community, whether online or offline. Being part of a community can immensely help you.

Lastly, I want to share my favorite quote, which has kept me going through tough times.

You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.

René Descartes

Thank you for reading. Special thanks to Aman for his patience with my questions and follow-ups.

I share a developer story plus a deep dive into a programming concept every week. Join the newsletter to receive the story directly to your email.

DiaryOfADev: Success stories of underdog developers.

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