Monday, March 28, 2005

Bangalore is well, HOT!!!. No I'm not referring to the social life, I really do mean the weather. For the first time in my life, I long for my good ol Chennai climate.

Now what kind of lunatic would prefer Chennai's weather to Bangalore's? Well,let me explain.

Chennai is hot indisputably. But its sticky hot. It saps the energy out of you, it makes you dull and listless..but it still is not the same as the heat in Bangalore. Bangalore heat makes your lips crack and your eyes burn. Your skin becomes so damn dry. I had a horrible time walking on the road,even after 7 PM.

Well, I shall blog more when I get back on Monday. I cant risk my sister reading my blog now ;-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Very much in Chennai, very much a Java Project :-). So I guess I'm lucky. I've been asked to learn JSP tags for my project. I'm not very comfortable with JSP by itself :P.

So my official life as a software professional has begun. Lets see where it takes me.
My project's over, God bless. It worked beautifully and all the documents were in place. No issues when it came to the final presentation in front of the evaluators.

All of us were quite literally forced to slog it out towards the end. If I had to work weekends to complete such a tiny project, I can imagine how much effort real life projects will require :-)

So today I get to know which project to which I'll be allotted. I'm just hoping its a java project. There's no hard and fast rule here that says that if you are trained in a certain technology, you will be placed in a project using it.

3 day weekend coming up thanks to Good Friday. I'm off to Bangalore . Will blog later.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

When I didnt get into a college of my choice for an MBA, I decided that I'd work for a year or two and then try again.

However, the fundemental question remains " Why do I want to do an MBA? ". To tell you the truth, I've never been able to answer it convincingly. I can only think of the prestige of an IIM degree, the fantastic salaries, the whole hype surrounding an MBA degree, the excitement of the CAT, the GD's and the PI's. So why an MBA? I dont know :P.

Funnily enough, I want to write the exams, take part in GD's and PI's just to prove to myself that I can beat the competition and clear the selection process. I havent given any thought to what lies beyond that. Pretty shallow reason for an MBA right?

I'm hoping that over a year or so, I'll realise the benefit of a management degree (or alternatively realise its all just hype). Thoughts and suggestions on the subject will be welcome :-)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I feel.....overwhelmed. There's so much to do, so little I understand. I dont know where to begin and where to end. I'm talking about the bloody documentation!

There are just so many documents that have to be prepared for my project. I really dont know where to start. Do I do the Customer Requirements Analysis or the Functional Specification Document or prepare the test cases and the test logs? Or should I fill in every quality document that is available? Do I draw the Entity Relationship diagram or the Data Flow diagram or the Sequence diagram? I'm clueless :-(

The quality people are crazy. It really does not matter if the project works or not, it just has to follow company C quality principles.. Know what that means? No matter what you do, there should be a piece of paper( in a pre-defined format) saying that you did it.

It looks like I wont have any time to go near the actual code. I'm just going to be very busy preparing documents. It seems like just an awful waste of time :-(

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Well, for those who did wish to see my picture, here it is :P. Dont know about the Matt Damon resemblance in this one though. This picture was taken when my family went to Darjeeling in May 2004. This was just after I'd completed college and just before I began my job hunt :-).

My training will come to an end soon. All the instructor led courses are over. We are to start working on the projects allocated to the various groups. My group is to develop a life insurance advice system and yours truly has been made team leader.

My team members are already complaining about my fanatical methods of project management. Thats absolutely ridiculous. All I've done is promise my quality reviewer Shanmugapriya a 70% hike in her salary if things went well and promise my designer Balaji bodily harm if anything went wrong. If anybody complains, I snarl and twist their arm. Going to the gym has surely improved my people management skills.

You might wonder why I get so worked up when I'm put in charge of something. Let me tell you why. When I was in my third year in college, I was asked to organise a state level symposium. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. The computer used for presentations died. When finally brought to life, it completely deleted the chief guest's power point presentation.

My wonderful juniors gave the memento to everybody onstage but the chief guest, there was a power cut, I asked the principal to release the magazine instead of the college secretary(well, the secretary wasnt there when he was supposed to release it. He however entered precisely 1 second after I asked the principal to release it. Princi got worked up and thought I had insulted the secy......crazy halfwits). I recieved a severe tounge lashing from the staff in charge at the end of the day. I had a minor nervous breakdown after that and didnt go anywhere near a mike for about 6 months.

When I organised a State Level Technical symposium in my fourth year, I sat on everybody's head until they got it right. The symposium went of flawlessly. It was however stupefyingly boring. My friend Tushar who was supposed to handle the computer fell into a deep coma right in front of the chief guest. The juniors kept trying to go home and the size of the audience shrunk miraculously over the course of the day. But still, everything went according to plan, so I feel
good about it.

So the lessons I learnt? Dont trust anybody. Given a chance, people will screw up. Sit on their heads until they get it right. Abuse is motivation(Reverse psychology). Worry, Worry, Worry. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. You can trust the girls to the job perfectly. Guys will offer to take responsibilty and then at that critical moment when you need them the most, will
be found in the movie theatre.

So you see why I get worked up? Trust me, I know what can wrong and what will go wrong. Thats what makes me a good team leader :P.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Some of you might be interested to know what exactly I do in company C. Well, I am currently a Programmer Analyst Trainee. I'm being trained mainly on Java and J2EE.

When I was in school, I never thought that one day I would earn my living writing code. I was not a great fan of C++, the programming language taught to us in the 11'th and 12'th. I got along ok until the teacher got into the Data Structures bit. I got lost after that. I never understood Stacks, Linked Lists, Queue's and Binary Trees. Pointer's baffled me. I pretty much lost confidence in my programming skills after that.

Now as a trainee in a big MNC, I have learnt to write code in a much simpler manner (ie) the Cut Copy Paste method. Say I'm given a particular problem to work on.For example I have to write code to collect data from a user, query a database, process the collected data and return some meaningful information.

Given the fact that I have to learn a lot of stuff in a very short period of time, I really dont have the time to deeply understand each concept. Our trainers assured us that we'd learn everything on the job. For now just a passing familiarity is all that is needed. So how do I write my code?

Here's what I do : Open up an example given by the instructor where data is collected from a web page. Open up another example where a database is queried. Copy and paste sections of the second piece of code into the first. Adjust the brackets, make some minor adjustments to suit my needs and Voila! I have a perfectly functional piece of code. Please keep in mind though that I have absolutely no idea how it actually works. I keep adding or removing stuff until the code compiles and executes. Once it works, there is momentary feeling of accomplishment and then I move onto the next problem.

I must say though that I feel terribly guilty doing this. I'm merely manipulating what has already been created, not creating anything from scratch. This kind of work hardly brings any intellectual kind of satisfaction.

I've been told that no one writes code from scratch these days. Templates exist for practically every kind of problem. If your company has a done a number of projects for an insurance company and it gets new projects for another company, it merely adjusts the original code and gives it to the new client. No heavy thinking is required.

I must say what I learnt busted some myths about the software profession I had in mind. I always thought you needed highly intelligent people to write code. Now I have discovered that you just adjust the existing templates and get along. Templates exist so that it takes less time to develop the project and also so that testing the code becomes simpler.

I really dont know how I feel about that. I'm relieved that I wont be required to do any heavy thinking...also slightly dissapointed. I always thought software engineers were highly intellectual people :P.

Oh well, I guess I cant really pass comments now. I havent done any real work yet as I'm still a trainee. Another 20 days of training and then I'll be placed in a project (or put on bench, one never knows :P ). I'm looking forward to it. But for now, I'm just a JCCPP ( Java Certified Cut Paste Programmer :) )