What does a computer scientist do at ISRO?

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Image credit – http://hck.re/l9MXiQ

The Indian space research organisation has made the country proud. To put a satellite in Mars’ orbit at a cost lesser than the budgets of many Hollywood movies is an amazing feat. That too, in its first attempt.

It’s a big deal. Our audience at HackerEarth is predominantly that of software engineers, given the cool things that ISRO is doing currently, it is only normal to want to work for the organisation.

For the typical software engineers, the work at ISRO might not be as exciting as you think it is. In a recent Reddit AMA by 3 ISRO scientist, the question was asked on what it is like to work at ISRO for a software engineer -

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Python or Ruby?

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Image source – http://hck.re/Lk6vYS


Before we actually make a choice on this, let’s just say that there is a lot of talk about this and to an extent you could say that the debate has been laid to rest. However, here in India, apart from the the small fraction of people involved in competitive coding or open source contributions, this is still a burning question. Which of these two languages, which is rapidly increasing in popularity, should one learn to get a job?

India is an interesting programming ecosystem. Most software skill adoption is directly related to its usefulness in landing a job. I have personally come across students who’ve told me that they’d been advised to learn python or ruby over the other, because it will help them get a job. They aren’t wrong, as they’re speaking from what they know.

But let’s do some research. To understand why a job would require you to learn one of these languages, I think it is important to understand the differences between the two languages.

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Engineer’s day is for everyone.

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Image source – http://hck.re/AzbGZT

The 15th of September is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in memory of India’s engineering icon M. Visvesvaraya. A highly disciplined engineer, he was known for his sincerity, time management and unsurpassable devotion to a cause. He was a civil engineer and his work involved everything from building roadways, to dams and anti flood systems.

In his life as an engineer, Visvesvaraya engineered many systems to reality. Here are some of his great achievements -

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You can’t stop hiring talent. Ever.


These days when I observe that successful entrepreneurs, companies or investors have a common thread in their behaviour when it comes to seeking talented people. They are always on the look out and they are always hiring. Entrepreneurs are hiring to have a co-founder, companies to hire great employees and investors for leading their portfolio companies.

A few days ago, I met a fellow entrepreneur who had an e-commerce startup earlier and who practically knows every one in Bangalore startup and VC community. He headed sales for a big company recently and just quit to start up again with an aim to build a nice product for sales people.

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5 best Indian mobile app companies to work for

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Image credit – http://hck.re/1Ge1QK

Mobile apps have well and truly arrived and the demand for mobile application developers is now higher than what it has ever been. India being the software development engine of the dot com era has smoothly transitioned into the mobile world as well and we’re seeing some good mobile development companies emerge in the recent past.

But back in the dot com days, India never saw too many software product companies. More emphasis was laid on the software services front. This was because distribution was complicated and most entrepreneurs stuck to getting paid for building software and not worrying about distribution and marketing of a software product.

That has changed now. The concept of the app store has made it a level playing field. Simply uploading an app on an app store now makes an app available to anyone in the world with an internet enabled smartphone. Furthermore, internet marketing has greatly evolved and monetisation is also reaching some sort of maturity.

All this has given rise to mobile product companies from India. If you’re a mobile developer in India, here are 5 companies that you must try your chances with (in no particular order)

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Too much leadership is bad

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Image credit – http://hck.re/Rvct0L

Coming to think about it, too much of anything is bad. But in the case of leaders, it is quite a tricky one. When you think of a leader, your mind automatically drifts to charismatic sports captains or an awesome CEO, like say, Steve Jobs. I still think charismatic leaders are good to have around, especially if you’re treading uncharted territory. But in the software world, where things, for the most part at least, are very well defined, the role of charisma in a leader is getting, well, a little irrelevant.

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How to become a data scientist?

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“Today’s world is drowning in data and starving for insights.” – Anon

I thought that was quite profound.

There are roughly 2.9 billion internet users in this world. Close to half the world’s population uses the internet and for an internet company, that mean generation of a lot of data. And data being what it is, every bit is laden with information that can be used to make a business decision.

But the sheer volume of data, and the velocity with which it is generated make it impossible to analyse with conventional tools. This gave rise to the data scientist. A data scientist makes a hypothesis about a certain phenomenon and validates it with data. Just like how a physicist or a chemist makes a hypothesis and conducts experiments to prove it.

There are three main skills that a data scientist needs. One the one hand, a data scientist needs to be fluent in a software languages and algorithms. The data scientist must also be an adept mathematician and statistician. And finally, a good data scientist should have domain knowledge.

I will explain the importance of each of these skill sets in the next sections -

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How to get a job in a game development company

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Image credit – http://hck.re/tMl7w6

I recently came across this really good video by outsidebox.com where the crew interviewed some top engineers, artists and writers from the gaming industry. The purpose was to understand how to get into the gaming industry.

The workforce of the gaming industry are segregated into developers, artists and writers. The writers come up with the concept and storyline of a game, the artists give these concepts shapes and size through imagery and the developer codes the concept and the art into reality (figuratively speaking :D ).

Like so many other young engineers, writers and artists, if your interest lies in the gaming industry, the following tips might be of great use to you -

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Five epic video resumes

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Image source – http://hck.re/wv20XC

Video resumes are incredibly interactive – each minute on a video, if used well are worth a thousand words. It is so easy to go through a 3 minute video and you would have conveyed more than what you could have with a 100 page booklet about yourself.

Humour, creativity and imagination, when put to use well, can help you make an engaging video which people wouldn’t mind spending time on. I’ve compiled a list of 5 video resumes which are engaging, informative, and in most instances, quite funny!

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Interviewers should be blind

Blind justice

While you’re wrapping your head around the headline, let me tell you a story.

There was once a german orchestra, which was looking to add new flute players to its team. This was a very popular orchestra and musicians from the world over wanted to be a part of it. Like this one flute player from the US.

She flew down to Germany and gave the audition of her life and was sure that she would be called in for the final round. Only, she wasn’t.

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