I got an offer from a startup to work as an AI engineer intern in December 2020. I happily accepted and went to a trip with friends to Gokarna after a hectic month of end-semester exams. I reached the hotel, and my friends just bought dozens of liquor, and at the exact second, I got a call from one of the Big 4 that I am selected for a Cyber Security Intern. I accepted both.
Legally, I can do internships in both of the company. But mentally, some said, it was tormenting. Also, it was last semester, so I had to finish my capstone project on some NLP research problem. I chose ethical hacking as an elective to add some more complexity, thinking this will help in internships.
So, in brief, I had two internships, one in startup and the other in MNC, a research capstone project and an elective which I had no clue about. All this by staying at home made it more difficult as, at the same time, my mother inaugurated a salon in my hometown that needed my interventions.
I joined the startup in January; everything was new to me. I knew it was a few of the toughest months I am going to face. I had to study signal processing for extracting features from audio and, at the same time to implement something for the startup to keep it running. In the first month of my internship, I just researched how to create a product that can give the best out of the company. I worked with many technologies ranging from Android development, Web Front-end development, Speech Processing, Cloud Computing and making REST APIs. And then an idea changed the course of my work as well as the fate of the company.
A speech and language analytics portal based on real-time/static audio (TrackEn). After numerous brainstorming sessions, we came up with this idea. Unfortunately, predestinated, I had to attend the wedding of my cousin around mid-February, and at the same time, I started creating the MVP without any solid plan but with an optimistic attitude. I was acting like a Full-stack developer and as a nice brother.
I joined PwC as a cyber-security intern without any knowledge in the domain. I was not scared anymore as I was habituated with the pressure from work. But attending the PwC policy sessions while working on an out-of-box project in a startup was challenging.
To skew it more, my family needed me to help them in the salon business. So my typical day started with gazing at Linux terminals and having a heavy breakfast. Then, in mid-day, I used to attend PwC's meetings and did their tasks. And in the evening I used to have meetings with salon employees.
And at night, I used to work on the capstone research project on semantic search. Honestly, I did most of the work, and my teammates just helped me delay the work.
My final-semester exams were approaching, and I have to prepare for the ethical hacking course, which I took thinking it would help me in the internship, but it never did. My GPA was around 6.9, and I badly needed a GPA of more than 7. But I had only 24 hours a day.
I started giving suggestions to my family during dinner regarding salon business and utilized my time in learning CTFs for the hacking course. I soon realized I am good in CTF competitions when I got my name in the top 10 of the university.
In May, I created state-of-art APIs for the startup involving speech processing, got familiar with PwC security policies and built an anomaly detection API, worked on a research paper, wrote a fat-sized project report and participated in CTF to clear my ethical hacking course.
Did everything go well?
Fortunately, yes. But fortune is a combination of positive thinking, consistent efforts and being diligent.
Most of the time, people will say that you cannot achieve; it is impossible to achieve. And at the exact time, a person in your mind will say, 'people are right.'
Frequently, friends will mock you while being a little unconventional in your career or academics. And at the exact time, a person in your mind will say, 'friends are right.'
At the rarest time, an enemy will shout from the crowd proclaiming all results are an outcome of being fortunate. And at the exact time, a person in your mind will say, 'enemies are right.'
One day, you will come with a clean notepad and a fresh pen to jot down your next day or next month plan. And at the exact time, a person in your mind will say, 'I am right.'
. . .
Stop thinking about the future and planning every day; instead, think of a long-term goal and work on them. Because you will always feel, 'I may be wrong.' while planning long-term goals. But you will always feel, 'I am right' when planning short-term goals.
You were feeling 'right,' but you just missed the task you planned yesterday or five hours back. As a result, you will become anxious and start spoiling every succeeding task.
Working on the tasks/goals diligently and keeping focus will help handle any work pressure rather than thinking about when to work or pondering the results.
In Picture: A futile one week plan made in February 2021.