How I became Android Developer

Hari Vignesh Jayapalan, Google certified Android Developer

Hari Vignesh Jayapalan | LinkedIN

Google Certified Associate Android Developer | Blogger | International Speaker | Unicorn Dev | IDF Certified UX Designer

How was your University time?

University time was good. That’s where I got the initial taste of this industry. I started to work for a small startup for free that time. The team was really awesome and that’s where I learned a lot. Though I was doing works like photoshop, little front-end and wordpress, I got many insights on doing a project and managing the learning curve for the project.

In university, my academics was very inconsistent. I was doing B.Tech IT and in first year I was a college topper but my 5th sem I had an arrear. I don’t know what went wrong, but I guess I got bored on going behind marks rather than to focus on my strength and upgrade my skills.

I also got in touch with user groups and student partner communities (Microsoft Student Partner program). That’s where I realised the potential of community and how it helps to learn anything quickly and to seek help as well.

Lesson to take – marks don’t matter. I’m not asking you to keep arrears at the same time. Arrears are definitely not encouraged. Get a decent score to get all job opportunities in line. Upgrade your skills that will really help you a lot.

How did you seek out a career in this field?

I always wanted my life to be simple and well planned. So I had decided that if I get placed in a company from the college, which ever field I was put to (testing or dev), I will take that up as my field and try to be the best in it.

Lesson to take it from here is, decide what you want to become or take the best in every scenarios. I was in a college where majority was service companies like Infosys, wipro etc. Very few product companies and I lost certain product company interview because of the arrear. Among the opportunities around me, I was open for anything and decided to take anything seriously that comes to me. You need not take the same decision, but try to get the best out of any situations.

What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you to get to where you are today?

By paper, my first job was at Paxterra Solutions (now called as Terralogic). UnOfficially, my first company was Reapsocial (that I was working during my college).

Unofficially I learned a lot from people management, decision making, how to learn things quickly, server, client, Android, Design, ionic and wireframing (bits in everything)

Officially in my first job – it was a service company and I once met a manager and I was explaining him regarding the work I did in my unofficial company and I showed him a sample app. Then something happened. The company started a product company called Medkumo, like a sister concern and this manager took me in and asked me to work on Android. Yes, from that moment, Android app development became my life. It’s really nice to imagine that if haven’t worked at Reapsocial on the Android project, If I did not showcase what I did to him, I would probably be in testing and automation (which the company was doing).

Lesson to take it from here is, take every opportunity seriously and preciously. Somewhere down the road, that experience and work will be useful. Remember, every experience counts, every people you interact with matters. Cherish them well.

How did you prepare for an interview?

Here’s my little secret. I did not. I tried but I’m not good at it. I’m very bad at interviews. That’s one of my weakness. I’m little paranoid with numbers and aptitudes. My math skills is not up to the mark as well. To be frank I’m literally 0 in aptitude and competitive programming (competitive programming is different from product development).

Then you may ask how did I get my first job. I attended only one interview, got selected and I did not attend others. The first round was more into linux commands and very less aptitude.

Lesson to take – Try and understand what works for you and what doesn’t. When something is not working out, there is always an another way.

Things are changing very fast in the industry, how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or newsletter, podcasts, events etc

I’m a regular reader at Medium. There are a lot of ways to stay updated. But a simple thing to do is to surround yourself virtually and in reality with the like minded people or with the pioneers or experts in your industry. That’s what I do. I curate my feed of twitter and facebook with what I want to see and unfollow others. I don’t want to see a profile pic change with a quote and tagging people in memes stuff – total waste of time.

For Android devs, the following list will be helpful(many of them would be aware of these I guess)

  • AndroidWeekly
  • Medium : Mindorks, ProAndroidDev, AndroidPub and many more
  • Kotlin Weekly
  • Fragmented Android Developer Podcasts
  • Droidcon and Google IO videos at YouTube

What can you recommend on CV?

Projects! That speaks a lot than the certifications or the fancy words. If you don’t have projects, highlight the certificates. But I request to have project experience, start with open source contribution.

Advice for someone looking for job?

  • First understand where you stand among your competitors – this you will get only after few rejections and failed attempts
  • Then understand your strength and weakness for that interview process
  • Then decide to do one thing : Convert your weakness to strength or keep upgrading your strength to ultimate level
  • If you’re resume is not getting qualified for the interview, then your resume is not speaking your story. Do more projects and show your presence in that field.
  • Keep trying, you will definitely get there.

Why do you think you were selected among other candidates?

Little uniqueness. I had more projects and strong contribution to the community. I was speaking at different events, blogged things and contributed to open source and community. That gave me an advantage.

Also, I have product engineering experience (UX). I can design and develop, that also added as an additional advantage.

Lessons from jobs that you couldn’t get

Simple. That job is not for you. You did not get selected and it’s for good. You got one more opportunity to get better. Also, you’re the person to blame. Don’t give any other reasons. You did not do well. Move on!

If you accept and take responsibility, you will obviously try to get better. I usually avoid companies will have competitive programming using Data Structures and stuff. As Android dev, I do need that knowledge but I’ll be spending more time on getter better at that. I’m weak in that type of math solving programming. So I will be attending companies which will give Android related programming round – focusing on strength is what I learned.

General advice for job seekers and college grads

These are some of the hard earned lessons. Some of you may not agree but this is totally my opinion

  • Just because you have a college degree, you’re not eligible to get a job
  • When you don’t have proper college placements, it’s useless to blame college. College is only for education, not jobs. You need to possess skills for the job.
  • Don’t blame your teachers for not teaching you properly. It’s your responsibility to learn. College professors job is just to guide you.
  • Internet has become cheaper. You have large high quality engineering contents online. If you have the will, you can definitely learn. Using internet only for social media and american series is just your choice.
  • If you’re reading this post, then you have good internet. You can’t blame anyone but you for not getting the job.
  • If you’re not interested in engg jobs or whichever field you are, then identify what you really want to do. ASAP. If you say you can’t convince your home that’s just a reason. You need to try harder. Kalpana Chawla did the same. Fight your own battles.
  • If you’re interested in other fields but joined engineering out of pressure then it’s okay. My question is – you still have time after college. What did you do to gain more skills in the industry that you’re interested in? Just by regretting everyday that you were pushed to something that you did not want will not help. Look for what’s next.
  • If you think you don’t have time. You’re wrong. If you think you have family situations, you can definitely find a way. Don’t think that you don’t have a choice. You always have. “After all, if a man points a gun at your face, you have 1334 ways of staying alive and escaping from there” (said by someone)

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