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From Competitive Coder to Full-Time Software Engineer

By Maya Brown

At the age of 16 he was energetically typing code after code into his computer. At the age of 22, he was programming a feature for the popular company Rolls Royce. 

Rutvik Parekh, a first-year computer science graduate student at Stony Brook University (SBU), has recently ended his two-year full-time job as a software engineer at Siemens Industry Software in India, a computer software company specializing in 3D & 2D Product Lifecycle Management software.

Parekh completed his undergraduate in Mumbai, India at the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), where he majored in computer science. He explained that most of the subjects were related to operating systems and making software, and ever since he was introduced to coding at the age of 16, he has always found it fascinating. “I looked deep into competitive coding and I got to know all of the coding websites and the whole process around it,” he said. 

After graduation, Parekh knew he wanted to be somewhere where he could apply his passion and enthusiasm for computer science. After hearing about the job opening at Siemens from the Career Center at his old university, he decided to immediately apply. He shared that 50 people had initially applied for the job,  but after an online assessment test based on programming knowledge, 20 were shortlisted. The interview process consisted of three rounds, including two technical tests and a human resources interview. “It was a nice feeling to be one of the only three that were accepted,” Parekh said. 

He shared that his reasoning behind choosing Siemens, was due it’s very large size. “I wanted hands-on experience as to how the corporate company works,” he said. “I thought that I would get the opportunity to communicate and interact with many high-end companies and customers.” 

Working around 40 hours a week, Parekh gained various skills that will assist him in life moving forward. Some of the skills he picked up at the job included new programming languages, strong communication skills, networking skills, technical knowledge of databases and a fresh new look into operating systems. “The job helped me learn about Agile methodology, which helps develop software quickly and is a standard norm in software industries,” he said.

As he worked alongside a team of about 40 people, Parekh had the opportunity to learn more about teamwork skills. The job also expanded his professional network, as he had the privilege to talk to various executives and higher management. “I learned so many things in which I can apply to my career later on. Working at this big company definitely helped me and basically acted as a ladder,” he said. 

Regarding advice Parekh would give students who are following the same career path, he shared that participating in hackathons and team events are important. “If you want to be a software engineer, or work on any new technology, I would suggest start coding and solve as many problems as you can, as early as you can,” he said. He also emphasized the importance of working on personal and mini projects in order to gain technical exposure. 

Although Parekh didn’t get the opportunity to work in machine learning and artificial intelligence, he was still very happy with the objectives of the job and learned what he hoped he would. 

His dream job is to work in a technology company that makes products to make life easier, including Google, Apple or Microsoft.

“It was definitely a pleasant experience and I got to work with experts and people who really get the concepts of the industry,” Parekh said. “A big thing was to see the passion there and it helps cultivate that same passion in me.”

The Career Center at his old university played a big role in getting the two-year job at Siemens Industry. The Career Center at SBU also provides resources that can get you a job in the industry you’re looking for. To find a job like Parekh did, come to one of our upcoming Job and Internship Fairs!