This guest post was written by Ashish Nandwani.
This article is all about how to approach your engineering years henceforth my own experience. I was not able to get into a very good college , I would have thought . I found it very difficult to adjust and adapt to this new environment of college. Not to forget , The teachers were not even close to the one's I would have imagined (After I was able to meet some really good teachers while preparing for IIT's). First two years of college , I never thought I would ever become an engineer in some sense or credibility. Information Technology is Of-Course not only about programming , I knew I was definitely missing something , We always tended to waste most of the 'Lab periods'(Of 3 hours) , Making programmes always took less than 20 minutes.
Then came a transition, I was introduced to Java and I fell in love with it. I started reading e-books and blogs, followed some excellent people on Twitter and was just entering into a whole new world of WEB. I must confess, I never liked reading text-books more often than not and would you-tube every time I came across something new in the class. I started enjoying this interaction. I must advise everyone in this phase to watch videos and study from http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/ if you are not able to understand or digest anything.
My juniors always ask me , 'Which language to do in the first training period and which in the second? ' I always reply them do anything but with full utilization of the WEB. I got interested in Java but someone else may develop a passion of Networking , Database ,Linux.And once you get into it , Don't move out , Learn , Invent , Innovate and enjoy.Live with it and get into it's core. There is no limit , Nothing. You may not always invent but you always learn when you try. Once you know one language , you will almost know everyone. For example if you have started with JAVA SE(standard edition) then you must go for JAVA EE (Enterprise edition) later on , No point in starting with .NET and then going to learn JAVA from a scratch or something like that.
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Obviously you need to test all of your skills and the best way to do it is to participate in The Great Mind Challenge(TGMC) organized by IBM every year.(http://www-07.ibm.com/in/university/greatmind/tgmc.html) This is something ,I will be proud of whole my life. You will never find a better competition than this.TGMC has been a great initiative taken by IBM to inculcate professionalism among students , Not just the technical aspect , Making an industry standard project can take you and your mind to a level! You will be only allowed to use IBM tools and thus it would remove each and every ignorance of yours regarding WEB. We did learn WEBSPHERE(An application Server) administration and Struts Framework , My friend used to make beautiful aesthetic designs and we both used to make the database which is the foremost requirement engineering step in making a project. For database you will have to use DB2. There are E-mentors you can hire for free (From IBM) to help tou start from a scratch and a DVD which includes all of their tools will also be sent to you on your request , You can also download them.We did feature in top 10 state teams of India, something I am very happy for. Not because of the destination but because of the journey.
One's interested in Web designing must join Sitepoint.com and read their book ' The principles of beautiful web design' for a start.(Everything should give that book a try).The book for Keithy Sierra for Java is the best I could find , I found it very humorous as well so that helps. Just don't believe in everything ot anything , If you are not able to digest it ,Help yourself with a quote , 'Either you know a thing or you know how to type google'. so Fetch that.
You will learn about the three layers of WEB and keeping them demarcated. HTML is only for content(not for designing , sometimes we tend to use
Lastly I would also advise you to be as social as you can be . It will help you in one way or the other , Interact and gather. Never forget to give everything back to the society once you have learnt it , That's what i feel as my duty.
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