Collaboration is what we are seeing literally everywhere, be it some Tweet or Youtube videos, someone is collaborating with someone to build or bring something amazing for the world to see. Today let's see what collaboration with people did in my career trajectory as an aspiring software engineer.
What does one mean when they say that they are collaborating with others?
The term collaboration just means that when you work with someone to produce some kind of action or in the tech world we can say a "product". So the question still stays unanswered, right?
So let me clear it when someone in the tech community says that they collaborate with others it simply means that they might be working on some projects with each other or might be solving a problem or bugs they are facing in building or programming some app or in just in general. So I know this sounded obvious but then why did I put this obvious thing up huh?
So I bought this up because even though we know this obvious stuff, a lot of us do not even try to do it and this is something that is going to really be a game changer for your career if you make some choices regarding if you really want to collaborate with others or not and hence I will be sharing my few experiences which might help you out in knowing about it and help you out too in how to collaborate with others and so.
Chapter 1: It all starts with a Hey!
When I was in my second year, I was learning DSA, Machine Learning and mostly Web Development most of the time but one thing that itched my mind was I would usually code or build projects alone most of the time which was fun for first but then I would see my seniors and some people in my University building something together like an app for Hackathon and winning them or working on a thesis for their research paper. Hearing and seeing this made me realize how a group of people can come together, brainstorm ideas among themselves and build something amazing. I then had this instinct to find someone similar-minded who be interested in working with me and building something which would amaze the world. Well! not the world but maybe my college or a bunch of my friends.
So I struggled to find people in my college as some of them were already "collaborating" with someone on some project and some were just not into "doing a project in a team" thing. But, when I finally got an internship at an Ecommerce Startup that was the moment when I was so happy as I finally would work in a team of 3-4 people. On the first day of work, I just wanted to get to know my intern teammate as at the start we were the only two interns working on a project assigned by our Tech Lead. But the guy would generally be just doing his part of the work and simply just submit it for review to Tech Lead I was also doing the same and I was just feeling that I was working on some personal project itself just I am doing my part of the work in the project. Then, a new geek like us joins the team and that's where things started to take off!
I started talking with him and we became good friends and would then start working together. We would do code reviews of each other's work, do pair programming sessions where we would together write code, also we would discuss how we can improve maybe a component we built for our web app or how we can build a more efficient authentication flow for users and these are just some examples but yeah we would have healthy conversations about these topics and this is where I would like to say that "I was collaborating with him" on this project and we were applauded by the CEO and Tech Lead of the company, not just for the work but also working collaboratively with each other so well to improve the product we were building. So one lesson I learned here is the power of collaboration helped me to improve the quality of my work by having someone look into my work and provide constructive criticism and also having someone who too can think of some good ideas and together really build some amazing products. Just think this way even Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak with whom he built the Apple Computers which became a game changer in the world of computers in the early 70s.
Well, these were some of the chats we would have, and I am sorry for some of the people who don't know Hindi!😅
Thanks to some of these amazing people with whom I learned so many new technologies like GraphQL for the backend, and also Cloud using AWS as our service provider.
Chapter 2: Get Out Of Your Room
If you really want to meet new dev peeps and want to work with them on projects or such then you have tons of options for that. But one of the most effective ones according to my experience is going to some meetups and conferences and meeting college students, senior devs or sometimes engineering managers and tech leads and having a one-on-one talk with them. This really can help you even land you your next job or internship as making a good impact about you and your skills in front of them physically can ease your way in getting what you want. So coming back to the main point, I had gone to a Hackathon where I met some new dev freaks like myself and worked with them on a simple project in a Hackathon at our University and that too it was offline. I was really scared as I would face a bit of anxiety and nervousness talking to people in real but then I had to step out of it because I wanted to improve my social skills as it would be essential especially if I wanted to work for big tech companies. So, I met this new team assigned to me on day 1 and surprisingly we all got so well with each other that we had fun while building it and also learned more while building the project which helped to refine our skills in a better way. From that event, I learned how to work and communicate in a team, be optimistic and open-minded and take constructive criticism when it comes to my work or even myself.
I also joined a couple of Discord Communities and was selected for AWS Community Builders where I would actively respond to someone's queries, and joined VC channels or Twitter Spaces to share my two cents on any topic they would be discussing this is how I also met new people with whom I would go on work on some new stuff. I also had given a session on a recent SaaS product launched by AWS for a community-led by someone who was part of the same community. Here, I understood that Collaboration does not need to only mean working with someone on some project or such, but it could also mean having good discussions and sharing knowledge and experiences with a bunch of other people as sharing what you know with someone can in many ways help someone who might be facing any type of problem and with your guidance or advice it might help them solve it.
Moving on, in November, I was shortlisted for a tech conference that was going to be held at Microsoft's Office in Bangalore. I went berserk when I got to know about this and was very excited to meet some of my friends from the community who would be joining there. The tech conference is a place to be if you want to learn the recent ongoings in the tech or dev world and meet with tons of people excelling in their field. I was able to meet some senior devs at Microsoft, Amazon and even some engineering managers and tech leads and even CEOs of some of the well-established startups in and out of India. I was so thrilled to attend it as it had amazing workshops and so many more such events coming in. I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of Codewave and great entrepreneurs like Aditya Siripragada who had an analytics company in Silicon Valley. I also met with engineers of a Dev Platform called Showwcase which is like Instagram but for people into tech. We all asked them about what tech stack they used to build the platform, how they do the marketing of the platform and some insider questions as they believed in being transparent about their platform. In the end, I got a bit of a tour of Microsoft Office which was so amazing!
Here are some highlights of the event,
Yeah, I did not have a good sleep out of too much excitement and I had to leave early morning for it, in case you noticed my sleepy eyes and messed up hair.
But I got the mail from Aditya Siripragada and was able to discuss a project related to Campus Navigation I was building where he helped me understand the use case of my project how to research its need and the niche of customers who would use my product and also more such points.
The overall experience is something I would have liked to do all the time instead of just sitting back on my laptop in the hostel trying to invert a binary tree.
No offense! Leetcode problems helped me crack some of my interviews.
In conclusion, I owe so many people who collaborated with me on working on several of my projects which helped me build not just my tech but also soft skills like working in a team, and communication skills and these skills are so undermined by some of us as we all keep thinking to become a good software engineer or for working in some big tech companies you just need to be able to clear the DSA rounds and such but a lot of people get rejected even though they are great in programming or such because the lack of communication skills or experiences of working in a team.
That's okay, even though I faced rejection at first because of the same reasons but as I gradually did some of the mentioned stuff like working on a team project at Hackathons or going to meetings with new people really help me grow to become a good software engineer who can work in teams and is also good in communication as this is something will help you grow your career in this industry.
and that's it, I won't get too much into this because it gets boring but I will like to quote this line said by one of the Youtubers I follow as a mentor,
Do the hard work, especially when you don't feel like it!