It was January 27, 2016, I stood at the entrance pondering about what would hit me in the cryptic waters of what is called the ‘startup culture’. After all the effort I had put to fare well in my interviews, I did not want to start off on the wrong foot. So, I braced myself and walked into the office. I stood there and had a quick glimpse at forty-six other baffled faces. The beaming energy and the desire to learn along with some cold sweat was absolutely evident on their faces as well. We were allotted laptops and starter kits and called for an introductory session with our CEO, Himanshu Varshney. I always had a perception of startup CEOs to be whip-smart, young people, and ours was exactly the same.
We were introduced to the processes followed in the HashedIn University(HU) and the people who would be helping us through this journey. Our CTO, Sripathi Krishnan briefed us on the various technologies we would be working on, namely Python, Django, Angular JS, Java. At that moment, we realized it was not going to be an easy sail up the river for us linkers (that’s what we were going to be called for the stretch of HU).
Hence began the HashedIn University(HU) and we took our first steps into the corporate world.
Overcoming the fear of tech
Coming to the trying tech sessions, the entire boot camp was conducted in four tracks:
Software Engineering track, Python track, UI track, Application/Platform engineering track.
The first track involved an introduction to business processes. Working with JIRA, coming up with PERT estimates and fixing minor bugs. We were given a real-time codebase where we had to fix bugs. This track got us acquainted with the basics of work practices.
There were times during the python track when I’d go back home at 10, study till 6 in the morning and come back to office after a couple hours of sleep. The track was deeply engrossing, I didn’t even realise not having slept. ”
– Sarthak (fellow linker)
For the final track of HU, we were expected to build a full-fledged usable application. We could choose either of the below tracks.
- Platform Engineering – Developing a pricing engine using Java
- Application engineering – Developing a “To-do” app in NodeJS with slack and Github integrations.
Frenzied by all the new knowledge, we initially felt like we had a bit more than we could chew but we had to prove our mettle in this tight spot.
All work and no play makes Jake no great shakes
To notch things up a little apart from technical tracks, the HR managers planned to bring in the competitive spirit. So we were divided into four teams: Minions (my team), White walkers, Da Vinci Code, and Neophytes. What followed was a bout of fun and informative activities which gave an awesome glimpse of the varied talent all the linkers had.
The fun activities ranged from Mad Ads to Debates, Mockumentaries to Designing Architecture, Quizzes to Minute-to-win-it. The activities clearly were useful in breaking the ice among all of us, along with bringing out our creative sides. The competition between the 4 groups brought a lot of enthusiasm during the activities, which would sometimes end up in a petty squabble.
One such activity, bay decoration, contrary to the purpose turned the White Walkers’ bay into a mess when the members scrubbed loads of thermocol to depict snow in their bay. The mockumentary proved to be a laugh riot with topics like ‘Harmful effects of taking Selfies’- which depicted the absurd craze, with selfie-freaks clicking pouting pictures with burning buildings and dying people in the background just to get more likes. Towards the end, every activity would usually end with the clamorous White Walkers booing the winners.
The sports activities were the most zealous with the group members cheering at the top of their voices. For the football match, my teammates and I (the Minions) were very dubious about our chances as none of us were good football players but tough as we were, we seemed to show amazing teamwork and defeated the zesty White Walkers by a close margin. The event which was to decide the winning Group was Badminton. The Minions again came out to be dark horses and won the Badminton tournament along with the title of the best team in HashedIn University-2k16 (Yay!).
The public opinion
A poll was conducted to find out our thoughts about the boot camp. The Python track emerged as the favorite track and also the most challenging, with about 40% votes. Sri was the clear winner of the favorite hasher. The most enjoyed activity was chosen to be football. When asked to summarise the HU journey in a line, we called it a ‘game-changing experience for a newbie’.
Before the curtains fall
The final challenge in the boot camp was still awaiting us, whereby we were divided into groups of three and had a week to develop an app allotted to us. This was when we buckled down and presented our true underlying potential through our work to the seniors. The HashedIn University came to a close with the Graduation ceremony for us, the newly-turned hashers!
In all, the entire journey was a wonderful joyride with equally tough and joyous times which beautifully brought to light, the confidence and capabilities in all of us. Once the HU was complete, we were prepared to take on the real-life challenges and establish a seamless bond with the HashedIn family.