Nivekithan's First Year at EPYC. (Uncensored)

January 8, 2024
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Nivekithan's First Year at EPYC. (Uncensored)

Coding My Inner Child.

The only reason I ever got into coding is because of COVID. Our whole first year, I happened online (during 2020) because of COVID-19. Every day, once the online classes were finished, I would go to YouTube and watch videos about HTML, CSS, and Javascript. This continued till 2nd year.

I’m a sophomore.

In 2nd year, our college started taking offline classes. My evenings were replaced from coding to hanging out with friends, but still, each day, I somehow managed to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour coding.

Fast forward to my 2nd year of summer holidays, one of my friends got an internship at an AI startup, and he encouraged me to apply for internships. Since it was summer holidays and I was pretty much bored, I applied to various companies. At first, most of the companies I applied to ignored me, and one or two companies even called me for an interview, but then they ghosted me.

I realised that my resume didn't have any good projects that showcased my skills. So, after researching a project to build, I built, which visualises various path-finding algorithms. With that project in hand, I applied to multiple companies, including EPYC.

The next day, I got a call from Prateek. We discussed our application, and then he gave me assignments for both Frontend and Backend.

I wanted to be a fronted developer, but when I saw the Frontend assignment, I knew I could not solve it. So, I decided to solve the backend task even though I had very limited experience in the backend.


"Implement an API that sends DM to thousands of people in Slack respecting rate limits. Also, if for some reason the system got restarted, the system should continue from where it left off (that is, it should not send the same DM to the same person multiple times)." Which also tricky, considering I had zero experience in creating a system like this

At this point in time, I didn't know anything about queues. So, to solve this, I kinda implemented a terrible and incorrect version of queues without even knowing what a queue is.

When Prateek and I got a call to discuss my progress, he told me to solve this problem using queues. I researched a lot about queues and solved this using a proper queue. Soon I got a job offer too.

Before getting the job offer, he asked me what my salary expectation was. I didn't have much expectation since my friend who got the internship first was earning almost 10,000 Rs. So I told my salary expectation is 10,000-15,000 Rupees. But to my surprise, I got an offer for 25,000. I didn't expect this to happen. They could have just given me 15,000 (which I would be happy with) and saved 10,000 months, but instead, they decided to give me 25,000. This incident made me realise that I am working for the right company.

To my surprise, I got it in

When I joined the company, the one thing that was shocking for me was that the assignment they gave me was an actual problem they faced and solved previously. Not only for the Backend but also for the Frontend. This type of hiring was new to me because I thought every company would just ask for some DSA or system design question.

They asked me for a PAN card as part of the onboarding process. Which became a much bigger struggle than solving the assignment. See I didn't study computer science in college, I was studying Petroleum engineering. Computer science was just a hobby for me which somehow by luck or chance got turned into a job. My parents were not happy with the fact I was spending most of my evenings before computer studying coding instead of studying petroleum engineering. So I hid from my parents that I was going to do this job.

But my PAN card was with my parents only. To get it from them I know I have told the truth about the job, when I first told them that I am doing a computer science internship with a company, they were not okay with it and asked me to drop it and focus on studies. They thought I would be distracted from my studies if I did this job. They were convinced only after I promised them that I would leave the job if my studies got impacted.

In my first two months, I worked on various features/rewrites of the product, like rewriting the whole of Bulk DM, adding the Greetbot feature, and so much more. I was happy with the progress I made, and I got raised after two/three months, too. With the raise my role also got changed from intern to "Product Engineer (Backend)".

Then came the true test

Then came the company offsite, the day after the company offsite was my mid semester examination but still I decided to attend it. Company offsite was great, I was able to see many people in real life, whom I was seeing only on screen. I made some of my best/most embarrassing memories there.

It was my first time going to a company offsite. We played adventure sports, we played video games, we made up our own sport and played in the swimming pool, we sang, we danced and we drank. I had experience drinking alcohol in my college itself. But it was my first time; I drank continuously for two days, and in the end, I even got a blackout. Then the next day when I woke up, I was still so drunk (not hungover, drunk) that I went to almost every room and I was saying sorry (a lot). Due to that I even got an emoji in our slack channel (you can see that by typing  :i_am_sorry: in slack).


When I was drunk, I even asked Keshav, our head of HR, what he does in EPYC, which kinda became an inside joke. Till now whenever we were on the same call, he asks me to tell him what he does. Without missing any beat, I always tell any other role like Head of operations. Never once have I told him he is Head of HR.

Even after I woke up, I was still drunk (a lot). They took care of me and made sure that I reached the bus stand safely. I have to thank them for it.

There comes the D-Day

The last day of the Company offsite was on Sunday, and my mid-semester exams started on Monday. After partying so much, you might have guessed that I couldn't have written my exams well. That is true, not only my marks were way low and I also failed in one exam. This is a huge deal for me because the only reason I was able to convince my parents to do my job is that if the job got in between my studies, then I would leave the job.

I tried hard

Our marksheets for both sem and end sem would be sent to our parents by email. I tried to change the record of my parents email address in my college to a fake email address but that didn't work out, I tried a few other things to make sure my parents would not know about my marks but nothing worked out.

I know my parents will get to know about my marks and they will expect me to leave the job. However, I didn't have the heart to leave the job, so I asked Prateek if it was possible for me to join EPYC as a full-time developer without finishing the degree. I now know this is a bad and stupid decision, but at that time, my emotions were high, so you know my brain didn't work properly.

Of course Prateek correctly didn't allow me to leave the job, I am grateful to him because of this.

This means I have to leave the job, which I did. I didn't like it, but I knew this was the only way I could calm my parents, so I did it.

What to do now? How to spend;  time?

I didn't work at EPYC for that whole semester and summer holidays. But still every day I find 30min-1hr if weekdays or around 3hrs of weekend to improve my coding skills. During the summer holidays, once our family vacation was over, I spent almost 8 hours each day improving my coding skills.

This is when I realised that I like coding way too much and that there is 0 chance of me being happy with a Petroleum engineering job. So in the next semester once I reached my hostel I asked Prateek if I could join the company again. After a call, he said okay for me to join the company. I didn't even have an interview this time.

From that time till now, I have been working in EPYC. I have worked on payments and a lot more stuff in Magik. Currently, I am working on creating a chatbot.

Each day at EPYC is fun; I learn and implement new things almost every week. There never has been a week where I was not pushed out of my comfort zone and learnt new things. Special thanks to Prateek and Chaitanya for making my experience good at EPYC.

Nivekithan S
Nivekithan S
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