How a College Lecturer became a Frontend Developer at a Startup
“As a lecturer also, it was also equally important to understand the desired skill sets in the real industry. Theoretical knowledge can always be gained by learning, but real experience only comes with practice."
Rajeswari Subramaniam is a Computer Science graduate from the 1997-01 batch. She studied at Jayamatha Engineering College in Kanyakumari and finished her M.Tech in Computer Science from RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru. Back in 1994-95, the only trend in technology was to choose Math and Science and apply to engineering colleges. It was quite a prestige at the time to become a Software Engineer and work in IT companies. Rajeswari’s parents too encouraged her to pursue the same.
Cut to 2021, Rajeswari now works as a Frontend Web Developer at SuperProcure. One might assume that it is quite obvious that she is now a developer, after having pursued B.Tech and M.Tech in Computer Science. But Rajeswari was not entirely going on a linear path.
Before her final semester of college, she got married. It took her four more years to stumble upon the opportunity to become a college lecturer. This was because the offer fell in her lap only by chance but not because she was actively looking for any. Besides, the college was also close to her residence.
She worked in two different colleges, teaching numerous subjects to Computer Science students. Rajeswari recalls that the syllabus remained the same in the textbooks for more than a decade at the time. These topics were nowhere close to the contemporary technologies in the IT industry, and even the best Computer Science graduates would end up being half as skilled to work in the industry as developers, whether in services or products.
“As a lecturer also, it was also equally important to understand the desired skill sets in the real industry. Theoretical knowledge can always be gained by learning, but real experience only comes with practice. And for all of us, colleges made it mandatory that we do Ph.D. to further continue in teaching.”
She was once referring to an advertisement in the Times of India about Masai School. This was also when she was deciding between taking up research in the field and pursuing a job as a Software Developer. Though she had nothing to do with the rapidly evolving technology trends in the IT industry since she was on the teaching side, Rajeswari was keen to know what was really happening on the other side.
At a crossroads between PhD and working as a developer, she chose the latter. Subsequently, she also knew that she needed to upskill herself with plenty of industry-relevant skills. The structure at Masai School seemed just about right and it wasn’t at all hard for the Assistant Professor to crack the admission test and the interview at Masai.
Once she stepped in, Rajeswari says the kind of discipline she developed with the 9-9-6 system, also spilled over to her daughter and her family members. After a point, she was pleasantly surprised with herself, in terms of the ease with which she was able to execute her tasks.
“The staff at Masai School are the real superheroes according to me. They are always available for the students on the Slack channel, and they encourage you to fix your issues by yourself. Spoon-feeding is never the norm here. After spending 30 weeks at Masai School, I found a job at SuperProcure as a Frontend Developer in the 37th week.
While it can be convenient to assume that it is hard to manage a rigorous course like Masai School when you are a working mother. But it is totally doable.”
She adds that age is really just a number and one can learn anything and everything at any point in life, and changing careers at any point is also equally possible.