How Shubham became a Developer despite financial problems

"In colleges, the focus is on marks. In Masai School, the focus is on learning. And, if you learn well, you can earn well too. "

Shubham Thakur

Shubham wanted to become a software engineer since he was in the 10th standard. But, in today’s world, sadly, education is not affordable for millions of children out there. 

For the same reason, Shubham was forced to take up BCA instead of B Tech in Computer Science. His Professors at college showed the least interest in teaching their students.

But, that did not kill his desire to become a software engineer. Looking for options, Shubham discovered Masai School and joined it in June 2021 in pursuit of becoming a full-stack developer. He quickly made it to a special batch called SuperX. After the completion of the full-stack web development course, Shubham got placed as an SDE-1 at Cleartrip with a dream package. 

He joined us to talk about his college life, his learnings from Masai School, and his journey so far. Here are some excerpts from the interview-

How did you discover Masai School?

My father met with an accident when I was in the first semester. So, I had no choice but to support my mother financially. As I had no special skills, I had to take up odd jobs that exploited me while paying almost nothing.

One of such jobs was at a medical shop. It paid me just INR 2100/month. After a lot of bargaining, I was paid INR 2500. I had continued with that job for five months. After that, I switched to another job that paid me INR 4500/month. 

This made me realize that without skills no one can earn well. As soon as I completed my BCA, I started looking for options to learn to program. That is when I came across Masai School and its ‘pay after placement’ program. I was impressed with the Income Share Agreement(ISA) setup, so I wasted no time in joining Masai. 

How difficult was Unit-1 for you at Masai School?

Since I’d come from a BCA background, and also I had learned the basics of MERN Stack on my own, the first unit at Masai School was very easy for me. I was aware of the basic concepts of all technologies. So, Unit-1 was not challenging for me. It was in the further units that I learned about these technologies in depth. 

What was the SuperX batch? And how was it different from other batches?

It was a special batch of 40 students, who were exceptionally good at programming at the start of the course. The main goal was to provide these students with advanced teachings so that they can bargain for higher salaries at the time of placements. We had to go through a lot of tests and interviews before getting selected for it.

The SuperX batch had its separate curriculum too. It was more advanced than the one that was for the regular batches. The best part was solving complex coding problems from LeetCode. During my time at Masai, I solved more than 330 problems from LeetCode. That exercise has strengthened my knowledge of DSA, Java, and other concepts. And, that helped me immensely during interviews. I was easily able to pass through technical rounds of almost all interviews. 

What is so unique about Masai School that the placement rate is so high when compared to other colleges and institutes?

Masai School is different from your typical next-door college or university. Take my college, for example, where I studied BCA. The teachers never cared about the students. They used to come, take the attendance and then leave. Everything I knew about programming before joining Masai School, I had learned on my own. College never taught me anything significant.

Compared to that, the mentors at Masai School cared for the development of the students. They used to work hard for more than 12 hours a day, with us. They focussed on making us understand the concepts from the grassroots. Apart from that, daily assignments gave us exposure to real-world scenarios, which prepared us for interviews. 

In colleges, the focus is on marks. In Masai School, the focus is on learning. And, if you learn well, you can earn well too. This focus on learning eventually leads to higher placement rates. This separates Masai from other institutes.  

How was the placement process at Masai School?

During placements, at one point, I was badly demotivated. Although I excelled at technical rounds, I was unable to make my mark in the HR rounds. I failed to get into No Broker, Meesho, etc. That broke my confidence.

But, the Masai team made sure that there were no gaps, and those failures didn’t have much impact on my potential. Vishakha Mam had been supportive throughout the process and helped me improve my behavioural skills. Finally, I was selected for the position of SDE-1 at Cleartrip. 

What was the reaction of your parents after you got placed with a seven-digit salary?

My mother was shocked, surprised, and happy, all at the same time. It was unbelievable for her. She was so impressed with Masai that she wanted to talk to the founders and asked me to call them. I told her that I didn’t have their number.

I was also selected for the Glide Program and that helped our family a lot in dire circumstances by providing a living allowance every month. My mother has been really grateful to Masai School for the same. 

What are your future plans?

I want to keep learning. That is the only goal I have. I never want to stop learning. And, those 7 months at Masai have taught me how to be a good learner. So, that will be helpful.