Interview: Rajiv Ramachandran (ECE – 2016)

Please give us a brief description of your internship profile.

I was working in the memory system team. I particularly worked on the analysis of memory performance. The role involved the inclusion of some additional features to their existing performance software, identification of stats that are indicative of how well the memory responds, extraction of these features from the dumps of the software and analysis of the same for various types of applications.

How was your internship experience? How was the company’s work culture?

The internship experience was great. The company’s work culture was pivotal in making it so.
For every subdomain that was involved in my project, I could approach someone who had complete knowledge of the same. All the employees were very helpful and gave importance to my doubts and helped me as if I was one among them. The most valued quality in the company was working towards a common goal even if it meant that a senior had to incorporate a junior’s suggestion.

Apart from this, there were some other outside office factors/perks that summed up my experience. The company had a playground for itself with multiple sports facilities. I had a great time playing sports like volleyball. The accommodation provided was very good and it was given for the entire internship period, which made my stay comfortable.

How was the process of getting the internship?

The process was simple and took only a day. The first round was a resume shortlist and the second was a personal interview which comprised of both tech and HR.

What do they look for in your resume?

They looked thoroughly at the skills section and questioned me on the same during my interview. My previous internships and projects were also parts that they viewed and asked me to elaborate upon.

Can you tell us how you prepared for the interview process?

Firstly, I revised through fundamentals of digital, solved a few puzzles on geeks for geeks, went through my resume gathering thoughts on how I would explain every point put out, glanced at some standard HR questions and gave a thought on how I would answer them. Secondly, I spoke to seniors who had interned at NVIDIA and asked them about their interviews. I also went through people’s NVIDIA job interview experiences online and tried solving the questions that they were asked. Thirdly, I gathered information about what the company does, the various teams, their latest products and their current focus area from their website. Finally, to have a practical session I did a mock interview with my parents.

As someone who got a PPO after your intern, what would you say are the criteria they take into consideration while determining who gets the PPO?

To be very honest there are a lot of factors that determine your PPO chances. However, the primary one is the quality of work you do. Trying out various methods to get better results is important. In this case, it’s better to ask before working on a different approach as your mentors will have an idea as to whether it’s feasible. However its also essential to keep track of your progress and ensure that you at least complete a major portion of the allocated tasks.

Were the tasks open-ended? If so, what are the steps you took to ensure that you were in the right direction and completed it?

Yes, there were various ways and no fixed extent to which you could go along either of these to complete the task. In such a scenario keeping track of whether your work would help the team, finding out the form in which it is easiest to use for others, confirming what the current priorities are with the manager and modifying your work style according to feedback helps in ensuring that your effort goes in the right direction.

What skillset helped you carry out the tasks assigned successfully? Did you learn any new skills during the internship duration?

My programming skills in python and C++ helped me carry out the work quickly. The internship helped me learn a lot about chip architecture, chip performance modelling, good data visualisation techniques, presentation, soft skills and a little bit of Perl programming.

Does the current curriculum satisfy the skill set needed by the industry? What up and coming skills does the industry require its employees to learn?

The curriculum does help in giving a good background of computer architecture which was useful throughout the intern. The knowledge in terms of concepts were satisfied, however in terms of hands-on programming exercises for performing data extraction and interpretation and skills like presentation there is a good amount of work to be done by individuals(on their own) in terms of projects as speed and expertise in these skills improve only with practise and are not part of the curriculum.

What were the key takeaways from the summer internship?

The key takeaway from this internship was a great learning experience in terms of both technical and soft skills.

Do you have any advice for the current third-year students looking forward to internships?

Please do go for an internship irrespective of whether it’s on or off-campus, research or company, as it will give you a chance to work with people who know better than you in some field. It will also give you an idea of what kind of work you might do and the skills that you require for the same. More importantly, it will make you feel more comfortable to approach people, get clarifications, present your thoughts and work on feedback which are the most important skills that sweep across all boundaries of work.

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