Sunday, July 22, 2012

Preparing for an online test for placement !

The anxious evenings, the nights when you know you should be sleeping but you just dont, the nervous mornings – must admit those were some of the best days of my life. Don’t you agree ? I guess I can safely assume,  almost all of us have been told by our parents that we should have a sound sleep when we have an exam/interview or any such thing the next day. The fact is we never do :D. After all, we engineers are habituated to working only at nights! My juniors at college have their first exam relating to placement tomorrow. A few of them have been in contact and it was a pleasure helping out some of them. I hope it helps :P. Whatever it be, I am able to live my own life an year earlier through them! And I am really thankful to them for that.

Getting back to point, this blog is meant to be a guideline for some of them. These days I have been getting a lot of e-mails regarding what one should study when an “xyz” company visits college and things like that. Hence, I decided to come up with this post to share my own experience of it. I would further like to add that I was always aiming to become a software developer and I guess the contents mentioned below would better suit someone like that. I understand that this is not the best and  also welcome better points from some of my colleagues ! Trust me I am not diplomatic about that :P.  Here are a few things I did the night before a written exam (relating to placement) in my college days :

  1. Almost all firms, for some reason, go for an aptitude test. And it is a very good practice to have some practice of it before you appear for a written exam. I personally had solved R S Agrawal’s text. I also loved taking a few aptitude tests at on the eve. They offer you a certain number of questions and put a clock with 30 minutes of time up and running . This helps simulate an exam like atmosphere and identify any issues relating to management of time. I definitely had issues with that !

  2. Next comes the MCQs(multiple choice questions) based on understanding of C/C++. I would suggest doing “Test your C skills”. Its an excellent text and I would suggest you to grab a copy of it.

  3. Sometimes, pointers are an issue. Actually most of the time they are! I personally used “Understanding Pointers in C” for that. The exercises for that.

  4. Kerninghan & Ritchie (K & R)’s text called – “The C programming language” is something you just cant miss out.

  5. I am also a cormen fan, but I wont suggest that for the night before. Its voluminous! Though I used to go through some sorting algos sometimes.

  6. Operating System Concepts next- I would say- Its not possible to go through it the night before. I personally loved two textbooks. First, the Galvin’s and then Tennenbaum’s. I had finished the first one cover to cover in my summer vacations. Plus, if you are a video lecture fan, you may also opt for lectures of Prof P.K.Biswas (from IIT KGP) or video lectures of Berkley University. I had gone through both these videos lecture series. But I guess this was too much for I was really interested. For the night before I would suggest two questions. First, what is the difference between a process and a thread. Study it in detail. Secondly, have a good understanding of semaphore variables. Additional topics include memory management, the concept of virtual memory, paging segmentation etc. and deadlock if time permits.

  7. Networking Concepts – Try to remember all 7 layers in OSI protocol and 2 protocols that operate in each one of them. Additionally one may also go through routing, IPv4, IPv6 etc.

  8. If it is a database related company, I would suggest going through the following topics:

  •         Basic SQL queries,

  •         Joins on tables,

  •         Normalization,

  •         ACID property (These look simple, but there is no end to it.)

The above points have been written keeping in mind that the applicants are freshers. I am myself just that and thus cant say anything for those who have some experience in the software industry and want to apply for a job. Last, but not the least, If you have reached this point of the post, you deserve a best of luck too! And yes, above all a sound sleep is really helpful.