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OPTING OUT OF IIT RACE WAS THE BEST DECISION IN MY LIFE

Blessin George Varghese is a B.Tech third-year student from SRM IST, Chennai. He has won Smart India Hackathon 2019, was chosen as India’s best Dell Campassador of 2018, won Dell’s Big Idea Challenge in 2018 to name a few. Building communities and helping other budding developers was always a focus that he had in mind. He leads the technical division of ‘Developer Student Clubs SRM – powered by Google Developers’ and was selected as the campus lead for Adobe Campus Clubs.

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George was confident on the track to his goals right from his school days when he realized that technology is the driving factor for him. He was deeply fascinated by how 0s and 1s control virtually everything around him. The foundation track was set when his parents bought a PC way back when he was in 3rd grade. He started exploring almost everything possible with his new PC. He started coding when he was in 7th grade and it was love at first sight. He spent time on online sources and books to sharpen his skills. He sold his first product during his vacation of 10th grade for a decent price and this helped strengthen the idea of entrepreneurship which he had in mind from his childhood.

But building applications alone wasn’t his cup of tea. He got his first Android phone while in 10th grade and instantly found out that it lacked developer support from popular device customizing sites like XDA-Developers and others. His curiosity made him learn about the fundamentals of Android OS including its Kernel, Recovery, and others and then he started making these himself! Most of his work was first in particular for that particular device and more than 1 lakh users have used his solutions.

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After 10th, he took PCM with Computer Science. Even though he started his entrance coaching for IIT JEE, he later dropped it after a few weeks as this demanded him to divert his attention from his passion. George took revision classes for his classmates and provided free tuition to students in his hometown on Computer Science. Physics is what he loves after Computer Science and he used to take tuition for the same later on. He attended multiple Quizzes, Coding Competitions, and more. He led School Houses, Science Club and finally was elected as the School Leader while in 12th grade.

After 12th, George had no doubts about what to do next! He chose B.Tech CSE in SRM IST. While attending the induction of the course in SRM IST’s T.P Ganesan auditorium, he made sure that he will work hard to stand out from the rest of the crowd in the auditorium with him, and he did!

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While in his first semester, he became a Dell Campassador and worked actively on building a community on the campus. In his second semester, he joined ‘DSC SRM – powered by Google Developers’ and started contributing to a tech-focused community. In his third semester, he began his academic research on Cloud Computing and SDN in the SDN testbed at his University. In his fourth semester, he competed for the top spot in SIH ’19 and achieved it. Later, he went on to intern at Apollo Telehealth services and developed several cognitive backend services and applications for the company. In his fifth semester, he became the tech lead of DSC SRM and continued building and pushing it forward. He was also chosen as a Google Explore ML Facilitator to conduct workshops and programs related to Machine Learning. He has delivered 20+ free workshops in multiple places on Machine Learning, App Development, Web Development, Cloud Computing, and more! After his fifth semester, he spent over a month interning at Bajaj Finserv as a backend + ML developer.

He has already marketed several applications that he has developed. Some of these in academia have a userbase of over 20,000. He sold his first product when he was 16. chaayam_poster

“Freedom of choice given by parents at a very young age was one of the best things that happened to me,” says George. He had a very strong habit of reading articles and digests from a very young age. His parents used to buy new books every month to complement his habit.

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“Listen to and believe in none other than one’s instincts” is what he follows throughout. “Listening to others’ advice on design logic/prospects/career options etc. are fine, but never let them be your decisions!” he added. He believes in quick and smart work on anything that he deals with. He is inclined towards right politically and is interested in talking about politics, economy, and physics apart from Tech.

George believes that it was God’s grace his persistence that helped him achieve what he is today and looks forward to building an MNC of best scale which would build solutions for a safer and smarter future!

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It’s clear that from an early age, you developed an early interest in coding and technology. How important are early access and exposure for children to technology and other fields?

Well, I see technology as a race of implementations/executions, rather than ideas. So, early access will give you quite a good head-start for sure. I would encourage everyone interested in the field to explore, learn, and implement as early as they can. As I’ve noted before, thinking about a particular idea and then trying it to make it perfect before execution might leave you as a spectator for the same being done by someone quicker than you! ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ – I think that we might have to reconsider this in today’s scenario. The quicker you fail, the quicker you learn why you failed. I believe that this is very important to keep up the pace.

You said you had opted out of the IIT race. Any particular reason and looking back, what do you think about it?

That was one of the finest decisions that I’ve ever made. Looking back, I couldn’t be happier for myself for doing that. I acknowledge the fact that brilliant students work day and night for months or even years to get into ‘The Best for Engineering in India’. But I chose to keep my passion above PCM for JEE. I’m 100% sure that had I deviated for JEE by leaving my passion, then I wouldn’t be speaking to Team Fayz! IITs are undoubtedly top-notch, but I don’t have a view that only IITs churn out successful engineers. And honestly, I’m totally against admission for all streams of Engineering, based only on PCM.

Tell us about the Dell Campassador programme. Also, tell us about SRM and the whole campus experience.

The Dell Campassador Program is a campus outreach initiative by Dell. It focuses more on building a brand presence for Dell on campus and creating a buzz around the same. I became a part of it in my first semester and while it was not a tech-oriented campaign, it helped me to be better at building and managing a community that helps me a lot today.

SRM IST KTR and MIT Manipal were the only two colleges I had in mind (due to really good extracurricular activities that they have) and gave both entrance exams. I got selected for both but preferred SRM IST at the end. SRM has never disappointed me to provide opportunities and resources. The exposure is brilliant and in short, I love being an SRMite. SRM has over a huge crowd and there is a stage for all kinds of enthusiasts, be it arts/tech/sports and others.

What next? What are your career plans?

SHORT-TERM:

At the time of writing, I’m interning at HealthRx by Bajaj Finserv.
I’ll be doing my last semester internship from Jan ’21 – May ’21.
After that, I’m sure that I’ll be spending a few of my next years in a product development company.

LONG-TERM:

Nothing excites me as much as leading my team. So, I’d launch my startup and expand quickly.
Make the brand recognized globally.

Finally, tell us five of your habits of which you are proud of?

  • I have an opinion about myself, which I value the most. This has helped me a lot to not let my ears to listen to what others would think if I do something.
  • I love meeting and having a conversation with a lot of people. Over time, this has helped me a lot more than most of the other resources. Yes, social connections are the most important resource that you can build on.
  • I don’t fit myself into a very strict time table. Yes, life should have an order, but not in the order of minutes or hours. I believe being able to dynamically shift work patterns makes you more productive in multiple areas.
  • I don’t stress over the things that go/went bad due to my mistakes. That’d eat up my time to move on. Yes, it happened. Well, is there something that I can do to change what happened? Nope! So, move on and keep the experience in a corner of your mind.
  • I love reading a lot, on multiple topics from both books and online sources. I had this habit from my childhood. It helps a lot to think outside the box and the domain of my work in specific.

Here’s a part of my favorite speeches: CLICK HERE Also, I love reading and understanding the lives of people who did what I’d love to do and how they did that!

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