Amanpreet Singh's experiences as member of SDSLabs


December 23, 2014

This post is seventh in the series of blog posts that members of SDSLabs’ write every year to give an insight into what SDSLabs is all about. For people interested in joining SDSLabs but are not in first year, please read this post on how to join SDSLabs

Introduction

For the past year, I have been part of an amazing student group in the campus known as SDSLabs. Little did I know an year ago but now that I think of it, SDSLabs has become an integral part of my life and identity. It has been an eventful 308 days with a lot of things happening. Everyday I have got to learn something new. While going through this journey, I have performed every possible role, right from a programmer to a managerial one. I have learnt things from various programming languages to different networking architectures in such a short span from the fantastic people in lab.

Timeline

In my first year, I was way too excited to join lab. I appeared for the recruitment test but wasn’t able to clear it. I didn’t lose hope though, as I was told by Abhishek Das that SDSLabs recruits people from any year and so I continued to program and learn on my own. After seeing their blog post on lateral recruitment, I applied for an interview and this time I got through. My initial few days were spent catching up but everyone helped through it. The effect of lab was so prominent that my productivity and learning speed increased by 5 times. This exposure has also directly affected my coding style. It has made me a far better coder and introduced me to various design architectures. By the semester end, I was actively involved in managing various projects too. Since that interview, I haven’t looked back, keeping myself constantly motivated and learning with help of everyone in lab.

Learning Experience

I have learnt a tremendous amount of stuff as a member of SDSLabs. After I joined, one of the first thing I learnt was networking architecture. With multiple apps running under one banner and for same set of users, some level of architecture is needed that you won’t come across in a single project. Another really great thing I found was that every code/design/discussion on any project in lab was open to anyone, so you could just jump in and start contributing to any one of them. I contributed two small bug fixes to Codevillage, then moved on to rewrite the complete Play app (Lab’s internal music player), including addition of some features. My first major project was Experiences, this app had been into development for about 2 years. Many people had worked on but it wasn’t complete. It’s code was in a messy state, but we were finally able to launch it this semester. I also worked on JEE ranklist 2014 along with Ravi Kishore Rachuri, Divij Bindlish and Dhaval Kapil. Along with these projects I also added new features to Muzi, including auto updation of song database. Through all of these, I got to learn many concepts and new languages like Node.js, Go and Ruby.

Apart from applications, I got to participate in quite a few CTFs along with other lab members and this has given me a thorough understanding of security and an experience in CTFs which I now use to create questions for Backdoor.

Inside Lab

Work

Work culture in lab is just like that of a startup. There is lot of learning, hard work, innovation and inventions. You can work on any kind of project that you like. We have people who are proficient in many diverse fields right from machine learning, networking to cryptography to disassembly. We have regular discussions on every aspect of our work including long talks on UI/UX of a website to database designs. We have regular lectures and talks on various new technologies. Recently we also started have discussions on interesting research papers every few weeks. We also tend to open-source as much as we can to contribute back to the community. Overall, twelve members from SDSLabs have participated in Google Summer of Code.

People

For a lot of us SDSLabs is a home away from home. No matter what you want to discuss, you will find someone or the other with clever insights, whether it is CG, electives, anime, earthquakes or even biologically mutated rats! Even the fun filled sessions at lab are productive.

Technology

At SDSLabs, we use a plethora of technology. While most of lab projects are built upon PHP, MySQL and JavaScript stack, we have also explored many other areas. Many subprojects have been built in Node.js and Go. Python is also extensively used for writing scripts.

We use Slack and Google Groups to keep in touch. If you want more insight into how lab works go through [this post] (http://blog.sdslabs.co/2012/12/how-does-sdslabs-work/) (it is slightly outdated).

Fun

Fun is at the core of lab. From our own bot to our human bot (Abhay Rana), everybody is fun-loving. We have regular chapos including the ones to Hometel and Dominos. We have our annual trip around February. We regularly participate in hackathons and other technical meetups around India. We watch movies together on our 42” LCD TV on beanbags. It’s definitely more than just work.

Recruitment

We are recruiting this January. Visit join.sdslabs.co for more information. Some points worth noting:

  • If you feel you are highly interested and motivated about app development, lab is the place for you.
  • Try to find a bug in one of our applications, make sure to mention it in written exam. Just write it on the last page.
  • Willingness to learn is more important than CG, branch and technical prowess.

Lab has become an important part of my life maybe it will become yours too. If you feel like SDSLabs is where you should be, just come and give our test. If you have any kind of queries, come chat with us.

Follow me on Twitter and Github, that's where I'm most active these days. You can also email me at [email protected]. Thanks!

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