I was a final year student, studying BSc Computer Science. I was in my final semester and had secured a placement that I was not happy about.
By this time I had already seen ads about so many of these types of “programs” that I was tired of it.
Already expecting to see a fat price tag and buzzwords slapped all over it, I reluctantly clicked on the link to see more info.
- “Work-Like Experience”
- “Build Real Software Products”
- “You Pay Nothing”
Weird, so you’re telling me.. No AI/ML/Data Science/Futuristic Robot Building/Invent A Time Machine? I pay nothing? Of course I dug deeper.
Everything seemed… perfect. A program in which I could actually work on my skills… for free.
I signed up without hesitation, and the rest was history.
Getting selected into the program
The first round of selection was a couple of basic coding problems. I remember dreading competitive programming/puzzle type of questions.
I managed to solve 2 out of 3 of them, and thought to myself… well that’s it. This program is probably not for me.
Surprisingly, I was invited to the next round.
The next round consisted of a mini project we had to build. We were given an option to fast track our selection by participating in Crio’s very own “Crio Launch Tryouts”.
I signed up for it and had an amazing weekend working on features of a food ordering app.
Some days later, I received my pass to Crio Launch. And my journey began.
I will not bore you too much with the technical details about the program here. You can check it yourself here.
All I can tell you is that Crio perhaps taught me more in 3 months, than college taught me in 3 years.
I met amazing people from different backgrounds, had sessions with industry experts who gave us great career advice, and of course, built very good projects, without any hand holding.
It was an intensive program and I often stayed up late at night to work on it.
And trust me, I do not stay awake at night to work on something unless it is engaging to me.
“Learn By Doing” — Crio’s Motto
The Launch program opened my eyes as to how much I actually didn’t know and how much there is to explore out there in this field of Computer Science.
I had built a few hobby projects before, but nothing like what I worked in Launch.
Trust me when I say this, you cannot make progress in the program unless you are constantly learning.
I do not remember ever distinctly opening up a big old dusty book to read any boring theory. I learnt practically. And that, in my opinion, is what Crio got right, and what the education system got wrong.
I was always a hands-on person who loved doing and not just reading all the time.
Crio was the glue that attached me to the things I loved doing.
Opening new doors
Quickly, but slowly at the same time, Crio Launch had come to an end.
I came out of it a much more confident developer, with a myriad of tools in my toolkit and good projects I had built.
But now, it was time to think of my career. I had very little interviewing experience, and had not experienced any real tech interviews before. I also had a placement offer that I didn’t like.
Crio then introduced us to Crio Launch Plus, their optional premium program.
It was exclusive to students who had graduated from Crio Launch and it was meant to prepare students in all the aspects of a tech interview.
I went through it, and again… it was perfect.
It lined up with the things I wanted to learn, and by now I had fallen in love with Crio’s Learn By Doing methodology.
“Education should be free…”, I mumbled as I looked at the price tag of the program. But then I remembered that I spent 3 years in college, paying huge fees for no outcome but a piece of paper.
I remembered all the hard work the Crio Mentors put in for us during Crio Launch, without receiving a penny in return. That same night, I rejected the offer I had and signed up for Launch Plus.
The journey To getting hired
The Launch Plus program started approximately a week or two after Launch finished. Again, I will not bore you with the technical details about the program. Feel free to check it out here.
This program tested my limits. I felt frustration, happiness, and everything in between.
As someone who was weak in my problem solving skills, there was a huge mountain to climb.
But with Crio’s Methodology, paired with some excellent mentors and friendships I had made during Launch, I had very good guidance.
I slowly started enjoying the process of solving problems. Something I thought would never happen.
I learned various techniques and methods to solve different kinds of problems that could be asked in technical interviews.
Apart from this, the program featured a product development track, where we worked on features of a food ordering app (an extension to Crio Launch Tryouts), a segment called “Buildouts”, where in we learnt how to solve similar problems that were sent as take home assignments by tech companies, and also sessions on System Design.
We were also guided on soft skills, resume preparation, and how to apply for jobs.
Crio also sent out referrals to some amazing tech companies whom I had a chance to interview with.
After a lot of hard work and with the help of my mentors and peers, and although not through their referrals, I was hired as a Software Engineer.
The Road Ahead, Crio’s Impact And Key Takeways
I write this to you during my initial days of my professional career as a Software Engineer.
There is so much to learn for me. So much to explore. The real learning, for me, starts today.
Crio has impacted me in so many ways and I will hold dear to my heart the experiences I had with both the programs. It changed my way of thinking and propelled my career forward.
Some key takeaways for every developer out there, based on my Crio journey:
- Always stay curious and hungry to learn.
- Be passionate about what you do.
- Build an online presence, talk and network with people.
- You never learn unless you apply. So learn by doing.
I would like to thank the people behind Crio, from the co-founders to everyone who works there and was a part of my journey, for creating this beautiful platform and helping students out. Cheers!