Second-Year College Roadmap – Engineering Edition

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Introduction

In our previous article, we discussed some of the things you should focus on in the first year of college. First-year is mostly an exploratory phase for many students. The second year, on the other hand, is when you should pick an interesting field. Be it Web development, Mobile Applications Development, Web Applications development, etc., and start working on becoming an expert in it. Let us look at the roadmap for the second year in detail.

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SECOND YEAR

In most of the colleges in India, students start preparing their applications for internships in the third semester as companies usually hire second-year students. But they need to understand that not all certificates and courses have value. Your certificates would mean nothing if you can’t demonstrate your skills. If you genuinely want to showcase something that could make you stand out, list your projects and open-source contributions. Skills are given much more importance than certificates.
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Since this is the time most students go out looking for internships, many companies try to exploit students, especially the ones from Tier-2, Tier-3 colleges, by asking them to do unpaid internships, or even worse, the ones where you pay the employer to get that internship. They advertise their course for a huge amount of money and promise to provide you with internships at the end of the course. It is a scam

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The more you improve your skills in the first two years of college, the easier it will be for you in the third and fourth years.
In your third semester, focus on competitive programming (CP). DSA ( Data Structures and Algorithms ) are the base of CP. CP is really important for placement. You need knowledge plus accuracy to be selected. For that, you need to start practicing CP from the second year. Leetcode offers really good questions to practice CP, that too for free. Codeforces is another really good website for practice. These websites organize weekly and monthly contests. Be consistent with it, do a few sums every day to avoid burdening yourself in the end.

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Making connections from the beginning is also very important. To get good internships in the third year, you need to have good relations with your seniors and professors. It because they are the ones who are going to help you get selected for the internships. Work on creating your brand and start networking on platforms like Linkedin and among your peers. Showcase your brand and your skills using platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can showcase your talent by writing blogs, conducting online webinars, making projects, contributing to open-source programs, attending college events and meeting people, joining student ambassador programs organized by companies like Microsoft, Google, etc., or joining student developer communities like Clinify, Devsnest, etc. Referrals matter a lot in big companies, which you can only get if you network with people. 
In your fourth year, focus on building a good, ATS-friendly resume and beware of fake/unpaid internships. You can add your skills, projects, volunteering experience, and courses that you did on a good platform. Make sure to have a balance between practicing Competetive Programming and working on open source, as both of them can be very time-consuming. Open source is the best alternative for second-year students if they are not able to find internships. Some programs that you can contribute to – Google Summer of Code, Google Season of Docs, Outreachy, Girlscript Summer of Code. They provide an excellent experience along with a stipend.

ENTRANCE EXAM QUESTIONS

While working on your personal development, don’t forget about your grades. Scoring well is only going to get harder from this point onwards. Try to keep your CGPA above 8, as most of the big companies have a cut-off of 8 and above for even sitting in the placement rounds. 
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