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Community > Sameer Choudhary
Sameer Choudhary

Sameer Choudhary

Software Development Engineer

Amazon

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Brief description about me
I am currently pursuing my MS in Computer Science from Columbia University in the City of New York. Prior to coming for higher studies, I worked as an Analyst Programmer at Wipro Technologies for 2 years. Recently, I did summer internship at Amazon as a Software Development Engineer (SDE) Intern. As a SDE Intern, I worked primarily on problems related to information retrieval, data mining and natural language processing. Currently, apart from taking classes, I am also working as a Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Databases course where I am responsible for helping class of over 120 students. Moreover, I’ll be joining Amazon as a full time Software Developer Engineer from Feb 2012

Challenges in job
I feel the scale of operation is the real challenge. Since, Amazon is among one of the biggest retailers in US, processing that data and mining it requires design and implementation of massively scalable distributed systems. That combined with the task of text mining and refining is one of the most challenging aspects of my job.
Job made easy
My job is related to the courses and research that I did during my Masters at Columbia University. Hence, some of the concepts I learnt in class are directly applicable in my job. In addition to that, the team that I am working with is comprised of some of the brightest Software Developer Engineers out there in the industry. Often times, I learn a lot from them through meaning full interactions about complex problems. Also, coming with a prior work experience is a big plus.
Upcoming Trends
I believe there is a growing trend among shoppers where they prefer online retail stores above brick mortar retailers. I think this trend will continue in future. Consumers like the instant gratification that they receive at a physical store. That paired with first hand advice from sales associates is one of the prime reasons why customers prefer brick mortar stores over online stores. However, there is a lot of work going on in the field of developing automated systems that could mine the product catalog and, suggest interesting recommendations for customer. Most of such systems are still in their nascent state and, I believe innovations will continue happening in this field to bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping.

My point of view
From my experience the drive for innovation is crucial for developing a product based economy. In India, I believe we still do not give significant recognitions to our Universities. Innovation comes from research and, there are only a handful of good research institutes in the country. Even these institutes lack in terms of both funds and facilities when compared to the Universities of some of the leading product based economies. In addition to that, I also believe that most of engineers do not go for higher education after getting a job in the service industry. Although, there is nothing wrong in that yet, I believe to develop products that can compete at a global scale our engineers should be experts in their fields. Just for an example, we could compare the number of candidates pursuing Phd in US to that of our country. Not to mention, the quality of the Phds candidates on average greatly differs.

Moreover, I believe that our leading IT companies should start their focus on product based model rather than service based model. The transition should not have to be instantaneous but, if properly done, we have all the resources to build products that could be a success on a global platform.



My goals
My passion is software development and, solving hard problems associated with the field. In the next 5 years, I would like to hone my skills even further. Since, most of the companies in US have flat hierarchy; I aim to become an SDE3 or an architect in five years. Also, currently my interests align with natural language processing and data mining. In future, I would also like to work in the field of Cloud computing and distributed systems.
family background
I am from a simple Indian family. There were times when I was not sure whether to go for higher studies or not, primarily because of the state of US economy in mid-2010 and, the cost of living and tuition in a City like New York. However, my parents unwavering support and confidence in me allowed me to make my decision.

Advice to professionals
My advice would be to first purse higher education and, then start you career in the industry. I went for studies after 2 years of work experience and,going for the studies was one of the best decisions that I took for my career. It is never too late to learn new things and, oftentimes it pays off.  On the other hand, if you have already finished your Masters then my advice would be to be proactive and helpful. Do not wait for your lead to tell you what to do. Instead come up with something on your own. Most of the people in industry are really helpful given you do your homework. Before asking for help, make sure you have made every attempt to solve the problem on your own. In this way you will get a much better experience from your interactions. And last but not the least, keep learning new things.

Advice to students
My advice would be that if they wish to go for the management track then they should join a good firm, get some experience and, then aim for the schools they like. This can get tough with work but experience pays off. On the other hand, if you want to remain in technical field then *Please do not* get satisfied with an IT service sector job. Start preparing early from your second year either for GRE or for GATE. It is good not to waste time, as then,you can go in for a Phd if you wish. One more crucial piece of advice is *institutes matter* so burn that extra mid night oil to get into that IIT or the University you dream for. It is not as tough as it looks.

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