Despite failing to join the coterie of India’s topmost tech-savvy kids in the Indian Institute of Technology, Shubham Kumar embarked on a self-learning experience, rebooting his career. He says, “I couldn’t make it…Hence I joined a tier-3 college and started learning on my own, making Google my destination for any questions or queries”.

 Keep reading to discover how he revitalized his career from being a sophomore at Chandigarh University to being a recipient of Google Summer of Code, a transformative global internship program by the tech giant.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC), established in 2005, acquaints students across the globe with open source, free software, and technology-related organizations. An internship lasting for about 3 months of summer, GSoC strives to bring student developers into open source software development through coding. Apart from earning a stipend and constant guidance from a mentor, the recipients get to work in the field of their academic pursuits while also attracting potential employers in the technical field.

Included in the interview

Interview

  • Let’s go back to the start. Can you brief us about your IIT aspirant days and your journey from there?

“I always wanted to become a software engineer. Prepared for IIT hoping I would get into one of the premier colleges. But I couldn’t make it, failed badly. Hence, I joined a tier-3 college and started learning on my own, making Google my destination for any questions or queries. Started participating in the Dev community.”

  • Can you take us through some of the projects/programs you participated in the last two years?

“I got into Intel as Intel Software Innovator and then worked as Microsoft Student Partner. Coupling this, I contributed to open source projects and participated in Girl Script Summer of Code 2019.”

  • What are some of your major accomplishments apart from GSoC?

“Being one of the top 10 contributors in 2020, I participated in Girl Script Sumer of Code as Project Admin”. He adds, “I also worked as Intel Student Innovator and became a Syft Core Member at Openminded.org”

  • GSoC partners with open software organizations across the globe. Which one of them are you involved with?

“I am working for Mozilla Firefox.”

  • Why do you think you got in for the program?

“A large number of contributions and an active presence in the community.”

  • What are some failures/rejections you can think of?

“Many. It’s part of life.”

  • A word of advice for future GSoC applicants?

“Believe in yourself. And if you couldn’t make it don’t worry, there are hell lot of other opportunities. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Don’t hesitate to try new things. You won’t succeed unless you try. Make Google your best friend.”

Hence this summer, this twenty-something sophomore is flipping bits rather than burgers while also earning a fortune out of his passion. He exploited his challenge and emerged with an A grade- creating an example of how determination and perseverance act together to create milestones. Despite failing at one crucial step in his career, he continues to seize his passion through constant involvement in coding-related projects. Kumar is a trailblazer to thousands of failed IIT aspirants, for not letting a six-hour entrance test define their careers. Rather this conversation brims out the power of initiatives like the Google Summer of Code in redefining one’s story altogether!

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