Kriti Joshi is currently a fourth year undergraduate student at IIT Kanpur. She interned with Samsung Electronics, South Korea during the summers of 2016. Read on as she recounts her experience.
Here comes the internship season again and I am reminiscing about the time when I was indulged in meeting SPO deadlines, taking advice from seniors and clicking every link containing the word internship and success together. My main motive for the internship was to get an idea of the IT world in order to decide whether to finally go for a job or do research. I was looking for a core R&D profile in a big shot company.
I was not sufficiently good at coding so I had started solving problems on SPOJ while I was doing my second year internship. I feel that helped me a lot because I had become very confident about my coding and algorithmic skills till the commencement of internship season. But from whatever I observed in the coding tests, such rigorous preparation is not necessary as many companies tend to repeat their test styles and sometimes even questions. Better to get an idea of the internship procedures of a company from online sources and prepare accordingly rather than preparing everything. The next big task was to make a resume where I needed to showcase my awesomeness somehow even though I hadn’t done anything great. It is always a good idea to get the resume reviewed by a few seniors because it is a tricky business. I don’t know how much time recruiters spend on the resume but this one-page surely took a hell lot of my time in editing, reviewing and re-editing.
Samsung came in the very first week and did a resume based shortlisting. Next level and the decisive one was the one and a half hours coding test, for us it was a DFS/BFS problem. The hard thing about the test is, C/C++/java with only standard I/O and malloc libraries are allowed, so one needs to code queue and adjacency list without using standard template libraries(stl). The company seems to be mostly interested in graph problems and dynamic programming, hence it is advisable to practice graph algos without using vector and queues using arrays beforehand.The technical and HR interviews weren’t much of a trouble. A good practice for technical interviews is to speak aloud whatever you are thinking while solving any given problem.
Samsung Korea has a proper internship program comprising of a 2-day long orientation, two really awesome trips, one advanced and an expert level software test(coding test), regular HR feedbacks and a final project-presentation competition(prizes as cool as a samsung tab and VR gear). A list of projects was circulated via mail and everyone had to fill four preferences. Finally each of us ended up working on one of the four chosen projects. The internship started on 16th May, we were around 12 people from IIT Delhi, Bombay and Kanpur. Accommodation was provided at ‘Dream Ville’, a place catering to the needs of Indian employees(Indian meal thrice a day along with gym and recreation facilities).
I worked in Mobile Department’s Big Data R&D group where I had to write ML Algorithms on a framework which uses low memory. The company actually floated quite a lot of interesting projects related to various areas like networks, nlp, computer vision, data mining, security etc. Most of us had a team with at least one Indian employee, but people ended up mixing better with the Koreans. A very rough idea of the problem statement is provided in the beginning and most of the work is open-ended. So once you get acquainted with the initial code, further progress becomes very easy. What I liked was the generous freedom provided to achieve the outcome, one can suggest and argue freely on the choice of framework, tool or implementation language.
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CITY
The Samsung headquarters are situated in Suwon city and consist of three huge buildings along with the numerous small ones where the employees work. The campus is flooded with lush green parks, sports fields, cafes etc and to take a tour one can use the free cycle called ‘Doobaloo’. One of the most enjoyable part is the food. Cafeterias serve numerous cuisines like Italian, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Chinese etc., all for free, thrice a day. In addition to this, free medical facilities are also provided within the campus.
Finding vegetarian food outside campus is a herculean task and the local food isn’t very pleasing to the taste buds. The vegetarians used to rely on ready to make noodles or french fries in MacD in case they missed any meal. Language isn’t a big concern on the internship as it lasts just for 2 months so one can manage quite well. In the 2-day orientation program some help is provided in knowing the place better and reading korean which comes in handy while travelling around the country. Koreans believe in hard work and they mostly expect interns to devote most of their time working when in office (9:30AM-5:30PM, roughly). There always is a chance of ending in a team with stressful environment but the chances of being in a very helpful team are far more.
THE AMAZING PART
Weekends were really fun; I used to look forward to them. We went for trekking on Bukhansan range, cycling alongside Han river, chilling on Busan’s beaches, getting adrenaline rushes in Everland and what not. The famous DMZ(area between North and South Korea) tour was definitely a highlight. I especially enjoyed shopping and trying all sorts of coffees(Koreans are coffee-lovers).
Overall it was a very special time for me as in a short span of 2 months, I experienced a lot many new things. I would conclude by saying that Samsung may not be the best choice to go for a full time job but the internship program is one of the finest. Do not miss the opportunity just because someone told you something negative about the company; take an informed decision.
Written by Kriti Joshi