My Interview Experience with Palo Alto as SDE

In conversation with Balvinder Kaur, a student and also an Intern of Programming Pathshala who has recently bagged an offer from Palo Alto as their SDE. She has studied with our course Renaissance and later even started working as our SDE Intern while receiving her offer from Palo Alto. She has shared everything about her Interview Experience in this Blog. Read to know more…

#100Stories is a series of transformational stories of courage and indomitable will to excel, picked from the lives of tech students, particularly in India. Initiative by Programming Pathshala.

Hi Balvinder, so good to have you here. How have you been and can you also Introduce yourself?

Hi, I am doing great. So I am a final year student from Lovely Professional University and currently also work as an SDE Intern with Programming Pathshala. I recently bagged an offer from Palo Alto as their full time SDE and will be joining them next year. Apart from that I have always been involved with Data Structures and Algorithms as well as Competitive Programming as a Renaissance student.

Great Balvinder, Coming to your Offer from Palo Alto, How does it feel? How’s the excitement level for you to be joining them as SDE in the coming year?

It feels surreal honestly, My parents are happy, I am happy and this is all that matters. I have given around Five Interviews before as well but got rejected in three of them. I did feel bad and demotivated at that time but didn’t let that affect my preparation for the next Interview that I was about to appear for. I didn’t let rejections define my future and maybe because of those rejections I could get a hold of knowing my shortcomings and started working upon them. I made sure to never repeat any mistake that I may have made in the past Interviews I had to face rejections from and the result is pretty positive after using this technique. I got selected in two companies out of 5 that I gave interviews for and I chose to move forward with Palo Alto to join them Full-time from next year.

I completely agree with you! Some people take rejection very much to heart and start to feel demotivated or sometimes even give up on their dream of becoming an SDE due to not being able to crack that just one Interview.

It is so important to not let your rejections define you and always keep your head up for when you appear in your next Company’s Interview.

That’s exactly what we even love about you here at Programming Pathshala, and coming to Programming Pathshala, How has been your experience with us as our student and even as our Intern?

Honestly, I feel great being a part of Tech team at Programming Pathshala. Everyone is so much helpful here and they make sure that I get to learn things which I am not good at while being a part of the team. Focus is not only upon work but also learning side by side which I find very interesting and all my team members make sure that I do not get stuck on anything on a day to day basis. I have learnt the importance of Teamwork here, In this team I know who I have to approach if I find any difficulties in the Frontend and who to approach if I find any difficulties in the backend. So that’s what I enjoy the most about working at Programming Pathshala. I am currently at prime time in my life and all the learnings that I am gonna get here will surely help me get better with my Professional life moving forward with Palo Alto.

Awesome, and as you have also been our Student of Renaissance, How has the course experience been for you? Could you enhance your Problem Solving skills with us?

I started with this course by enrolling for the Free trial initially and since then itself I knew I had made a great choice and enrolled for the Full course in not much time. The course covers all the topics in depth and in a very structured way. You don’t feel like missing out on any information, instead it’s like a pool of knowledge that you have which is never enough to learn and grow. I felt more prepared for my Interviews after being a part of this programme, and could enhance my DSA and problem solving skills in greater depth.

Sounds great Balvinder, and How has been your Interview experience with Palo Alto?

So I had 5 rounds of interviews with Palo Alto. The first round was MCQ round and the second round was Coding round in which 2 questions were asked. The MCQ round consisted of questions from CS Fundamentals, Aptitude, OOPS, General English and Output related questions. Basically everything was covered in the MCQ round itself and for the coding round I had medium level standard questions to myself.

After these 2 rounds, I had 3 rounds more to go and all of these rounds were Technical in their nature.

In the first round of these 3 rounds, my Interview lasted an hour and they asked me almost everything in this round itself. They gave me 2 coding questions to solve and noticed my Implementation for the same. Furthermore they even asked me about my projects in this round itself.

For the next round, there was some senior management who took this round for me and again asked me questions related to Coding, The first one was based upon Graphs and the 2nd question was on Maths. It was a great question! I solved the Graph question with the approach of Recursion and Backtracking, the Interviewer was also impressed with me and liked my approach for solving that question.

My last round consisted questions from Hashing, like how can we stop the Hash collision etc and these were all the rounds for me. There was no HR round and I received my Offer letter shortly after these 5 rounds of Interview.

You definitely had an Overwhelming Interview experience Balvinder and that’s somehow good only! What has kept you motivated in this journey of reaching where you are today?

So I remember back in February, We had our Winter classes with Programming Pathshala, It was scheduled by our University and went for around 18days. I had been preparing for problem solving since a long time but often could not solve even the easiest of problems and felt highly demotivated. I had nights where I cried myself to sleep feeling how am I going to prepare all of this but after that drive of Programming Pathshala at LPU, I could feel my preparations taking a better shape and I was able to solve problems in a better and faster way than before. I couldn’t complete everything in those 18days and hence enrolled for the course. I would not say that I have always been this Motivated person, but this course has definitely helped me with keeping consistent with my preparations. From Recorded lectures to Live classes, everything is in such a structures manner that you don’t feel you’re missing out of any topic and the preparations feel complete. It even shows in your Interview skills and that’s what makes the major chances of you being selected in that particular company as SDE.

Apart from all this, what also helped me are Peer discussion groups. I had the best time preparing with my peers from Programming Pathshala and also outside. We would make sure to sit for studies every night and help keep each other motivated. Even our mentors here at Programming Pathshala promote peer-to-peer discussions and we are allotted various Breakout rooms to prepare for the same. Bharat sir and Vivek sir also gives you some pseudo codes to work upon and it definitely gives you a push with your preparations.

The course structure that is followed at Renaissance has everything that one can need for their Top-Tech company’s Interview preparations.

That’s wonderful Balvinder, and that brings us to the end of this Interview but before you leave, any piece of advice for our fellow Software Development Engineers in making?

I believe consistency is the key, so be consistent with your preparations. Never ever give up on your Goals and just when you start to feel tired, get back up and watch that one video or solve that one problem. Remember why you started at the first place and keep moving forward with your Preparations. You will see yourself achieving that Goal sooner than you can think of!

Thank you for that great advice Balvinder and Thank you for being here with us. I wish you all the best as you join Palo Alto from next year and until then we will keep seeing each other often as a part of Programming Pathshala’s Team.

Take Care!

You can also start your journey with Programming Pathshala now. Logon to www.programmingpathshala.com and take a free trial.

Have a doubt or suggestion? Reach out to us at info@programmingpathshala.com

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