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All posts for the month April, 2016

My interview was scheduled on Feb 29th at VSSC . They asked us to report by 8:00 in the morning. I reached by 7.30 AM. At around 10.30 AM, document verification took place following which they provided a sequence number for the interview. It was a long wait of a whole day. At last, they called me for interview at around 7:00 PM. The interview session itself was pretty short, roughly 10 minutes or so.

Panel was composed of around 7 to 8 interviewers. They asked what I was doing in Samsung (I have two years  of work experience). I talked about the projects I was working on. However, they didn’t ask me any questions on those projects, as those were related to Tizen and network simulation.

Panel: What all are the subjects you are interested in?

Me: Anything apart from Software Engineering (As it was not in GATE syllabus, so I didn’t prepare 😛 )  (Everybody was laughing). I was told that they were there to ask questions from that subject only.

The following are the questions asked in interview. I’m not providing answers, since most of those cover the basics.

Panel:

  1. Considering that Software Engineering didn’t even exist in 1970, why is it so popular now-a-days?
  2. What is difference between error and bug?
  3. What is cache, direct mapped cache and set associative cache?
  4. What does object file contain?
  5. Is collision possible inside router, hub and repeater?
  6. Explain exponential back off algorithm.
  7. What is RTT in Ethernet?
  8. Which direction will the cross product of two vectors be in?
  9. In set theory, they asked basic definition of union, intersection etc.
  10. How will you run if one program refers variables in other file [like static, global] in Linux?

On final year project:

My final year project was optical character recognition of Telugu characters.

  1. What is difference between node and neuron?
  2. How weights are updated in neural networks?
  3. Is it necessary to have summation function?

Written test and interview are so easy that if you prepare well for GATE, you can nail it down without much pain. In written examination, more than 95% questions were just copy-pasted verbatim from previous years’ GATE question papers. During the written test, I reported a few errors to the invigilator and was told that I’d get marks for those questions if I just attempt it. What more annoying was, the invigilators corrected answer options to almost four to six questions while the examination was in progress. Also, there were a bunch of questions with incorrect answer keys, even for questions directly copied from previous years’ GATE question papers.

For the curious ones, I stood 6th in the written examination by scoring 149 while the topper got 153. In the interview, though I am not sure what they could judge in a brief interaction of ten minutes, I scored 75.38% while my overall place being 16th in final the merit list. In the whole process, I felt bad about not receiving any prior information on dates of crucial milestones, e.g. result of written examination, interview, issuance of appointment letter etc. Kind of I seem to loss my energy in the waiting period itself. Worse is, even if you call them, most of the time they provide false information or gives out some “canned” reply. Not only for me, but the story is the same for many candidates as you can read here. It didn’t appear to me that they were recruiting for as responsible and esteemed a designation as “Scientist” is. ISRO is not a private organisation. It can be left without paying any bond amount, unlike many private organizations. It’s the prestige of our country. I hope it will improve soon.

Please read this post before reading this to know about the interview process and it was written before the interview results were announced, so can find no bias in it. In this post, I will be answering some questions based on the previous statistics that I have collected.

  1. Your Interview will be scheduled at morning 8.00 AM but they can call you any time before 9.00 PM. I was  called for the interview at around 7.10 PM and there were three more candidates left after me in Thiruvananthapuram. A male candidate was interviewed at around 9.00 PM in Delhi (another interview center). Don’t loose your energy/get tired by simply sitting. Often, they will provide refreshment, also you can interact with the other colleagues if you are that kind of a person. So, book your return ticket for the next day to be on the safer side. This is not applicable to the lady candidates as they are interviewed first.
  2. Will I be not selected if I am interviewed very late, as interviewers might already have selected the required candidates? Will they be less interested to interview me? Absolutely not. I was interviewed fourth from the last, still I got selected while having a good rank at the same time. Moreover, the next person sitting after me also ranked good and got selected. The interviewers are experienced enough to know our feeling when candidates are interviewed so late. Be cool/positive and don’t worry on this.
  3. What are the subjects to be prepared? Will they ask from our final year project? Every questions will be from your favorite subjects if you are lucky and if not, they will ask some questions beyond your comfort zone. There will be no HR questions. They will question your project if you passed out recently, say 2-3 years back. Its good to prepare the project, at least the technique or technology you have used in that.
  4. I got All-India Rank (AIR) < 23 in written test and the number of positions advertised are 23. Will I be selected for sure?. No. This year (2016) the top 5 rankers in the written test were not selected in the interview. Do prepare for the interview. See the attachment at the end for the proof of the same. There is an equal chance to get selected even for the last shortlisted candidate, so don’t skip the interview.
  5. I have no experience/passed out last year with no job. Is my probability of getting selected looks bleak?. No. Though I didn’t mention my experience/job, I was selected. I had no questions regarding the year I have a career gap in. You might be asked questions when you are unemployed more than a year. Stay prepared for that. I didn’t mention my experience/job because I don’t have any notable skill/experience acquired from my company because of various reasons.
  6. I am a girl candidate and selected for the interview. Will I be selected for the post as ISRO have mentioned that “Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply”?. Obviously women candidates slightly have an edge over their counterpart in the process. However, to be noted that it’s a rare event that you will be selected if you don’t perform well in the interview. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. For the male candidates, don’t ever think of this because this policies are not in our hand to be changed. Do your best and hope for the rest.
  7. Is scientist ‘SC’ not a permanent post in ISRO, because in their job advertisement they mention that: “The posts are temporary, but likely to continue“? As quoted by Dipanjan (worked in ISRO), it’s a permanent post with probation for initial few months. That’s why it’s written like that. Saying that, I have never seen/heard someone getting terminated during the probation. The notification is always phrased like that, using legal jargon. It will definitely be permanent barring special cases, e.g. one commits a crime etc.
  8. And regarding the documents, they will verify the documents (mark sheets, certificates…) before attending the interview. Be sure to bring all the original documents and attested copies that they mention in the call letter. They are strict/cautious in this process, for instance they even summed up the marks of my 10th, 12th standard mark sheets while the total marks was already written in the mark sheet by the issuing board :). Double check while filling up the online application form as they cross verify against it prior to the interview.

Below, I have attached all the documents/results for this year(all branches):

ISRO-ANNUAL RECRUITMENT OF SCIENTISTS,ENGINEERS `SC’(2015-16)

The interview was scheduled to be conducted at 8.00 AM (28th Feb 2016), I reached VSSC ATF centre at around 7.30 AM. After the document verification, they allotted numbers for each candidate base on the following priority: (i) Girls (ii) Those who booked their tickets on the same day (actually on the interview letter they mentioned that in worst case, it needs two days for the interview). As I booked the ticket for the next day evening, they called me around 7.10 PM.

There were seven peoples sitting in a semi-circle. They didn’t ask me about myself or what I do. Firstly, they questioned me about my project work. As soon as I started explaining, they interrupted me (seemed that they were either not interested or because of time constraint since there were three more peoples waiting to be interviewed). Next,  I was asked what my favorite subject are. I mentioned (i) Operating Systems (ii) Data structures (iii) Computer Networks in order. The interviewer who was sitting in the middle asked others to start off with Data Structure.

Here is a list of questions I was asked and those which I remember now:

Interviewer – I:

  • What is binary heap? Types? Properties? [Answered]
  • Application of the Heap [Answered]
  • Abstract data type and its use [Answered]
  • Stacks, Grow-able stack and queue and their use [Answered]
  • Dynamic memory allocation [Answered]

Interviewer – II:

  • Questions regarding routing algorithm [Answered]
  • A question on FILE’s in C: The temporary buffer of file [Answered as “RAM”, I don’t know it is right or not]
  • WAN protocol [Not answered]

Interviewer – III:

  • Memory leak in Java [I didn’t know about this in Java, offered an explanation w.r.t. C instead]
  • C pre-processor [Answered]
  • Phases of compiler [Answered]
  • JAR file in Java. [I admitted that I am not familiar with Java. What all I could remember is using JAR file in my Nokia S40 series. They didn’t seem to be very  impressed]

Important points:

  • For the interview round, they didn’t expect an one word brief reply. There were some discussions happened for every answer like Implementation ,application of it etc..They will help if you stuck but they wanted the answer from your mouth.
  • The questions were mostly based on the feedback. Meaning that, the next question will be based on your answer for current question. So think twice before you answer.
  • As you see from my interview questions that they can ask you from any computer science subject[not only on your favorite  subjects].Even I had in depth discussion on Compiler design which I don’t have in my B.Tech course ware.
  • For some of the interviewee’s the questions were from Mathematics notably from Geometry, Discrete Mathematics etc.
  • One candidate, who works in a PSU, was not allowed to attend interview because of not having NoC letter from his company.
  • The candidates who attended the interview were quite knowledgeable and experienced. Most of them passed out before 2011 or 2012. Probably, only two of them including me were 2015 pass-outs[w.r.t boys]. The companies they were working include Adobe, Samsung research, Adobe, GATE CSE tutors , Asst. Professors, IIsc and IIT M.Tech. students and from PSU’s.
  • Some of the candidate’s came there were attended interview before hand in ISRO[previous year’s].

To conclude, you should be  top of your game and need a bit of luck in terms of questions they start with.