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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.