Cracking GATE : Computer Science
GATE exam and it's importance.
In India over 10 lakh Engineers are produced every year. As such there is a tremendous competition for oneself to get noticed across different companies and institutions whether it is for a job or Research opportunities. While the necessity might sound so obvious it is not really an easy feat to achieve with a country of over 1.2 billion people and rising. And even if you do have the required skill set and talent, being from a tier 3 college or private engineering, the question comes, How do you get noticed across big companies like Google and Facebook that selects only the elite of elites?
You have two choices: Either concentrate over the four years of your engineering degree and make a high profile CV or you can appear for the GATE exam and get an entrance ticket to the IIT's, where, if you can work hard and smart enough, have an equal chance as everyone at Google or any other big companies.
M.Tech as it is often misheard, has equal opportunities when it comes to placement.
While now it may all sound good and merry, the question again arises, How do i crack this GATE ?
And let me tell you cracking GATE is no joke, especially if you have been messing around in B.Tech/B.E degree to a point where you don't even a slight clue about the basics in your subject. And basics is just the tip of the iceberg.
GATE exam. Worth it or not.
One word. Opportunities.
Be it in placements, research facilities, or knowledge exposure. The opportunities you previously had access to, and the ones you will get after clearing GATE is of major difference.
Let us take a scenario at hand. If you are a sincere 8 GPA student, from a tier 3 college, or a newly established private college then you must have realized, that the amount of opportunities you are exposed to is very limited. Of course it might not be the case with all the colleges, but it does apply to most of the tier 3 and below colleges. One of the most occurring thing happens in a private engineering college is that mostly they have service oriented companies coming for placements, if not all. While service based companies are not at all bad to start your career with, if you have liabilities such as student loans, then things get a little complicated for you as the packages provided by the service based companies is mostly less than 5LPA, that too, mostly in metro cities, where the cost of living is quite high. And if you're one of those rare students who has a very good resume built with hard work through out the life span of 4 B.Tech years. Then hard luck. You're probably going to be in one of those companies sooner or later.
GATE Computer Science Marks Weightage
GATE Coaching or Self Study?
It is not an absolute requirement that a GATE aspirant has to appear for GATE coaching. Just for the record GATE 2015 topper was a mechanical engineering student who did self study himself with the help of postal materials from MadeEasy. You can read about Ravi Shankar Mishra, GATE CSE AIR 1 and you will not be disappointed.
Coming back to the topic of whether coaching is essential or not. When it comes down to Computer Science, there are lots of free online resources that helps you study yourself just in case you cannot afford or don't want coaching.
One such website is www.gatecse.in . Right from forming a study plan from early July or August, they form groups where people on the same journey can come together and discuss their doubts and concepts. It's a very good initiative taken up by this website. And yes, it's all for free.
This is good and all, but, what do you do when your concepts are nil and you want to study right from the very basics. The answer is standard books. Yes, you heard it right. Standard books and NPTEL videos are the way to go when you want to clear your doubts. Bear in mind, that reading up standard books and watching NPTEL videos is a tedious and time consuming process. But building concepts take time. Especially if you had none to begin with.
Oh and yes, there is one more source. The legend called Ravindra Babu Ravula. The video lectures provided by Ravindra Babu Ravula are top notch and they are bound to clear your doubts one way or the other. He releases some free videos on youtube once in a while, and even does an online coaching course, of which the latter one i don't know much about.
Now, if you ask for my personal opinion. Nobody would want to do coaching. But if you lack in discipline, and are never a time table sort of person (which you need to be!) then you best take a coaching course for one year.
Standard textbooks for GATE
How to put in more hours into GATE preparation
Managing the environment
Do it for the knowledge
After all has been said and done. if you do not love what you do, you will never be able to truly live your life. Even though GATE gives you the opportunity to do so much more with your choices, if you never really loved computer science, then all that lies ahead of you is harsh road.