My First year in Tech

My First year in Tech

A timeline based journey about what I learnt and achieved so far, which includes my academics, freelancing offers and winning hackathons

Exactly one year back from now, I got into University for my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering. And it was then, I actually got introduced to the Tech world. Previously, I had some coding experience in both Java & Python and had a proper knowledge of MySQL.

In this one year, I have learned and experienced quite a few things. So, I thought it would be the perfect time to document my journey with the timelines and also share some of my plans for the next year. This may help the beginners in starting their journey and will definitely motivate me for my upcoming journey. So let's begin…

The Journey

October, 2022

As this was my first month of college, I focused on my academics a bit and attended classes regularly. Besides that, as I had a bit of coding knowledge, I decided to start learning Web Development. I followed the free course from Code with Harry, which is available on YouTube.

And by the end of that month, I was mostly done with HTML. It didn't take me more than two weeks to learn it as it was extremely simple and beginner-friendly.

November, 2022

This was an interesting month for me, because it was when I got introduced to CSS, and the sheer amount of styling that I can do with it amazed me 🤩. I continued with Code with Harry and started creating some small projects including a form page for School admission, a basic site for a fictional shoe brand, etc.

December, 2022

I decided to enhance my skills in HTML and CSS more before moving on to JavaScript, so I took a course from Coursera, which was taught by Meta. Following that, I started and completed learning Bootstrap from there.

And the most interesting and a bit disappointing thing happened during this month:

The interesting thing is, that I got my first Tech freelancing gig, which consisted of building a few small projects using Bootstrap and the APIs provided by the client, for showcasing the service of their small start-up. And, it was a 15K rupees gig. Now, the disappointing part is, that I couldn't complete the gig because some part of it was extremely out of my league. But they paid me 8K rupees for the work I had done.

The most important thing I learned was that real-life development is all about googling, pasting codes from StackOverflow, and learning while doing so

Took full advantage of my Winter vacation, to start learning some advanced concepts of Python and finally got started with JavaScript!!

January, 2023

This is that single month where I did a lot of "first-time" things and learned & got started with them.

Continued learning JavaScript from both Code with Harry and Coursera. And, I started building some small projects using my newly learned concepts from Python.

Now with the skills I have learned so far, I was thinking of putting them to the test by attending a Hackathon. So, I grabbed one of my classmates and a 2nd-year guy from another college. Our small team had a diverse skill set, and we decided to participate in "Treasure Hacks 3.0". Our project was "Lab for All" (Website link: https://labforall.vercel.app, GitHub link: https://github.com/Swpn0neel/treasure-hacks-labforall)

We planned to make a project on the Ed-Tech field and the idea was to create a platform where the users can get assistance, particularly in their lab assignments, from video lectures to notes, and viva questions to 3D simulations.

While working on the project, I got to know about how you have to make the site design before starting to code, and that attracted me a lot and planted the seed inside me to start designing in Figma, which I planned to learn in the near future.

Strangely enough, till now I haven't learned about Git and GitHub. But I had to grasp it now for the obvious reason of collaboration in my Hackathon project. And it was a significant bump in my Tech learning journey.

Also, while doing the project I had to learn Firebase as it was needed for data storing and user authentication, and it was my part to complete that job.

The best part is, we completed the project within the time limit and implemented all the planned features. And to our amazement, we won the Hackathon being the second runner-up.

Also, this month, I wrote my first blog at Hashnode on Python and also got active on Twitter (now X), and started posting content on both mediums.

February, 2023

Our first-semester final exam happened this month and was stretched over a period of 20 days. And later, when the results came out, I topped my batch with an SGPA of 9.33.

This month, I also focused on my blogging and wrote around 8-9 articles. Also, I started working on my personal portfolio website and completed it. It took just over two weeks to do that. Learned a bit of React and JavaScript while building my portfolio, and also worked on file handling and its modules in Python.

March, 2023

After a lot of grinding web development for some months, I decided to switch the gear a bit and decided to start doing DSA. Now for doing that, I rarely used any guide or video tutorials, but relied on solving more and more Leetcode problems (you can check my Leetcode profile, here) based on my previous knowledge of arrays, strings and recursion. By doing so, I solved just over 30 problems and approached around 100 problems in that venture.

Also, I started learning UI/UX design and gained a huge interest in that. Followed Jesse Showalter, Design Course and Payton Clerk on YouTube to get knowledge about designing. I used Figma for the design purpose!!

Besides these, I completed the "7 days, 7 blogs" challenge on Hashnode and mostly shared my Python knowledge there. And also, explored a lot of Python libraries mainly about text and image analysis.

April, 2023

Continued my DSA journey and solved over 20+ questions based on String Builder, Array List and Arrays.

Also, I decided to go for another Hackathon along with two of my classmates. It was one of the MLH hacks, called "Hack Around the World 2.0". Our project was "The Magnificent Seven" (Website link: https://magnificent-seven.vercel.app, GitHub link: https://github.com/Swpn0neel/TheMagnificentSeven)We decided to use Three.js, Svelte and Tailwind CSS for the project. That's why, I started learning Svelte and Tailwind CSS. Also, I created the Figma design of the site. This was a much smaller scale project than the previous one but cramped most of our technical skills into it. And again, to our amazement, we managed to be the Winner of this Hackathon.

May, 2023

Paused DSA for a bit, but started learning C as it was a part of my college curriculum.

Also, I delved more into designing and started mastering animations and transitions in CSS and decided to build some small-scale projects using that. In that venture, I created around 5-6 projects that focused mainly on uniqueness and smooth animations. Check them out here: https://github.com/Swpn0neel/Web-Development-Projects

And the most important thing that happened at the end of the month. Previously, I mentioned that I wrote a number of blogs regarding Python in the months of February and March. Now, they got noticed by Tutorials Point, and I got a part-time job offer from them, whose first contract was to deliver an advanced Python course for their platform. I accepted the offer and started working for them.

June, 2023

This was a really special month, because I only earned, earned and earned in this one. Aside from Tutorials Point, I got some really good freelancing offers too: I created the UI/UX Design and wrote SEO-optimized content for some medium-scale businesses. Delivered some copywriting and technical writing jobs.

Also, this was the month of our second-semester exam. I was extremely loose academically this semester and didn't have high hopes about scoring. But still, some fruitful one-nighters helped me to get an SGPA of 9.14.

July, 2023

Took the after-semester break to my advantage and again went for an earning streak with various freelancing job offers.

For some time I hadn't attended any hackathons, so in the middle of the month, our same team from MLH Hacks decided to attend our first offline hackathon and we chose Eastern India's largest Hackathon, Hack 4 Bengal 2.0 for that. Everything was going nicely there, but one of our teammates faced health issues, and that's why we had to return to our home before the Hackathon ended. It was a disappointing failure for us.

But for me personally, it was extremely fruitful from an earning standpoint.

August, 2023

The month started with me hosting an introductory session to Open-Source at my University for my fellow peers, along with two other folks from my batch. It was my first mentoring and public speaking session.

Also, an important thing that caught my eye was that, I haven't learned a lot of things personally (except Python, most of my Freelancing works were dependent on that and I learned a lot of Python libraries during that time), as I was majorly focusing on earning. Also, I haven't touched DSA for some months.

So, I again started Leetcoding at the end of this month. Previously, I had completed 50+ problems, I added 10+ to that number this month.

September, 2023

Rejected all Freelancing offers this month and went hard on Leetcoding. I solved more than 90 problems this month, ranging from Linked List and Prefix Sum to Siding Window and Recursion problems.

Also, I started preparing for the Smart India Hackathon '23. Involved two juniors in our team so that they can have their first Hackathon experience and learn along the way. As part of the national hackathon, we have to qualify for the internal Hackathon of our University, MAKATHON '23. We qualified with flying colors taking the first position in the Hackathon.

October, 2023

Decided to make some complex projects related to Web Development and prepared some web designs on Figma for the same, while learning a bit more about UI/UX Designing in general.

Started taking weekly mentorship sessions for my juniors, so that they could learn at a better pace and not get distracted while being focused on the ultimate goal of upskilling themselves.

Bonus

I have mentioned almost everything here. But I want to mention some things that weren't mentioned in the timeline.

  • Python and its vast library have always been with me throughout my learning journey and earned me the majority of my bucks through freelancing.

  • I was able to purchase an ASUS TUF A15 laptop all by myself through freelancing ventures, and also manage a lot of my personal expenses besides making a little bit of savings for myself.

  • Since January, I've been active on Twitter and made a family of over 500 folks.

  • College academics were never my priority and I tried to ignore it as much as possible and gave the least possible amount of time to it.

  • Although I started my journey with the help of video tutorials, as time passed I majorly relied on official documentation and blogs because of their simplicity and least time requirement.

  • Other than the mentioned stuff, I had to learn quite a few other things like API management, handling ML models, and many more for project requirements. It's impossible for me to mention all of them in a single blog 😅.

My plans for the Second year

So far, I have completed 170+ Leetcode problems, and my target moving forward is to cover all the DSA concepts in the 2nd year and at least reach the 600+ problems mark on Leetcode. Also, I'll start attending coding contests to put my skills to the test.

I will start delving into AI/ML and would like to get a solid grip on it by October 2024. Along with that, I plan to make some SaaS products with my knowledge of AI/ML and Web Development. Also, I'll attend more and more hackathons, because the learning opportunity from there is just undeniable. And, I would start focusing on subjects like System Design and Operating Systems. Plus, I would be actively looking forward to grabbing any internship opportunities.

And lastly, I would continue mentoring my fellow juniors and would start focusing on making Open-Source contributions to renowned organizations.

Conclusion

And that's a wrap!! But if you have any queries regarding my journey or any suggestions for my future, I would love to hear that from you in the comments. Also, as a closing note, I would like to share my resume which I have created recently based on my progress so far, you can check it out here. And if you want to stay connected with me, you can follow me here or on my other social handles. Thank You for reading about my journey, have a nice day ahead!!

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