I am Riya Negi, and I work as a software engineer at a multinational giant. Years ago, this was something unimaginable for me. Until grade twelve, I was just an average commerce student who hardly thought or planned for her future. I just went with the flow of life, living every moment to the fullest.

Then college life beckoned, and once again, I decided to go with the flow, without any dreams in my eyes. The first year of college just flew by as the second year came knocking on my door. I came to know that our college had organized a counseling session. Given its mandatory nature, I had no choice but to attend it.

Surprisingly, well after the session was over, the thoughts of making something worthwhile of my life lingered on. I began asking myself what I planned to do after college. This question kept raging in my mind, almost like a vicious thunderstorm. After several sleepless nights, I finally decided that it was enough. I needed to do something. This only gave way to another, even more confounding question, “What am I good at?”

I took part in countless college clubs and competitions to find the answer to this question. Two months down the line, I concluded that I was good at computer software. However, the way ahead was not easy. I was, after all, a commerce student and had absolutely no idea about programming. I did not have any engineering contacts, either. That is why I decided to create a LinkedIn profile to try and connect with the people actually working in the field. I did manage to make some connections, who were kind enough to guide and counsel me.

I started working hard on my programming skills. One year later – and, at the risk of repeating myself, I was a commerce student – I succeeded in clearing the GSOC (Google Summer of Code) exam. Having cleared one of Google’s toughest tests, I was understandably on cloud nine. From there, it was only a matter of making the most of the confidence I had gained from that remarkable accomplishment, and I did not let myself down.

I familiarized myself with many a technology, such as Android and iOS development, besides Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. I read numerous programming books by multiple authors to grasp every concept of programming and technology. After a rigorous preparation for two years (and innumerable rejections), I was finally hired as a software engineer at my dream company. The journey I had started with taunts and mockery had finally come to its happy, meaningful conclusion.

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