Congratulations! You’ve successfully managed to steer past lakhs of people like you, and you’ve been given the opportunity to choose your path for your life ahead – something that the lakhs of others like you wouldn’t get. If you feel that this is your hard work, you have a right to be proud of yourself. If not, and you feel this was a fluke, then just imagine! Every event that has ever taken place on this planet has led to this moment. So if you ask yourself whether you deserve to be more opportune than others, well yes you do.
But oh wait! You’re throwing away this opportunity? You’re listening to that random uncle/aunty who claim to know everything only because their sons/daughters are making it large at TCS? Huh. What a waste! Please don’t do that.
Now is the time to decide. This decision of yours will influence your life ahead. 20 years down the line, if you look back, everything will boil down to this tiny decision. Are you still going to let Mr. And Mrs. Sharma take this decision for you? I hope not.
It’s not that you cannot make a decision. It’s just that you don’t know how to. To make an informed choice, you need to first decide on the parameters. What is more important to you? Is it the so-called packages that Google/Facebook offers or is it the thrill of seeing a spacecraft designed by you land on the moon? So, parameters. I personally feel that while making this choice, you should reflect on your life till now. You must be aged somewhere near 18. In the last 18 years of your life you must have developed interests. Were you one of those people who used to play for endless hours with LEGOs and try and build something new every time? Or maybe you were one of those who, in their 5th grade made a speed boat using a soft-drink bottle and a DC motor. See, things seem clearer already.
*Drumroll* the moment many of you have been waiting for.
Yes. I won’t deny the fact that Computer Science and Engineering is one branch that can ensure that you have a decent pay right when you graduate out of college. But, 10 years hence, the salary package of a guy/girl who graduated as a Chemical Engineer (for example) would be the same as you, if not higher. However, he/she would be doing what he/she actually wanted to, unlike you, who gave a higher preference to money then. He/She will have enjoyed the last 10 years, and you’d have timed in and out with your pass card in an office you know you don’t care about. Again, I’m not saying Computer Science is bad, just that it’s not a field that everyone would enjoy.
Three years ago, I made a choice. Do I regret it? Not to the slightest. I wanted to work with software before it became a fad. And so, I went for it.
My preconception? I’ll get to make games and hack the crap out of NSA’s computers. Did I do so? No. Because no one told me. Even if it sounds so, Computer Science is not all about that. It’s more maths than electronics. It’s just raw application of your brain. Some of the greatest advancements in the field of computer science would seem very intuitive to you. “Hah! Ismein kya hai?” is what you’ll think on reading up an algorithm that took years to come up with. Computer Science is about understanding computers. It’s about learning to talk, learning to think, learning to write in their way and teaching them your own ways. Writing code is very similar to writing a novel. Except that instead of getting your message out to the readers, you need to make the computer understand what you think. And while humans are smart, a computer is an idiot.
Even though it seems like the whole life of a computer scientist revolves around a single machine and that the field is very narrow, it isn’t. The number of mutually exclusive areas in computer science is huge in number, beyond the scope of this article.
Computer Science at IIT Bombay is fun, and competitive and grueling at the same time. While you’ll be saved from the agony of using scary looking machines and turning that block of metal into a cylindrical shaft, you’ll be welcomed by long (and at times painful) assignments, 10-hour lab(s) (You’ll experience at least one of those), and the pain of having to (at times) put in some extra hours while people from (some) other departments are off for a trip to Goa. Otherwise, you’ll have more projects in your CV than many other branches, you’ll learn to know what online presence means and you can become a rock star even if you haven’t picked up a guitar all your life (you’ll get to know what this means later).
So, make a choice that you won’t regret. The four years ahead of you are going to be nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Which ride you want to take, you decide.