Aug 11, 2013

The Placement Catastrophe

The most challenging project I had taken up in IMG was that of the development of the placement and internship portal of the college. Although the basic development finished roughly a year ago, we have been doing tons of changes ever since. Since Sandeep was the in charge of the proceedings related to placement last year, I had literally been shielded from the queries. Unfortunately, this time, I had to take over and for the last two days, I have had a really bad time.

Last year, the students were given about a week to fill in their details after which we locked their profiles. This year, however, it was a bad time. Due to heavy rains, the internet and intranet of the institute had been crippled; thanks to the leaky buildings. The day everything was restored, I was shocked to see a notice saying that the verification was just in over thirty hours! Are you kidding me?

Apparently, some company had to be sent the resumes because of which the CPT (Core Placement Team) had to do everything in a hurry. Anyways, it turned out to a minor headache, but nothing that I couldn't do. However, what lay ahead was worse, much worse.

Schlumberger came for recruiting pre-final year students for internships. But they had a separate demand- photos on the resume. Duh! Had it been last year, I would have just made a change to the file in the main server (ignoring git altogether) and said- there you go, it's running. However, owing to my work in Django and the discipline that I have learnt in my whole GSoC, I had to do it the right way- making sure my code was reusable. I called up Punit and got it done, explaining how I wanted it to look like.

The next was worse. I was woken up by a call from the CPT saying that there was no option for entering the twelfth marks for the PG students. It was working last year, I thought. But when I saw it with my own eyes, I was bewildered. Thanks to git, tracking the changes was easy and it turns out there was minor addition to some constant somewhere. That was cleared up soon, but what was to follow was about to make me rip my hair off.

There was this guy who called me up telling me that for all the students of his branch, the branch name was different. Ok, I can change it to whatever fancies you! He wanted me to swap two words in the branch and also change the department name- fair enough. However, then he said, "Hi, do we have to submit our photos to the representative?" I said politely, "Please talk to the Training and Placement Office." Ten minutes later, I get another call from the same guy. "This is regarding the notice that you uploaded. It said something about submitting photos." to which I had to say, "Sir, we are basically the technicians here. Nothing more. We just make the car, but someone else drives it!" That analogy worked well- no more calls!

Then there was this girl who comes to the lab asking that there is no option for adding her branch name in which she has an undergraduate degree. The simple thing that she was missing is that there was an option of 'None of These' at the very top of the dropdown, which would have enabled her to manually enter her branch. Another problem solved.

Then there was another bunch of guys who were apparently being shown as PhDs, but they were postgraduates. The simple reason was that their branch was new and not yet in the database. Poor Punit had to do that again- but he seemed to enjoy writing line after line of code blissfully in Python.

And then there were the cases of people with login issues. Some had forgotten their passwords, which could be fixed, but some others had forgotten their webmail usernames altogether. How then, do I make it work? Shubham "Django" Jain came to the rescue with some immediate solutions though. I would have jumped off the EC tower had it not been for Punit and Shubham.

The next day, I get a call from another guy. "Sir, my rizium is 21 pages long." OMG, did he write his biography? He continues. "Just two pages are of use, and others are some hyperlinks." I knew the reason why that happened, but I just wanted to confirm this. He had actually copy pasted the description of his internships from somewhere else, due to which all the links had gotten appended into the description. But I wonder what kind of source made his resume 21 pages long without coming to his attention! Call the Winchesters!

Next guy asks, "My riziuum is 5 pages long but it's mostly blank." Same issue, he had left whitespaces at the end of his descriptions. His next inquiry, "I am adding multiple software packages, but they are coming in the same line." Please use commas! Next guy in the line, please step forward.

And then there are my branch guys. Perhaps, they don't know how it feels to have a company open for our branch. So, I have been getting calls from people who seem to ask questions worse than the person I thought was the dumbest in the planet (my branch guys know who I refer to here).

"Where do I upload a photo?"
By clicking on the link that says "Update Photo."

"Does the photo come on the resume?"
Why don't you click on Resume button and check if it happens?

"There's an error saying - Please fill in 10th and/or 12th details to access internship. I don't see the details of 10th and 12th!" Why else does it say "fill in" the details if you could already see the details?

"I sent a wrong mail. Can I send another one?"
Yes, but mention not to consider the previous one.
"You are in IMG, can't you delete that mail?"
Sorry, I can't hack into Gmail!

And that, my friends, was just the first two days of the placement season. I wonder what lays ahead!

At the end of the day, however, it does feel really good fixing all of their issues and making sure everything goes on seamlessly.

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