Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur? Placement ? Life? By Srijan R Shetty & Shashwat Chandra (CSE IITK) - Personal Review - EXAMS FREAK : Btech Books Download pdf
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Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur? Placement ? Life? By Srijan R Shetty & Shashwat Chandra (CSE IITK) - Personal Review

Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur? Placement ? Life? By Srijan R Shetty & Shashwat Chandra (CSE IITK) - Personal Review
First of all, I would like to congratulate you and your family for this outstanding feat of clearing JEE'17.

I guess introductions are in order, I am Srijan R Shetty, an alumi - it'll take considerable time to digest that fact - at the department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT K.



Before you embark upon the tedious journey of reading through this entire post, I would urge you to go through Professor Dheeraj Sanghi's blog "A Guide to JEE Counseling". Additionally, he's active on Exams Freak; and most certainly will answer pertinent questions.

There are some excellant posts written by my peers at IITK out in the wild and as my computer science education has taught me not to reinvent the wheel, I shall compile the best bits from their articles.



Why IITK? Shashwat Chandra does an excellent job of answering this question:
Why IIT K? The cultural festival of IIT K, Antaragni, is run virtually entirely by students. The Students' Gymkhana is a body made of students of all batches. The New SAC (Students' Activity Center, a place for people to hang out) was majorly planned by the students of three batches, and the franchises selected for its food court were selected by a panel of students. The degree of freedom given to students at IIT K is, in my opinion, definitely larger than most other institutes. IIT K also has the distinct advantage of being in a city that is much lesser developed than places like Mumbai and Delhi. Why is this an advantage? IIT K has become self-contained, because there is a larger incentive to make everything available on campus. The choices of extra-curricular activities are larger, the food options are cheap and more varied, and all sections of the campus are together, making it a tighter, closer-knit location. Each club has its own advantages. Some clubs improve your speaking skill; others teach you a new art; even others let you hone your intellect in the direction you want. Art, music, literature, dance, electronics, robotics, photography, whatever your interest, there is going to be an outlet. If there isn't, it is not hard to create an outlet or a club for an interest you feel will benefit you. There are certain to be more people interested in the things you like.

IITK's academic curriculum was revised in 2011 and the new curriculum was one of the primary reasons why I joined IITK. The curriculum contains two parts: a departmental core and a compulsory core.

In the very first year, all courses are department neutral. You will get to learn Mechanics and Electromagnetic Theory in Physics, Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry in Chemistry, Basic Life Sciences (yes Biology!), Engineering Graphics, Linear Algebra and Calculus in Mathematics and (the dreaded) morning exercises. Having the first year being departmental neutral works out for students who change their branches. (A side note on branch changes, don't bank on them. Albeit I managed to change my branch from Civil to Computer Science, they are a tricky slope to ascend.) To break the monotony and gain a broader outlook, you will be doing atleast five Humanities and Social Sciences Courses in your stay at IITK. (I've done courses in Philosophy, Pyschology, Art, Human Rights and will be doing one in Economics next fall. While people may disagree, I've found these courses liberating - pun intended.)

The CS course curriculums looks as follows: Page on Iitk, you can cross reference the course numbers from Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

PriyankJaini gave a very good overview of how your curriculum will work: (I did make a few changes so that the data matches with that of CSE)
While pursuing CSE at IITK, you will have the option of taking 6 Open Electives(OE), 4 Engineering Science Options(ESO), 4 Departmental Electives(DE), UGP-I(Undergraduate Project)(optional) and UGP-II & III (Undergraduate Project II which can be substituted with another DE or OE) and UGP-IV(this is to earn extra credits), 5 HSS courses(2 from level-I HSS and 3 from Level-II HSS bracket).

Open Electives as the name suggests are courses you can opt from any department including your own. These are the courses which render flexibility to your programme. But choosing these courses from a discipline which interests you, you can even go for a Minor in that discipline provided you fulfil the criteria set. For example you are interested in Computer Science, you can take OE's accordingly that make you eligible to obtain a Minor in CSE after 4years with a Major in Maths(Note: From the current status, CSE Dept. of IIT-K has offered no Minors and hence the example is a purely hypothetical one. I will upload the pdf which gives options regarding minors for the batch 11
students of K).

Science Options are courses in other Science discipline like Physics and Chemistry. You will have to choose a total of 2 such courses. Departmental Electives are courses you can choose from your own Department template subject to what courses are offered in the semester.

The flexibility of IITK's new academic programme was what made it an obvious choice for me. You can take up minors in departments which interest you, or take up a secondary major in an another department altogether, you are also given the option for dual degrees. Also with a new branch change policy in place, I believe that it will be easier for students to get a branch change.
(The new academic curriculum is finally stabilizing and only a few minors kinks need to be ironed out).

Finally I would like to say: IITK has shaped the person that I've become today. In IITK, I developed a new found vigour towards learning in general, which is veritably unlike the rote learning I did in school. I believe this is partly because of professors who spend hours preparing for our next lectures and partly because of the students over here who never fail to me amaze me with what they are capable of (both in life and academics). I've been showered with opportunities and I've met people who I'll cherish for a lifetime.

Feel free to ask any questions, you could drop a mail at srijans@iitk.ac.in or you could ping me on facebook Srijan R Shetty | Facebook.

Hope this will be of some use.
Live long and prosper,
Srijan

                                   By Shashwat Chandra                   




So, as people following my life closely (friends, family, the NSA) would already know, after finishing my Physics degree at IIT K, I chose to stay there a while longer in the form of a Computer Science degree at IIT K. And, since I'd already written about why Physics, and why IITK, and considering that the JEE-A result should be out by now, here's part 2 of the saga: Why Computer Science at IIT K.

A good friend of mine, Srijan Shetty has already written a wonderful piece about exactly this topic: Computer Science Engineering at IIT K by Srijan R Shetty on Lost Echoes

Here's my take, however:

First, a recap (jump over this paragraph if you've read my previous post. It's the same):
I want to shed some light on the format IIT K follows. IIT K has a semester system (with two semesters a year). Each department has some compulsary courses and some elective options. For example, physics students have to compulsarily take courses on Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Condensed Matter Physics, and the like. Electives can be from any department. All courses carry certain weightages called credits. Each student has to complete a total number of credits for their degree. Some of these credits will come from compulsary courses, and the rest from electives.
Why IIT K? The cultural festival of IIT K, Antaragni, is run virtually entirely by students. The Students' Gymkhana is a body made of students of all batches. The New SAC (Students' Activity Center, a place for people to hang out) was majorly planned by the students of three batches, and the franchises selected for its food court were selected by a panel of students. The degree of freedom given to students at IIT K is, in my opinion, definitely larger than most other institutes. IIT K also has the distinct advantage of being in a city that is much lesser developed than places like Mumbai and Delhi. Why is this an advantage? IIT K has become self-contained, because there is a larger incentive to make everything available on campus. The choices of extra-curricular activities are larger, the food options are cheap and more varied, and all sections of the campus are together, making it a tighter, closer-knit location. Each club has its own advantages. Some clubs improve your speaking skill; others teach you a new art; even others let you hone your intellect in the direction you want. Art, music, literature, dance, electronics, robotics, photography, whatever your interest, there is going to be an outlet. If there isn't, it is not hard to create an outlet or a club for an interest you feel will benefit you. There are certain to be more people interested in the things you like.

Here comes the new stuff:

Why IIT K? I've recently understood that important things like campus recruitment are also in the hands of students here, and they sure have done a fine job till now. IIT K has a student-made planetarium, a student-run observatory, an air-strip, an ACTUAL wind-tunnel (I'm looking at you, IITD). IIT K's incubation center is one of the most successful in India, and has won national awards. IIT K's research paper count is (to my knowledge) the highest of the IITs, and (definitely) one of the highest in India. We have people from all walks of life, interacting, learning, and experiencing life in a whole new way. We also have peacocks. Lots and lots of peacocks. So many peacocks, that you're going to be bored of the national bird after a while.


Why computer science? Most people probably won't see the point of my spending time writing anything out here. I mean, nearly every top-ranker in JEE goes for CSE. However, that's actually part of the problem. I know people that are very interested in computer science, and didn't get it because of this rat-race. I know people that didn't want to study computer science, but were 'forced' to by their families and/or peers because of their good rank.
The reasons I'm going to give for choosing computer science have nothing to do with the package offered to CSE degree-holders, because, honestly, money isn't everything. I know it's pretty clichéd, but it's still true (Plus, you know, we have a brilliant placement record, so it isn't a problem, even if money is a concern). That's a different rant, however, and we'll discuss that some other time, or over chat, if you wish.
Why computer science, if it's not about the money? Because computers are taking over every aspect of our lives nowadays, and everything, from cars, to refrigerators, to watches, to shoes have computers in them. And, knowing how computers work - understanding how computers can make our lives easier at a personal level - will help us be able to utilize this ability of computers more effectively.
Computers nowadays are reaching a level where we've 'nearly' reached sentience. We've had computers claiming to have beaten the Turing test, and we've definitely reached a stage where that's a possibility. We have social networks observing every step we take, and security organizations preventing that from taking place. We have crowd-funded movies, and crowd-sourced games. Won't it feel exhilarating to be a part of this?

The learning curve is very steep, note, mainly because there are new applications and technologies coming up everyday; but the thrill of coding a program that predicts someone's age given his/her name is one you have to experience.


Why CSE at IIT K then? I mean, we have the BEST faculty in India. We have Padma Shri awardees, and the AKS-primality paper authors. We have Rajeev Motwani (in spirit)! We have wonderful collaborations with the best companies in the industry (yes, Microsoft, Google, etc.). We have awesome hackathons, that have tasty food and brilliant goodies. We have a fantastic peer-group. We have ACM-ICPC finalists, professionals with job experience enhancing their education, talented geniuses, and ingenious minds. The open elective system makes sure CSE students, interested in learning algorithms or haskell can pit their minds against the best brains in other branches too. And who knows? Maybe you'll be a part of a successful startup earning millions off android apps (TinyMogul), or be a part of the brains behind test portals (HackerRank).

Additionally, (as mentioned in my previous post), The BTech program at IIT K has the following broad categories: Core courses that every department undergraduate student will do - physics, mathematics, electronics, computer science, and engineering. I'll go into more detail in a bit. The second category are electives - HSS (humanities and social science) electives and open electives. The third category consists of the core department courses and departmental electives. The first category is wonderful for anyone interested in computational physics or hardware development/hacking (http://hackaday.com/). You get the huge advantage of learning to draw engineering drawings, and more importantly actually make something in the mechanical engineering and metallurgical engineering labs. Additionally, you'll always be in touch with engineering students, professors, departments, and research. I believe everyone should get the exposure the first few years at IITK provides (hence a rehash of the old paragraph). The second category is something very important for creating a wholesome human being. The years after finishing school are not just for studying, but also for creating an adult. When I entered IIT K, I was a kid that didn't know much about life, and little apart from my own subject. These electives gave me the opportunity to discover how much I like literature, philosophy, computer science, and chemistry. They gave me exposure to students and teachers with entirely different mindsets and approaches. In fact, I spent lots of the electives that I had on computer science courses, and I've learnt a lot from them. This point is more of a 'why IIT K' point than a 'why CSE at IITK' point, but it's important enough. In fact, showing that IIT K is emphasizing on this, they've just started a system of Dual Degrees, Dual Majors and Minors, that allow a student to study two different topics at the same time, and have degrees to show for both. I can actually do a BS in Chemistry and get an MTech in Mechanical Engineering, within a span of 5 years, if I wish to. Similarly, I can get a BTech in Biological Sciences and Bio-Engineering, and collect a Computer Science minor at the same time, in 4 years, if I am so inclined. IIT K understands the point of interdisciplinary studies.
The third set of courses are the reason you're considering CSE in the first place, and they shall be the main point in my next paragraph.


The Computer Science and Engineering department at IIT K has work that can broadly be broken down into two categories: Theory and Systems. Most of the foundational courses deal with theory (the theory of theory, and the theory behind systems), and you get to learn a LOT about exactly why things are the way they are. That's important, you know. Let's take an example. Lots of people agree that the Internet is broken. It was never built with privacy/security in mind. We just found a HUGE bug in the OpenSSL code being used everywhere. The only way to be able to fix stuff like that is to know exactly what bricks these fundamental tools are built with.
Our theory courses range from Data Structures, Information Theory, and Game Theory, to the Riemann Hypothesis, to Randomized Algorithms. And our professors are excellent at theory.
Our systems courses range from Machine Learning, Data Mining, Cognition, to Quantum Computing, Computer Security, and Databases, to Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics and Computer Vision. And our professors are brilliant at systems.


Three final points to conclude my elaborate essay. You've all heard that IIT K is gruelling. That's... true. But the flip side is that IIT K prepares you for everything the world can throw at you. And that's what distinguishes a true gem from the muck. I mean, LIFE is DEFINITELY more gruelling than IIT K. And college is supposed to be a stepping stone to life. IITK does a very good job of that.
Secondly, there's always so much to do here! I've been involved in student placements, the institute magazine, teaching underprivileged children, the card and board games group, the literary society, the programming club, the robotics club, and a dozen other things I can't even think of. That's where I'm getting most of my learning from, at the end of the day. Because it's always society that counts. And IIT K is closely knit.


Thirdly, I'm not going to cry if you don't come to IIT K. Even if I try not to be, I'm probably still biased. But, you're definitely missing out on a brilliant opportunity to spar with the best faculty and students if you don't come here. I hope you look beyond names when choosing a college. I hope you look beyond a job at 21 when you choose a home at the age of 18. I hope you look beyond ease when you look for a place to study. And, I hope you have the common sense to make the most of the effort you've invested in clearing a very hard examination, by continuing to work hard for a few more years before relaxing.


My father always told me, in 11th grade, "Son, you'll need to work really hard for at least 5 years. But, if you do, I know you'll be able to enjoy for the next 50."
Well, I've worked really hard for 7 years. And I've been enjoying for the past 7 years, so he was mostly right, wasn't he?
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