Landing My Dream Job: My Professional Journey
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
I wanted an interesting come back to my blogging space. A lot of you reading this should by now have been subscribed. I am grateful to you all as it is you because of whom I am back here.
I wanted to apologize for my long absence. I assure you that you will hear from me regularly from now on.
Before going back to being all technical, I just wanted to talk a little about myself. Thus, this blog is entirely about my life history and the journey that has brought me to the place where I am right now. There is one other thing that has brought me to write this content. It is an announcement a.k.a a life update. I will make that announcement at the end of this. Please stay tuned for that!
Shrishti School, Vellore
I am Arthi, born in Chennai, India, and grew up in Vellore. I finished schooling at Shrishti School, which was a prestigious school in Vellore at that time (and difficult to get in). I was an average student. Never have I secured 1st rank in my entire life. But I knew with all my heart that I have a passion for learning. My Uncle who is now a Retired College Principal has always seen that thirst for knowledge in me. All my life subconsciously I knew that my core interests lay in the Life Sciences field. When I was in the 11th grade, like any other student who had opted for Biology-Maths major, I wanted to become a Doctor. I worked so hard. I have come to have known that I love Biology, the mysterious and amusing subject of the Sciences above all the other subjects. (Little that I had known back then that I had a secret crush on Mathematics too 😜)
But again like any other aspiring student from Tamilnadu, I did not have enough scores to have made it as a doctor. I was heartbroken. I had received a 94.66% in my 12th public, yet I was not satisfied.
Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering (SVCE)
Now, that I knew that I couldn't be a Doctor, left me thinking about what else would be the best for me. I introspected and researched a lot and one day I found a Gold Medal that I had won at the State level Eduheal National Biotechnology Olympiad in my Eighth Grade. I also remembered how enthralling it was to study Genes and how they could be edited/modified to cure diseases and how the majority of the genes have been left unstudied etc. Rediscovering my love for Biotechnology, I joined one of the best colleges offering B. Tech in Biotechnology (Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, SVCE). My 4 years at SVCE had taught me so many skills: technical and life. I enjoyed the practical learning at the high-facilitated laboratories with the help of highly skilled faculty. I did several innovative projects (I will explain them all in a later post) which increased my confidence and risk-taking capabilities. All these experiences motivated the inner me to be a part of an organization that works for the betterment of people's lives. I wanted to give back to the world by contributing toward saving people's lives. At the end of the final year, my life-altering event had taken place.
I had been offered the position of Graduate Trainee at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, (yes, the same company that had developed the Covishield Vaccine!). I was so happy and thrilled as being the only student from my class to be placed at such a prestigious, product-based core company. (Did I mention that I was not a high achieving gold-medalist in college?).
I joined AstraZeneca and the first 2 months were completely dedicated to my training. I was in a group of more than 100 other Graduate Trainees like me. For the next two months, I was trained in Python, C, C++, Java, SQL, and many other technical topics, which I did not understand even to the basics. I was anguished and scared. I already knew that I would not be working in a lab and developing medicines, but little did I know that I will be trained in all those IT jargons. I was disheartened worrying if I would fit in this role. The 2 months went by with me worrying about it the whole time.
On the last day of our training period, we were put into different teams across the company. I was placed at the R&D department just like I had been promised earlier. I met my manager and my team later that day.
Just like that, all the stress and worries that I had over the past 2 months vanished in a couple of days. My team (a total of 10) provided a warm welcome and made sure that I was comfortable and had all the required resources needed to ease into my new role. The Knowledge Transfer (KT) Sessions were so much in-depth that it all felt really simple. I worked at AstraZeneca for a period of 2 years. I was primarily supporting the SAS Software (Statistical Analysis Software) along with several other software used while developing a drug as well while testing the drug (with AstraZeneca being one of the world's leading Biopharmaceuticals). In the beginning, it all seemed like a typical IT role, where people maintain servers, apply security patches and address the users' issues. Almost a year into AstraZeneca, I came