CQ_Core_Combat | Priyanshu Gautam | Qualcomm & APT Portfolio

Communiqué IIT KGP
9 min readMay 12, 2024

Interviewer: Hi Priyanshu, this is Aditya from Communiqué. First of all, my heartiest congratulations to you for bagging an internship at Qualcomm. May I have a short interview with you?

Priyanshu: Hello Aditya, yeah sure!

Interviewer: So Priyanshu, how and when did you decide that you wanted to get into the core profile?

Priyanshu: So the core profile was naturally my first choice because I liked the subjects of my department. Moreover, I had a decent enough CGPA at the end of my second year. So I thought that core would be a good profile. I then managed to maintain my CGPA over to the third year, and then I prepared for the core profile.

Interviewer: Moving on to the next question, what was the general selection process for the companies that you had given interviews for?

Priyanshu: Okay, so the general selection process of pretty much every hardware company is the same. There is a test and then followed by a shortlist process that has a weightage of both your CV and test. And then there is an interview round. The interview could span across multiple rounds or could be a one-round affair. So in my case, the interview was of two rounds in both cases.

Interviewer: Now moving on to the next and the most common question for anyone sitting for the core profile. Is it true that a high CGPA is required to pursue interests in the core field?

Priyanshu: I would say that you should have a decent enough CGPA. A mark of above 8.2, and 8.3 would be good. That would actually be able to let you sit in some interviews. If you talk about companies in hardware like APT, then Google, both of those come either on day 1 or day 2. And then the rest are NVIDIA, Texas, Samsung, and Qualcomm. All of those companies except the first two companies, require a good CGPA close to 9 or a pretty good CV if you do not have a CGPA. And then the rest of the companies demand a decent CGPA like 8.3, or 8.4. So it’s pretty good to have a good CGPA.

Interviewer: Okay, for example, if anyone has a CGPA of around 8.5. And he/she is confused between SDE and core. So what would you suggest to him or her?

Priyanshu: I would say that SDE and core are two very different profiles. If somebody is interested in both SDE and core, then him/her just have to choose one based on what he is interested in more. I cannot answer the question exactly for him. But he will just have to choose one and move forward with it. I would say that he can choose software for his internship, and then carry forward in his 3rd and 4th years exploring core more. Because even if he is a B.Tech or dual degree student, he will have time to switch on to core in terms of let’s say research work in BTP, MTP or even in placement if he wants to switch profiles. So he can give the software a try for their internships. And then go to the core if he feels like it.

Interviewer: Okay, that was quite an insightful answer. Moving on to the next question. What were the resources that you used during your preparation? And how did they help you?

Priyanshu: The resources for core are pretty much integrated well. I used the notes that we had for all the subjects that we were taught. Mainly in CDC internships, they revolve around either analog or digital, both of those notes were there as we had both of those courses during the online semester. I used class notes for those two subjects. Apart from that, there is also a signal processing profile in TI, for that, I referred to the notes of digital signal processing and signal systems. Your class notes would be enough for any of the interviews or the tests that would come up. Apart from that, there is always a portion of general aptitude. And I’ve seen people tend to miss or take it easy when it comes to general aptitude. But I’d say that if you want to score really well in the test or be on the edge and not falter in anything, you should also give sufficient time to general aptitude. So for questions in general aptitude, I used sites like GFG. It has a pretty good set of questions. And then even Indiabix has good questions when it comes to general aptitude. Apart from that, for interviews specifically. There are puzzles from GFG that are very universal. So all of the interviewers and interviews have a common consensus that for the puzzle, any interviewer will ask. For any decent or common company would be some GFG. I would really recommend all the people studying for CDC to do GFG puzzles. And apart from that, our department also publishes blogs. That’s a blog series for core internships and placements. So in one of the blogs, one of our seniors gave us a link that had all the preparation materials regarding placements. That was pretty intensive. I do not think apart from these resources, you need anything else, not just for internships but for placements as well.

Interviewer: Can you list some of the questions that were asked to you during your interview?

Priyanshu: Okay so in my interview, they asked me a variety of questions. I had two interviews, one was for APT and the second was for Qualcomm. In the APT hardware, there were two rounds of interviews. In the first round, there were two parts to the interview. The first part was digital and the second part was Python. In digital electronics, they started from FIFO depth, then they moved on to static timing analysis. Then they talked about state diagrams and Moore and Mealy models. Then they followed it up with some Verilog codes. They gave us Verilog codes and asked what it would do and what it was trying to achieve. Then they moved on to Python. In Python, they asked pretty basic questions. Because after all, it’s for a hardware profile. And apart from that, not in my interview but in my senior’s interview, they asked some questions related to OS as well regarding threads and processes. So OS and stuff is something like even if you don’t know, they won’t charge you on that. But yeah, basic Python questions would be good if you are trying to get an intern at APT. So like in that case, even if you are studying Python, I’d strongly suggest you study classes in Python, and then move on to the implementation of OOPS in Python. Both of these are thoroughly covered in interviews and even in the test of APT hardware. So APT hardware’s general approach to interview and test is pretty tangential when it comes to other companies for hardware profiles. Because they have really strong weightage of coding and software kind of stuff. If you are not preparing for APT, you do not need software after your first year level. If you have first-year PDS stuff, then I’d say you could revise that. There are some basic C questions in let’s say every interview. Because even hardware profiles require some level of proficiency in C programming. And for Qualcomm, it was mostly computer architecture-based. Qualcomm came in for the second time in April. They asked me about computer architecture. Now Qualcomm, when it came out for the first time did not ask for computer architecture. And usually, companies that hire interns, they do not go into computer architecture that much. But my CV was based on computer architecture, so I think that was the reason. In computer architecture, they asked me some basic things like CPU pipelining, the five stages of CPU pipelining and pipeline hazards. Then some CV-related questions followed by some puzzles from GFG again and general coding and aptitude questions.

Interviewer: Priyanshu, you mentioned you had two interviews, of which the offer letter of the APT portfolio was revoked. So how did you face that situation? And how did you switch to Qualcomm?

Priyanshu: Okay, so I would say that, during these times of recession, offers being revoked has become a common thing. It was pretty disheartening because it shouldn’t be the case and even more when it comes to day-one companies. I would say that if you are not able to land a CDC intern, your first approach should be to apply to fellowship programs that come in. There are a lot of fellowship programs like DAAD, DAAD is for German universities, and then there is MITACS, which is the more mainstream one. Apart from those two, there is EPFL, which is for intern research fellowships in Switzerland. Apart from these three, there are research programs run by Indian institutes. So those are also good if you can land to professors that do really good work. Apart from that, I also looked at all these things, but in my case, the timing of the rescinding of the offer was pretty terrible as most of the research fellowship programs were done by February. I had pretty limited options. In my case, the CDC helped me a lot because they asked me for companies that had come during that time and then they moved forward and approached the companies that, if they could have any vacancies and can come back to campus for a hiring spree. That really helped because Qualcomm came in. I think even AMD came in. And then the process was pretty usual. Once Qualcomm came in then they hired from interviews directly. And I was hired for the interviews. And I was selected. Rescinding an offer is a pretty terrible thing. I do not really wish that somebody goes through it. But that is what you pretty much need to do if you face it in the future in the hardware profile.

Interviewer: Okay, it was quite inspiring. Now moving on to the next question. What were your involvements in KGP? And how did they help you?

Priyanshu: So my involvements in KGP apart from academics were mostly in Communiqué and Inter-IIT. I was a governor in my third year at Communiqué. Apart from that, I was involved in Inter-IIT, GC, and other stuff. But in hardware, those hardly come into play, because the hardware is mostly whatever you have studied and whatever is in your coursework that is being asked, both in tests and interviews. So in the hardware profile, you do not really need any other commitments or involvements apart from your technical knowledge.

Interviewer: Moving on to the last question, what advice would you like to give to your juniors sitting for internships this year?

Priyanshu: Some things I would like to point out here is that first of all decide your profile early and stick to your decision, and move forward regarding it. Do not keep your legs in both boats. And then give your heart and soul to prepare for it like you did for JEE. Most of the people what they do is after like two to three years in KGP, they really can’t get back to preparing for internship in such a serious manner, this is why they falter at getting internships in some cases. Then the other thing I would say is, if you have tried enough at the CDC and you did not get an internship, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Recently I was reading this blog from one of my seniors. He was an IIT KGP alumni about 10 years ago. One really important thing that he mentioned was that people here overhype interns and placements. He talked specifically about placements, but I think interns are even less hyped than placements. He was saying that even if you do not land a placement at KGP, it’s completely fine. If you have the right set of skills, you know how to get work done and you have a good work ethic then you will do something good in life. That’s way more important than that. Let’s say landing a day-one job, most of the people who land day-one, day-two job end up leaving that in a year or two pursuing what they really are interested in. In our case also the internship ratio was I think, less than 50%. So whoever will be registering for CDC, half of them won’t be getting internships. That is something which depends on the market situation and all, so due to that it’s not something to feel disheartened about. But yeah, keep working hard and you’ll eventually get something in life, that you deserve.

Interviewer: Okay, so Priyanshu. This concludes our session. It was quite an insightful session. Thank you for all your valuable insights.

Priyanshu: Okay, thanks, Aditya.

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