Zero to one and beyond

9 min read  •  20 Nov 2022

This blog post is about a kid, who was fascinated by MS Paint, Pinball, Minesweeper, and Solitare in his early childhood days, he thought that clicking refresh multiple times will make his computer faster or having too many folders on his desktop will make his computer slow. His first interaction with the internet made him have thousands of questions and a lot of curiosity. The Internet was a lot slow (bsnl 2g dial-up connection) but this guy could wait endlessly. Often the page doesn't load or has so many issues (possibly because IE) but he just tries again and again until it opens. Those thousands of questions increased to millions (just a little exaggerated) when he stumbled upon these things. And did I tell you that all these things, he was trying on an old CRT-based computer with 512MB RAM and 40gigs of hard drive, which was running Microsoft Windows 98 at that time and it used to shut down automatically multiple times in between. And in addition to this power cuts also does the same since he didn't have an UMPS at that time.

Sounds interesting? Well, of course that kid is me and it's just the beginning.

First interaction with the Internet

This was a long back, enough that I don't remember exactly when was it. But what I do remember is that we had got this old, used computer from a relative. I used to open it just after I wakeup: go around different things inside - Start > All programs (remember that?) and play games and whatnot. Then I had to go to school and coming back I repeat the same stuff. I used to repeat this routine. After some time my dad got the first multimedia phone in my family - Micromax X360 which had Internet browsing capability.


To be honest, at that time I knew that there was something called internet but was not much interested in it since didn't understood what it is. One day we had a techy folk at our home, who told us that we can use that multimedia device to share the internet from mobile to the computer via usb cable. We just need to have the data pack. I was excited, more because I wanted to see what does the Internet Explorer do, because previously it just don't do anything at all. After sometime we got a internet pack in our BSNL's 2g sim and we called the same person to help us in connecting it to the computer. I do not remember how he did that but I know that there was a dial up connection created which I have to connect while keeping the usb connected. My first google search: I told him to search "games" on the Google, and after trying multiple times and waiting for several minutes I saw the results screen for the first time. I saw "Aladin" name there somewhere, which I surely remember till date. Because here's the most wonderful thing, till this point I was going through a set of things which were same and repetitive. These are the things which were shown as an option to me to interact with. But for the first time I gave some input and got some output information which I could relate to. That clicked me! And yeah those million questions came here.

Till this point, I was already amazed by the fact that I can search for anything that I want and Google will give me information about that. And, I used to get a fixed portion of time to browse the internet, since for the Internet connection I must have the mobile device.

Introduction to Programming

I got a new computer during my 10+2 years, and also Idea 3G NetSetter. At that time 3G internet plan's were alot expensive and I was not able to do extensive browsing from that. I used to connect to the internet, open the website I am looking for and quickly disconnect it else it would deduct my MBs left. Then I started using 2G internet mostly and if I have to watch any tutorial video I used to get 3G pack and download the video first and then watch so that I don't spend data on rewatching. I ended up having a collection of recharge scratch coupons.

idea-3g-netsetter recharge-coupon-collection

During this time, I came to know that these websites which I browse are owned by people like me and I can also build a website. At that time I used to be a gaming enthusiast and collecting games and playing them was my go to thing. I already had a collection of games (CDs/DVDs) which I bought from the local stores.


So I thought to make a website from where users can download those games. I wrote my first piece of code in HTML, building a game downloading website as my first project

"Writing code, building something, and sharing it with the world is a superpower", and I wanted to attain this superpower. Hence, my journey to learn programming started here.

During my 10+2 years, I started learning HTML, CSS and JS and build multiple small websites with it. I had HTML in my school textbook as a chapter, so that I would tell it as an excuse at home for using computer for hours. But there was something which I was not able to figure out at that time, that - how would I deploy my code to some domain? So, I have gone with solutions like blogspot and wordpress where I can add my content, apply different themes, templates (also can edit them), and can deploy to my domain with no much trouble.

The "engineering" phase

With all my love for the technology and programming, I decided to opt for engineering in computer science. But considering my family financial conditions, we were not ready for that. There was a point when I was about to forced push into other different course but I made a clear decision that if I had to go for secondary education, it must be in sync with my interests otherwise I don't want to go for secondary education at all.

Somehow, I was able to get into a local private college - BBD: NITM, and started my engineering journey there. The first year was a nightmare for me, I used to wake up at 7am to get bus to college and reach home by 7.30pm in the evening, and inbetween there's no statisfaction of learning something which I wanted to learn. I was also not able to much give time to self learning.


I was in the hopes that I will learn the real-world programming skills in my college. In second year, had python programming as a subject. But to be honest, the learning there was totally not worth it. By the end of second year, I understood that this is not something I wanted, and it won't help me in any way. During the first two years, I was exploring some things side by side but I was not doing much programming as such. I also tried android app development at that time.

By that time, I decided to learn mobile app development and came across React Native. And, that's Javascipt which I have already used in web development couple of years back. I searched more about JS, and came to know it could be used for almost anything and everything I would be interested in learning and developing. Now I had a clear aim, I wanted to learn JS, and React Native well that I could make some apps and publish them.

Starting late second year, I used to not go for college (be at home), or skip/bunk classes when I go and give most of my time in learning these skills. The third year, covid hit and we all went into virtual mode, helped me alot in my learning route.

The placements time

During the oncampus placements, I gave interviews for many of those companies, luckily I didn't got selected in any of these. I applied offcampus got different opportunities and opted for internship at Vogo as an Mobile App Developer (React/React Native)


First job and work life

First things are always special, whether it be first job, your first commit, first feature into production or first salary. I experienced all these things at Vogo. I got the best team there, everyone was very helpful and kind. I worked as an intern for 6 months, and at the same time I also completed my college. Then, I got promoted into fulltime Software Engineer position and wrote alot of code.

akul-with-vogo-ebike akul-with-folks-at-vogo

I worked there on different project including their react webapp, react native mobile app, website, careers website etc. Other than the office work I was also learning different other things at that time. I also contributed to some opensource projects then.

Job change

While I was in college, I started doing investing with my pocket money. After my first job, I had decent money to start investing in different asset classes. I invested in mutual funds, stocks, us stocks, crypto etc. I started developing interest in this, and I wanted to work for a fintech company. I found out one opportunity at Smallcase, and thought it's right time to give it a shot. I shared my resume with the Talent Aquisition team on LinkedIn and got a callback, and had my interviews scheduled. There were three rounds of interviews, two technical and one cultural fit round. I cleared all the rounds and got the opportunity.



Throughout my journey I have find out that learning skills and upskilling yourself gives the highest ROI (returns on investment). And I will be doing the same (as I've done in past), I will be investing my time in learning and upskilling more and more. I can call myself a software engineer now but I would always be a student of the software engineering discipline.