Akshay Kulkarni: From edX Courses to a Job at Microsoft


Akshay Kulkarni age 22, a software engineer at Microsoft India, shared his inspiring story about how edX courses not only helped him rediscover his passion for programming, but also lead him to a job at Microsoft.

My performance in high school and in the entrance exams to premier institutions was poor. As a result, I couldn’t get into any top tier colleges. Fortunately, I gained admission into the Computer Science program at a local engineering college. However, I found the classes uninteresting and didn’t learn anything substantially. I was really confused and began considering other career options.

In 2012 when edx launched, I wanted to give it a shot and I took Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python by MIT. This course turned my life around. I realized that not only was I good at programming, but also that I actually loved it.  After this I went on to take Introduction to Computer Science  offered by Harvard University, Data Science for Genomics from Harvard. I also took on Engineering Software as a Service from UC Berkeley and was a community TA for these courses during the next term.

All of these courses played a huge part in my getting a job at Microsoft, but the SaaS courses from UC Berkeley was the most crucial one. With Microsoft’s shifting strategy towards cloud, most of the interview questions were around cloud computing and how much we understood it. When asked if I knew about cloud computing I told them about the courses I had taken and that I was also a TA in the edX course. They were highly impressed with this. They were so impressed that while other candidates got grilled for hours with technical questions, my interviews were short and mostly HR based because of all the courses I took at edX.

One of the interviewers actually told me,Your credentials show you are good at technical stuff so we won’t waste time by quizzing you on that.’

The edX courses that I have taken are helping me at work today as well and I still continue to take courses on edx.

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