Pankaj Tanwar
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My journey - from python scripts to 20+ freelance full stack projects.

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Back in March 2017, I was about to complete one year of my Bachelor degree in Computer Science at NIT Jaipur. I had no prior experience of coding, no clue what I was going to do. Next year, I had python programming language in curriculum. I was amazed to know the power of python so I started exploring more about it.

Phase 1 - Python Scripts

I started learning python. After practising some basic programming problems, I decided to do something interesting. I looked around and tried to find some small problems which I could solve using python. One day, I had to submit some scholarship form. For that, I needed to scan my documents via a third party app and convert them to PDF to upload it to the portal so I thought of writing a python script for the same. Being curious I searched how to do it and landed on using an amazing library available called "Pillow".

And my first script was ready! It would take path of document images and create merged PDFs as per my requirements. After that, I kept on writing scripts such as Voice based Python Virtual Assistant, Duplicate file finder, YouTube songs down loader, Command line calculator, Attendance Manager for our VS club at MNIT Jaipur, Snake game and many more.

Phase 2 - Winter Internship

In Nov 2017, I joined a startup as a web developer intern. That was one of my best decision. I had never worked on web dev so I was pretty excited about it. I got a chance to work closely with the co-founder and learnt a lot. This was the turning point, It got me into the world of web development and encouraged me to explore more. I started exploring Node, Angular, Mongo and came across the amazing YouTube channel of David Acosta.

Phase 3 - My First Live Project

In Jan 2018, our club was planning our annual socio-cultural sports fest and my friend suggested the idea of developing a website for registrations and event details. We had very less time for the fest. But we were finally able to launch it. It was a great feeling for both of us to see our project live. During college, we won two hackathons too.

Phase 4 - Freelancing Projects

After a few months, I got contacted by a startup founder to help him with a project. It was an online platform for students to sell their projects, research papers etc. I built the whole project from scratch in 2 days in the excitement of my first salary as a freelancer. He was really impressed with my work and referred me to his clients. I was getting enough projects but it was hectic. So many sleep less nights, multiple projects at once, strict deadlines but I decided to continue anyhow. I remember, spending 1 whole day in our college computer centre, continuously coding for 18 hours straight.

Deciding on a pricing was a bit tricky part. I had to balance affordability with perceived value. If the price was too high I wouldn’t have any clients and if it was too low I’d perceived as “cheap” which would be a bad start in terms of reputation.

Some of those projects were employee acceleration software, HR management web application, company website,sports event website, Professor-Student point sharing platform (My first international project), Disease prediction web app, quiz application, interactive command line resume npm package etc.

Along with my freelancing projects, I was working on my personal projects as well. I built Polymath, a cloud based question answer platform specific for our college with extra features such as share Interview experiences with juniors, live chat room, get summarized coding performance at one place from all coding platforms such codechef, hackerrank, hackerearth, github and unique guide to placements as according to level of coding performance. 

After that, I with my friend, worked on so many freelancing projects. One of the major project was MeriScholarship . It was an cloud based e learning platform for students with extra features such live classes, online quiz with detailed personalized analysis,admin dashboard, school management, sales management any many more. Currently it has around 20k+ active users. This project was never so easy. We used to go to the client's office everyday, right after college. Within 1 month, we took our beta version live.

In final year of my college, as our final year project, we wanted to build something, which people can take advantage of. We built an online blood donation portal with online one-to-one consultation from MNIT dispensary doctors at one click, sitting in our hostels.

I was the student placement coordinator for 2020 batch. For placements, we were using traditional old google form method to collect data for companies coming to our campus for recruitment. It was really hectic for students to fill all his details again and again for each company and as a placement coordinator, it was very difficult for us to manage so much of data.

All my batch mates were preparing for their placements which were on heads but I spent my summer to solve this problem, building a web application from scratch using MEAN Stack to enhance the campus recruitment process with features such as one click apply, one click export data, personalized notifications, company schedule, online attendance , share interview experience, hall of fame etc. It resulted in approx 70% decrease in human efforts by MNIT Placement Cell & students. I deployed overall service to MNIT Cloud, focusing on high availability, fault tolerance and auto scaling. Currently it's our official placement portal for MNIT Jaipur, we have around 10k+ users. I am really proud to see my code making impact in peoples lives.

Fast forward, recently I completed a few freelance projects such as interactive real time team collaboration whiteboard, covid vaccination web application, travel app similar to MakeMyTrip, products category management in an e-commerce software, payment gateway integration etc.

Freelancing is about leaving your comfort zone and pushing yourself everyday to a better version of yourself,.

It´s a jump into the uncertain. It's an exciting roller coaster ride. When I look back at those sleepless nights, I really feel if I would not have pushed my self, I would never be able to come out of my comfort zone.

Today, I am fortunate enough to have around 20+ full stack projects in my portfolio. Still, there is a long way to go, so many targets to achieve and a lot more to learn.