Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Job Fair

So, I went to a Job Fair at my school. I was hoping to talk to DirectTV to try to get a summer internship like the one V got. I got my resume ready and all dressed up and it was awful. I didn't see anybody I knew. I had no idea what to do or what to say. Everybody was super confident and I couldn't even convince myself that I would be of any use to a company. I started getting clammy and shaky. I left after 20 minutes and it was the longest 20 minutes in my life. As soon as I left the building I felt really useless and started crying. Then I talked to JT, Vova, Bees and my parents (in that order) and felt a little better.

At least my suit still fit. Funny, that was the only thing I was worried about after my CS midterm that day. I thought I had gotten fatter since I got it a year ago. Nope. Fits just the same it did last year. V said it looked "pimpin'". I agree.
Suit: Banana Republic
Shirt: J.Crew

1 comment :

  1. I see a lot of valuable traits that deserve a lot more credit than you're giving yourself. Even with the little that I know about you from your blogging and videos, I can see that you're already far ahead of a large majority of the new CS graduates that I've interviewed and worked with over the years.

    I mean that across many different dimensions; academics, determination to take on difficult tasks (technical or otherwise), clarity of writing, independent thinking, curiosity about new things, courage to stand up for what you believe in, balance of life outside of work/study and lots more. You need to find ways to make prospective employers aware of those strengths and how they can be of value to them.

    Think about the last 10 years in your life. Could you have ever dreamed of how those would play out for you? While it's true you and V have had some very lucky breaks, an enormous part of the success that you and V have had has been from old fashioned hard work and the courage to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I really admire that about you, especially in a world where everyone seems to want immediate gratification.

    Those are tremendously valuable attributes in a company of any size. I would much rather hire someone with those traits and perhaps a few gaps in her experience than someone with a Ph.D and lesser motivation. Almost without exception, I've seen that the tradeoff is far better in the long run for the employer, even if the payback isn't instantaneous. It's also a heck of a lot more fun to mentor the people who are really trying to work hard, play hard and grow.

    As for where to work, I would encourage you to consider smaller companies than DirectTV. Doing so could give you a lot more exposure to the big picture view of how the business world works - everything from venture capital to marketing, manufacturing, engineering, finance and customer relations. That's very valuable even if you have no desire to directly focus in those areas. I can think of so many people I worked with - even seasoned veterans - who were great programmers but absolutely clueless about the real-world consequences of their design decisions or how the rest of the company beyond their immediate team worked. You're a lot more valuable to a company when you see the big picture and adjust your actions accordingly. Even a short time working in a smaller company can be very enlightening and will teach you things that will be useful in any future job.

    As for internships in general, I heartily endorse those, even if they delay your graduation. I worked as an intern for two
    8-month periods and found that gave me a much better appreciation for the academic things when I returned to classes. Even in my first period as an intern, I got to design and develop a heavily-used program that shipped to customers. During my second period I got to rewrite the page fault handler for an OS kernel in assembly language, help with new CPUs being debugged from the prototype level, and lots more that was very relevant to my classwork. I hope you will be as lucky in finding a good internship.

    Beware of companies that promise you a great internship then change your job assignment to something mindless on day 1.

    Needless to say, an internship has other great benefits when it comes time to look for a job after graduation. Several offers came to me without even trying. In today's job market that's even more valuable.

    I get the impression that you have interests in both hardware and software. Something you might consider is that there are plenty of good hardware engineers and plenty of good software engineers, but not nearly as many who can credibly walk the line between the two. Being able to look at a problem from both the hardware and software sides is a real asset to many companies.

    Re internships, if you'll mention your preferences re type of work and location, I'll gladly keep an eye out for promising leads. Good luck!

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