A great couple of weeks just passed by and here is my experience and what I gained from it.
I never really understood the real meaning of networking before the past couple of weeks but now, I have a better clue about what it is and how one approaches it. I was fortunate enough to attend two great networking events that took place last weekend and the amount of knowledge I took from each one, was massive. Not only was I able to listen to two CEOs from Forbes 30 under 30 but I also had a great conversation with Mr. Shawn Sullivan, co-founder, and CTO of Phase Genomics, for more than 30 minutes. The phrase sounds cliched now but truly, the experience is the greatest teacher and hearing from the experience of some great professionals is a great lead for every student about how to approach college. What I took away from my conversation with Mr. Sullivan was how should I have strong fundamentals if I want to be involved in Data Science and what all technologies from the wide array I can choose to start off with. Also, I learned about all the different ways to approach problems when you are the one managing a group of great technical experts in a constructive manner.
Another major task I have been involved with lately has been organizing Defhacks, Seattle. Defhacks is a student-run non-profit that organizes hackathons across the US and also outside the US. On March 24-25, we are organizing the second annual Defhacks Seattle at Microsoft’s HQ. It has been a great experience till now of getting the venue, attendees, mentors, sponsors, and caterers. I look forward to getting more people involved with the event, at both high school and college level in addition to getting more passionate mentors who are looking out to help the students. This event too has taught me how important it is to have a good network, something that I able to achieve too through this event. The only part that I feel sad about is that a couple of days back I got an idea related to Blockchain that I would have loved to work on at Defhacks but being an organizer I would not have that opportunity. Anyways, I look forward to working on the same during the spring break and get to know more about a topic that has been envisioned to revolutionize numerous fields.
To wrap it up, here are the few reads I recommend: Michelle Obama portrait puts black Baltimore artist in the spotlight, A New Leg for Joan, This Route Doesn’t Exist on the Map, and These psychedelic stickers blow AI minds.
A happy long weekend to everyone! The past three weeks have been some of the toughest I have had in the time I can remember but I am happy that coming out of it, I have gained many things.
First and foremost, I have got admitted to Paul G Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering after months and months of hard work. I feel very happy and proud of this face and so do my parents, who have been a driving force for me. I eagerly look forward to the multitude of opportunities that I will encounter as a part of one of the best Computer Science programs in the World. More than the final result, it is the journey that pleases me more. Many times the mountain seemed too hard to climb but after having many slip-ups initially, I started focusing on each step and thinking how I can make each step stronger rather than getting overwhelmed by the bigger goal at the end. It is good that I have this long weekend to shrug off all the tiredness of the past few weeks and go in again for the long stretch that would finish mid-March.
In addition, the Amazon mentorship program that I have been a part of has been amazing. I have had the privilege of meeting several employees at Amazon through my mentor and each of whom has shared their stories and experiences. It is inspiring to listen to listen to their experiences and how they managed to get to where they are today. One advice that was given to me and that resonated a lot was that I should stay with Art and should never leave it; it is a part of my identity and I should learn to weave it with my education and career as and when I can.
I look forward to my first interaction with ML in a classroom setting during next quarter and also to a class based on Database Systems. Hope I can learn a lot from both of them and take them along with me to future endeavors. Something that I have learned from this experience of getting into CSE is that grit separates impossible things from those that we make possible. I hope to follow this in all the tasks I overtake.
(Suggested reads: Searching for an Alzheimer's cure while my father slips away and Google Arts and Culture App, and the Rise of Coded Gaze)
The winter quarter has been very hectic but I am liking it due to the different interesting course material I am encountering this quarter which mainly consists of operations in MATLAB, Statistical Programming in R, and probability.
MATLAB is something new that I am learning and it looks to be the perfect system to do many mathematical based calculations like linear algebra, etc. Statistical programming in R is something new too. Although I have prior experience in R, it was based in data wrangling, visualization, and those sorts of areas but this time I am learning the statistical applications like histograms, distributions, etc. and what inference we can draw from them. And probability has been one of my favorite topics in Mathematics growing up, mainly because of its real-world applications and examples (the Monty Hall problem was good).
Two other important things happened this week. First, I was contacted by the Director of the Study Abroad program to be a panelist at the info session that was conducted this past Friday. Although the director did not know me, the previous director had recommended me as she was the one who arranged the program last summer and took the theatre class too in London. It was the first time I was a panelist and the major reason the event feels significant is not only because of the opportunity I got but knowing that the last director thought I was worthy enough of being given this recognition.
In the other event, I visited one of the buildings belonging to Amazon’s HQ in Seattle as a part of a mentorship program. I have been fortunate enough to have been assigned a mentor who is a Senior Software Developer and Tester at Amazon, and I along with 4 other students have the opportunity of going every Friday to the HQ and having discussions on various topics with him. It was my first time in a corporate office of this scale and it was a great experience. My most striking part was how welcoming all the colleagues of our mentor were when they interacted with us. I am very much looking forward to all the upcoming Fridays and learning new things about my mentor and the life at Amazon in general. Our mentor has been flexible and generous enough that he has already got a guest speaker for our second meeting and I look forward to that too.
Apart from that, have a couple of career fairs in the coming week and also, I got some major breakthroughs in getting Drupal-based website functional for the Near Eastern Language and Civilization department here at the university.
(A suggested article read: Pop culuture obsessed with battle of good and evil)
Very excited to share that I have registered my domain and now it feels much better to see only my entire name in the Address Bar and no more restrictions on space and no advertising. Taking into consideration the new flexibility, I am thinking of starting to share my photography collection on the site too. Although it mainly consists of pictures from my tour of the UK over last summer and some scattered ones of Seattle, I assume it would be worthwhile to share another art I admire.
I have also decided my next personal project that I would work on and it related to FIFA 18. I got the database for all the players from Kaggle and now I have all the information I would ever need to build a comprehensive system to learn more about player ratings and potential in FIFA. This comes out of a personal problem because I have gone to a thousand sites, trying to figure out who are the right players I should buy in FIFA 18 career mode. I believe that if I face this problem, there will be countless other people who would be facing the same problem and therefore I would love to tackle this problem through Python (although it would take much less time to do the same in R, I want to sharpen my skills in Python and this would be a great way forward).
Finally, I had a great meetup with a former TA who is now employed in Data Analytics division of a very well reputed consulting firm. I got to know much more about the real-world opportunities and applications of the topics that I am learning and have planned on learning for the upcoming year. It always serves well to keep in touch with professors and TAs because each one of them has a wonderful perspective to offer on a wide range of issues.
Hoping for a great year for everyone reading this!