Hi everyone! My name is Lulu and I am a visiting student from the Abu Dhabi campus. I am a junior studying Social Research and Public Policy minoring in Theater, Social Entrepreneurship (NYU Stern and NYU Wagner), and Interactive Media. As a visiting student in New York for one semester, I’m always excited to attend NYU hosted events, because I believe that I can learn something new every time.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Software Engineering Career Panel hosted by the Wasserman Center at the Tandon MakerSpace. The panel consisted of NYU Alumni: Cesar Murillas from Major League Baseball, Whitney Mulhern of IBM, Sumit Pal of Vettery, Artem Durskyy of Flatiron health, and Suyasha Srestha of Alphasights. The event was open to everyone regardless of their major. As a non-Computer Science major, I was very nervous! What if I wouldn’t be able to understand the technical terms? However, it turned out that I wasn’t the only one with a different academic background. By the end of the panel, I learned many new things that could be applied to my field. Here are some things that I learned from these wonderful speakers:
1. Certain NYU classes prepare you for the real world.
According to a speaker, Data Structures & Algorithms is very useful. Most job interviews in the software engineering field are structured around the concepts taught in this class. Otherwise, you would have to indulge in hours of self- learning. Another speaker brought up how any class with Professor John Sterling is a must-take.
2. Coding is more about logic than it is about the language.
A speaker recalled how she was always working with small pieces of code during her undergraduate years. At work, however, she instead learned that coding is about taking pieces of different frameworks of the software. It’s about finding ways to make different elements work. You don’t need to know a language super well to work. Coding is about analyzing, and fixing things here and there. It has more to do with logic than the language.
3. Communication is important.
All speakers agreed that if there was one thing from their job that surprised them, it was the importance of communication. At work, it is important to learn how to work together with someone, build something together, and to communicate effectively with people on technical and personal levels.4. Growth is essential.
When you feel like you ‘hit a ceiling with learning’- as a speaker put it – then it’s time to find something more fulfilling. Companies like Vettery, for example, allow room and opportunities for growth, through exchanging ideas at various events and through mentorship that is specifically designed to create a support network for employees.
5. It might take time to figure things out and that’s okay.
One speaker brought up how he knew that he was going to commit to Computer Science right from the beginning of college. Another speaker told us the story of how he started as a Computer Engineering major, talked to his academic advisor about the possibility of switching to Computer Science, and went to the Wasserman Center for mock job interviews. He ended up getting a full-time job far before the day of graduation, because his supervisors at his internship liked him so much.
Other speakers shared about their experiences trying different internships until they found the culture and structure that was the right fit. They recognized that everyone works at a different pace in different paths and it’s okay to explore our options. In the end, things will eventually work out, as long as we put our best effort, utilize the available resources and reach out to the right people.
The networking session at the end of the event provided the opportunity for students and employers to connect around shared values and experiences. The common thread amongst all of the students that I spoke to was that they felt the event did a great job at providing them with a holistic approach to building a career in software engineering. Insights from different perspectives with people working in different environments was specifically useful. I’m very glad I attended this event- I left the room feeling like I learned something new.