This summer has turned out to be far more productive than I expected. I have had the chances to meet and talk with many professionals in my fields of study and learn about what it takes to get my foot into the door. Studying Computer Science and Communication in college, I discovered that there is a position in the tech world that marries both of my qualifications: Product Manager. A product manager is responsible for making sure that a team ships a great product and gets to sit at the intersection of technology, business, and design. It is also a highly collaborative role as the product manager serves as the main liaison between the engineers and other roles (quality assurance, user research, customer support, biz dev etc.). For me, the combination of technical abilities (product-focused) and management/communication skills (business/customer-focused) sounds very appealing.
A substantial learning aspect for any software engineers, in addition to the academia of computer science, is a topic called discrete mathematics. It is a branch of math that focuses on studying mathematical structures that are discrete (distinct and separate) in nature rather than continuous in nature (calculus, trigonometry). It is also an abstract form where conclusions are based on logical deductions using set theory and other simple theorems. Last spring, I took “Proof Techniques” as part of my CS major. The class is an introduction to proof writing techniques, covering multiple topics such as logic and proofs, set theory, mathematical induction, relations, modular arithmetic, functions, cardinality, number theory, and calculus.
Over the past one year and a half, I have been working as a Fundraising Assistant in the Annual Fund office at Denison. My responsibility is to call the alumni/ae to ask for their gifts for the Annual Fund. Now the job is tough, as I’ve met with so many rejections since the beginning; however, it actually has trained me for an incredibly important skills: sales. As a huge advocate of entrepreneurship, I came to realize that a world of entrepreneurs is a world of salespeople: the exchange of ideas, products, skill sets, or service. In addition to that, the liberal arts education at Denison provides me skills that stretch across functional boundaries – something called “elasticity.” In a world of competitive job search, every employer looks for potential employees with high elasticity, and sales skill is definitely a belonging element. Ultimately, college graduates need to sell themselves to the recruiters, right?
Inspired by James Clear’s annual review post, I decided to create a version of my own, including the things that worked, the things that could be improved, and the things I need to focus on for the year of 2015. Borrowing the format from James, here are the 3 questions I am attempting to answer:
1 – What went well this year?
2 – What didn’t go so well this year?
3 – What am I working toward?
For each question, I will provide areas that are important in my life and tailor them for specificity and number crunching. Let’s get to it!
This past weekend, I was having coffee with a friend in dowtown Chicago, and was just talking with him about my deep interest for entrepreneurship which has grown over the past summer. He asked me to define what entrepreneurship is and what it really means to me. After pondering for a while, I replied that, in my opinion, entrepreneurship is all about solving problems – from a minicule level to global / multinational issues that currently exist in the world. Although for most of you, that sounds very cliché, but I want to stress that an entrepreneur solves a problem logically, from a rational perspective and in the most creative way as possible.
This semester, I am taking CS 110 – Computing Through Digital Media, one of the three intro classes for Computer Science majors in Denison, with Dr. Ashwin Lall. The class is fun and I have learnt a lot about programming in Python, which is super helpful for a complete novice like me. Nonetheless, what I am getting more out of the class is the concept of designing algorithms to solve problems. The process of actually coming up with the algorithm is way more important than the result you get.
Following the momentum from Friday, I came in the next and final day of the conference with high energy after a refreshing night of hotubs and socializing with peers from other colleges across the US. Below are some quick encapsulation of the 3 speakers I visited for my breakout sessions:
Lucky enough to have the opportunity the attend CEO National 2014, I am able to sit in sessions and listen to multiple renowned entrepreneurs and inspirational speakers over this weekend. The first day was packed with breakout sessions and networking opportunities; and here are some of my takeaways from the speakers during the first day: