Saturday, October 15, 2011

Best of r/AskComputerScience : If you could tell a computer science graduate fresh out of college one piece of advice, what would it be?

Go through some of the comments here such as this one by Randolpho
This assumes the hypothetical compsci major will enter into a software developer career, rather than a true computer science field:
You don't need to worry about the speed of your software. Seriously, the chances that you will be in a job where execution speed is important is maybe one in 1500. No, listen to me. It's not important. No, not then either.
Skip performance and write code that's readable and maintainable. As you grow as a developer, you will learn and follow design patterns that are both performant and maintainable. But your chief focus should be maintainability.
and this one by untaken-username 
My piece of advice is this:
You are alive in a unique period of time and have unbridled opportunity. Please don't let it go.
In the past, starting a business was hard. You needed capital, salesmanship, and you needed to take a big gamble. This is no longer the case - the Internet allows a single person to throw out a business idea for very little money. It may turn into nothing, that is not unlikely. But it may just as well turn into a nice side income. It may turn into a full time job. And if you are very fortunate, it may turn into a windfall.
Money aside, this approach opens the door for you to work on SHIT YOU ARE PASSIONATE about and ENJOY. What are your hobbies? Your interests? What do you enjoy doing? You can start a website, or build a web app, or build a product, or do SOMETHING, and put it out there on the Internet. You can share your passion with countless others. This is amazing and should not be overlooked.
I graduated with a CS degree about 10 years ago. I've not worked a day in a 9-5 job and I've been doing stuff I enjoy since day 1. I'm not saying that there aren't bad days or that I love every job, but what I'm saying is this: if I had to get a job outside of this field and couldn't be remunerated for doing what I enjoy, I'd still come home at night and do mostly the same shit for free.
What did I do? There was a particular technology I picked up in college and enjoyed, so I mastered it. I got balls deep into the technology I enjoyed and started writing about it online, became an expert. (This was before blogs and twitter and all that modern stuff you guys have today, so it's EASIER now... I had to build a website and shit.) Got into training, speaking, book writing, etc. Wrote software using said technology, some which fizzled, some which sold, some which I sold off to other companies.
There are some in my field that are stinking rich. Some that have day jobs and do this on the side. I am lucky to do it full time, I'm not a baron or in the "1%", but I make more than enough to do it full time and am firmly entrenched in the middle-upper-middle class as a result. And what's more important is that I enjoy it. Like I said, I honestly would be doing this shit for free. I love writing and talking to people and writing code, I consider myself so lucky that I get paid to do it.
So that's my advice. Find something you enjoy and would do for free, and do it on the Internet. It doesn't have to be CS-related (although that certainly seems to make the most sense). Could be about some TV show you like or some ancient Japanese arts and crafts thing you are passionate about. Whatever. Just find that shit and do it online. You'll attract a crowd. You'll become an authority. It likely won't lead to riches, but it very well may lead to some nice spending money or a full-time salary. But even if it leads to nothing, it was not time wasted - it was (virtually) free. It was something you enjoyed. You learned, you connected with others who enjoy the same thing. This is what is so amazing about our time and place.
Reddit can be worth your time.  

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