Guest Speakers in Computer Science

I got an opportunity to participate in Guest Speakers in Computer Science program as a guest speaker.

The goal is to connect students via Skype with people working in tech to solve one of the biggest talent problems in the world today. By 2020, it is estimated that one million computer science jobs in America will go unfilled because there are not enough students graduating with the right skills.

Computer Science gap

What is amazing in Computer Science, in my opinion, is the opportunity to build things. It was about 10 years ago when I was in middle school, and I discovered that I can create a website that everybody in the World can see. Another great thing is the opportunity to solve other people’s problems.

I love my job, because it gives me different challenges every day. And it is not only about writing the code. Good Software Developer has to be also a good marketing person. He has to understand the market, and the customer needs. He has to know whether an application or feature he is working on is worth his effort, and whether this is what the customer needs.

Today, Computer Science is not a single person coding in the basement. Nowadays, it is all about the people, cooperation and team effort. I love it, because I think that a group of people can always achieve more than a single person.

Computer Science is hard. Sometimes you are spending hours debugging a nasty bug. You are getting more and more frustrated. But finally, once you solved the problem, you feel a lot of satisfaction. Especially because you did it! This is amazing in Computer Science. When you work hard, it always pays you back.

I wanted be a part of Guest Speakers in Computer Science program, because I wanted to share my experience. I know how much it means for a person who want to start a career, to hear from somebody who already did it. I have been there, and I know how much the people who I met helped me to drive my career. I wanted to pay it back somehow.

So far I gave 4 talks, and it was very fun! The most common question was: “Have you met Bill Gates?”. This is something I need to work on 🙂 There were also more practical questions like: “what programming languages should I learn?”, “how to prepare for College if I want to study Computer Science?”, or “how to choose the right things to do out of millions possibilities?”.

If you are IT professional I encourage you to join this program as well!

I am back!

Last two months were super busy for me. The end of semester (with compilers course‘s project), applying for a PhD studies, Christmas, New Year’s eve in Poland, and a job interview. I will tell you more about all of those things later in separated posts. Maybe not all, Christmas and New Year’s eve experience I will keep for myself 🙂

I am happy that all above is accomplished and I can get back to my routine (programming, blogging, reading books and learning new things).

It is worth to summarize the last year, which was quite successful:

  1. I started Master of Science in Computer Science program at the Kansas State University.
  2. I started this blog.
  3. I created twitter account and started using it.
  4. I co-organized dotNetConfPL (with Michal Franc and Pawel Sawicz).
  5. I almost maintained 4.0 GPA (I have 3.8 for now).
  6. I applied for Microsoft Student Partner position, but Microsoft rejected me.

The main goals for this year are:

  1. Graduate with Master of Science degree from Kansas State University.
  2. Start a new job.
  3. Run dotNetConfPL 2014.

I also would like to finally attend Dev Day conference in Kraków, but I am not sure if I will be in Poland on September 26.

During ‘the break’ I came up with a lot of ideas. I have 6 drafts for blog posts, 5 topics for a blog posts on the to do list and tons of ‘new, cool things’ to check out. When you get busy, because of School, work, personal issues etc. – don’t worry. Take a break, get all of more important things done and once you get back, you will be more happy and motivated than before.

don't just wish for a great 2014, make it so

Studying in the USA

Studying in United States is a way different than in Poland. In October 2008 I started Bachelor of Science at Wroclaw University of Technology (Poland). In Fall 2011 I was exchange student at the Kansas State University (USA). After that I camealt back and graduated at WUT (Wroclaw University of Technology) in January 2012. Then I started Master of Science (in English) and I also applied for Master program at the KSU (Kansas State University) and UA (University of Arizona) for Fall 2012. I was admitted to both Universities, but I didn’t get assistantship offer (to be Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant). Everybody knows that studying in USA is pretty expensive, but not when you have assistantship. Then department is paying for your tuition and you have salary/scholarship, which enables you to cover living expenses (such as rent apartment, food etc.). However I got an RA (Research Assistant) offer from KSU in July and finally started Master program in Spring 2013 (because it was too late to make VISA related issues done before Fall 2012).

In USA there are Fall and Spring semesters. Fall starts usually in the middle of August and ends in December before Christmas. Then there is winter break till middle January. After that Spring semester starts, and it ends in mid-May.

Kansas State Campus

One of my friends (who got PhD at KSU) said that the difference between KSU and WUT is that KSU gives you real opportunity to learn something: it is easier to get good grades but it is also easier to learn a lot. I agree in 100%. The standard amount of classes for Undergraduate student (Bachelor degree) is 15 credit hours (30 ECTS), which is about 5 courses (usually one course has 3 credits). At WUT sometimes I had 10 courses. The standard amount for Graduate Student (Master or PhD) is only 9 credits (3 courses). It is not because it is easier, but courses are more time consuming. That is because there is much more to learn than in typical 6 ECTS course in WUT. Usually Master Student is also TA (Teaching Assistant) or RA (Research Assistant), which means additionally 20 or more hours. Last semester I took one class, which consumed about 10 hours (excluding classes) per week for me (you can find estimated work amount here). It is like 2 hours every day, and I had two more classes and research. As a reward I learnt a lot.

Another difference is that there is no strict list of courses you need to take. In Poland, all students from the same major has the same classes (only in last two semesters you can choose specialty but you still have the same classes with ~40 people). In USA, student choose courses on his own. There are minimum requirements, but usually you have a choice to pick one of a few proposed courses to satisfy one area requirement. You can find a degree requirements for Master degree in my department here.

Kansas State Campus

Sometimes in WUT it is enough to study only one day before exam (if there is no laboratory or tutorials for that course). Here in USA it is impossible. You need to study every week, because of homeworks, quizes, required reading etc. In some courses there are quizzes in every week. Additionally ‘quiz’ not necessarily means ABCD. In my department it is always open-question test. The 90% of International students coming here for exchange from Europe, after two weeks says: “In last two weeks I was that busy like in finals week at my University”. In last semester, the day before semester start I received an email that I have a quiz in my first class and I need to be prepared for it (by reading given materials).

In USA everybody cares about studying. Students are not playing games during the lectures. Even when lecture is not obligatory, almost everybody is there and they interact with instructor a lot.

Disclaimer: All information given above are based on my personal experience. Everything can be different depends on the University, Department and even course you take.