reading03 — What does “having it all” mean to you?

As I am attempting to find a job and talking to a few different companies, I am always interested to talk to current employees about themselves. Do they only talk about work? What sort of hobbies do they talk about? Does it sound like they are able to do things with their nights/weekends?

It’s going to be great to have a paycheck, but if you don’t ever have time to spend some of that on yourself, is it even worth it? Also, do the hours you put in to earning your paycheck zap all the energy you have? To me, “having it all” means two things:

  • Finding passion in the hours I work
  • Finding time to follow passions outside of work

I make the first point because I have experienced jobs where I spent 40 hours a week doing something I cared very little for and it was painfully boring. The days are slow, the work is not exciting, and there is very little enjoyment. Part of this passion that I strive for includes being able to collaborate. Hours, days, or weeks spent in a hallway closet of an office or in a cube destroys what could be an enjoyable job. Having the chance to interact with others strikes energy and pushes myself to bring more life to the job that I am doing.

The second point follows more on what people talk about when they discuss a work-life balance. Do they get out early enough in the night to participate in clubs or group activities? Is there time to have a hobby? Can you find a few hours a week to work out or be active? All these are important for mental/physical health and improve the quality of work somebody can bring to the office during the 8-5 grinds.

I have almost definitely developed this mentality with the help of my older brothers and their wives. Hearing them talk about their different jobs, one can see on their face whether or not they truly enjoy it and a lot of that revolves are how much time they are allowed to do things outside of work. One of my sister-in-law’s was a CPA for many years, and could not stand how little time she had to herself. She was making a lot of money for two reasons: many hours at work and absolutely zero opportunities to spend that money as all time was put into her CPA job.

As an intern for the past few years, I have been pretty capped at 40 hours and I’ve felt that was a good balance with room to possibly spend more if I loved the work. I’ve been able to experience the cities that I’ve lived in and travel on the weekends. While it is hard to “have it all” on an entry level job, I hope that my experience can continue as I fully enter the work force.

 

Ethics Project01 — What’s your superpower?

The Sorter

By Luke Duane

 

Once upon a time, the world of sorting was content. The fastest theoretical and practical way to sort anything was Ω(n log n). But one day, as a Google engineer started up his work, he noticed something strange. He set up a screen years ago that constantly ran tests on all of the world’s search engines, displaying their times and even an accuracy measure he created. And today, on this screen, Google was #2. Instead, in the place where they had stood for decades, was DuckDuckGo. He was astonished and immediately went into his data to figure out what had happened. DuckDuckGo couldn’t be better, could it?

VS

What this engineer didn’t know about was a man across the country in South Bend, Indiana, known as The Sorter. In one of the basement labs in Fitzpatrick Hall on Notre Dame’s campus, The Sorter had created a chip that turned the world of sorting on its head. Unknown to the world, he had found a way to sort in linear time, breaking what all mathematicians and computer scientists believed to be the sorting barrier of Ω(n log n). It took endless nights and many skipped classes for The Sorter along with a touch of an element, Faminium, that he discovered discreetly.

The Sorter had big plans. There was a reason why he worked in secret. He was a lover of privacy. No one that he worked professionally even knew his name. That is why he enjoyed working with DuckDuckGo. As a search engine that didn’t save your information, he trusted them, and he decided to give them the biggest tool of all time with his new sorting chip. Once implemented, he worked diligently to publicize the news. One day, a New York Tymes write, Miley Citrus, finally took his call. A former CSE minor, she knew the ramifications of The Sorter’s work and immediately got a headline to tell the world.

This was just the beginning; The Sorter had one more trick up his sleeve. During his breaks working on his sorting chip, he had been working on creating a social network that he called FaceNovel. He designed it as legally close to Facebook as possible, but implemented his new sorting algorithm and made sure to never save any user data. He was amazed at how well it ran without the insane amounts of data storage he knew Facebook did on every single user. In his tests, it ran 100x faster and more reliably than the fake Facebook account he made and he knew he could take them down.

The Sorter was not just envisioning a world of privacy, he was building it.

 

reading02 — What’s Your Job Search Been Like?

What’s Your Job Search Been Like?

I have completed three internships that have shown me three very different companies and hiring processes.

I was referred to Company A by a non-profit startup that I interviewed with. The process lasted all the way from the Winter Career Fair (January) until the day my offer letter came in on the last day of school (mid May). I was left in the dark a little bit, but as a sophomore, any internship was good. The process consisted of two interviews: one a case study presentation, the other a typical interview with my future boss.

Company B had the easiest hiring process. I was emailed to set up a phone interview and within that interview, I was told I had the job if I wanted it. This was the smallest company of the three, so they had the fewest gates to pass to initiate and finish the recruiting process and it made it the most enjoyable.

Company C had the harshest timeline. I was interviewed on campus and called a couple days after, informing me I had an offer and that I had two weeks to decide. It was exciting, but also extremely stressful.

Through all three hires, I learned quite a bit. The biggest lesson that I have received is that the company has most of the power when it comes to timing. Emails or phone-calls may not be returned for a couple days or weeks, but when they call you and send you an offer letter, you are officially on their time. There is one benefit though about being a student of Notre Dame that helps in situations like these: the Job Offer Policies. Hidden in the rules about reneging are dates that companies must follow if they want to play with hiring Notre Dame students. I have been able to use these twice now, once for my internship offer and recently for a return offer.

It’s understandable that companies want to get their recruiting process done, but it’s also quite frustrating for graduating students. We are months away from making one of the largest decisions of our lives. One that focuses around things we might know little about (i.e. location, moving costs, salaries, entry-level jobs), and we are usually given two weeks to decide.

Aside from the actual hiring process, I feel as if my interviewing process has been very different than the stereotypical CSE student. I have never been put on the whiteboard, and I almost certainly never will. Across about a dozen interviews, I have only been asked one technical question (that I completely bombed, too). It’s refreshing though, as I know I just have to be myself and talk a little about my resume when I step into an interview. From my impressions, it seems that companies are more worried about finding culture fits. They want people who will mesh with their existing team and culture, which is a good thing to me as my goal when I sit down to interview is to find out if I could see myself being happy there for a long time.

 

reading01 — What is a Hacker?

What exactly is a hacker? Do you identify as one in any ways?

By Luke Duane

The word “hacker” can mean several different things, depending on the person you are talking to. If I tell someone working at OIT that I am a hacker, they will see me as a threat and look to monitor my network. If I tell my aunt at Thanksgiving  that I am a hacker, she will change her passwords and be as safe as possible with her information. But if I tell a tech recruiter at the Career Fair that I am a hacker, they will praise me and inquire on what sort of projects I have completed.

These differences can be highlighted by two different readings. The first is a manifesto, written by someone recently arrested. He or she hides behind the screens, and gives justification for their actions in a monospaced font. It is secretive. It is vague. It is the reason why people are scared of losing their identities. The second is a public letter from Mark Zuckerberg, who might be the most famous hacker depending on how you define it. He is the final type of hacker, one that hacks for good, one that hacks to improve. While “evil” hackers might always exist, the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world drive for innovation.

I believe the easiest way to understand Zuckerberg is to listen to his motives.

I started off by writing the first version of Facebook myself because it was something I wanted to exist.

He sat in his dorm room. Him and his computer. And he hacked. Why? Because he had a vision that he wanted to create. By his definition, “hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done” and that is exactly what he did. And the product? The greatest social media machine that we will probably ever see. He broke things, he took risks, and he was rewarded greatly.

It would be silly to try and compare myself to Mark Zuckerberg. But also, I would be lying if I claimed I never tried to emulate what he did. One example of this, and my association of being some sort of a hacker, is my time spent in hack-a-thons, 36 hour long competitions that truly test how much you can “hack”. I have competed in three, and come away with awards from two. To spend all night working on an idea, breaking it and fixing it, developing  and expanding to end up victorious in the end, is one of the most satisfactory things I have ever done.

To be a hacker does not even revolve around one’s ability to code. It is a talent that innovates. Hackers are constantly challenging the old and bringing the new. Brining this sort of revolution to our world is something that I aspire to do, and if that makes me a hacker, then I will hack as much as I can.

 

 

reading00 — Why Study Ethics?

Why study Ethics in the context of Computer Science and Engineering?

Technology is prevalent to almost everybody in America today. It is used to text, to call, to Facebook, to Snap, to Tweet, to communicate. It is abundant in businesses and also personal lives. It has driven innovation, it has reconnected families. Our world is driven by technology and that technology is driven by Computer Science and Engineering.

As Jonathan Harris points out in this article, technology is extremely influential. He compares it to medicine, both as it is helpful to humanity, but also how it can be a drug and detrimental to those who use it. With medicine, it is comforting that there are several layers of regulation that prevent our society from abusing medicine to an extent. But the technology that is used today does not go through an analogous set of layers. Instead, Jonathan Harris points out examples where technology not only thrives off of addiction, but actively attempts to infect its users. He talks about how positive it can be for a tech start-up to have users that can’t stay away.

This technological addiction problem is why we must study Ethics. Instead of focusing on producing the next brainless application, innovation should focus on things that are helpful for society. While it seems now that no one in our society is required to use any such apps, there are some applications on the path to being a social requirement. For example, how many connections and communications are facilitated by Facebook? How many sites implement a primary Facebook login system? It is certainly possible for someone to never use Facebook, but consider the consequences if this changes. Who is in control of all that information? Executives at Facebook. Are they regulated in the same way that the FDA regulates medicine? Currently, they are private and face no such type of regulation. One can only hope that technology never becomes more addictive or some sort of requirement to live normally with no sort or regulations. It is for this reason that Ethics in the context of Computer Science and Engineering and all sorts of innovation in general need to be heavily considered and followed. Technology is leading our world today and will continue to be the key to innovation. To prevent it from being destructive, ethical codes must be constructed and be at the heart of all development.

 

reading00 — Introduction

 

My name is Luke Duane. I am from Grapevine, Texas and am a senior at the University of Notre Dame, studying Computer Science.

I chose Computer Science as my major back in Freshman year because I wanted to develop problem solving and analytical skills that would help no matter what sort of career path I chose. I believe that engineers can provide ways of thinking that are helpful to almost all businesses and Computer Science was the most interesting flavor of engineering that I experienced in my Engineering 101 course.

For this course, I hope to gain an understanding of the ethical problems that surround computer science and development. I am interested in developing an understanding of issues related to technology like privacy and copyright.

Outside of school, my interests include sports, cooking, hiking, and traveling to new places. My favorite sports team is the Green Bay Packers, and one of the highest items on my bucket list is to watch them in person play in the Super Bowl.