Reading 03 Response

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Reading 03 Response

From the readings and from your experience, can men and women have it all? That is, can parents have successful and fulfilling careers while also raising a family and meeting other non-work related goals?

Any person will always have varying passions. Whether those passions line up closely or cover extremely different subjects, I believe that it’s unfulfilling if you don’t give them time and commitment. “Having it all” can be different for everyone, but for me it means I can actively pursue those passions that make up so much of my whole self. I want to be able to pursue software development that can help people, continue to enjoy collecting and reading comic books, express myself musically, theatrically, romantically, mentally. In my second semester Junior year, I had the busiest schedule of my life. I was in five classes, an active member of the Glee Club and the Undertones, and I was rehearsing for the spring PEMCo musical. Despite the intense rigidity I had to adopt and the shrinking free time I had, I was happy. I was pursuing passions that I had missed out on for 3 years, and I was happy to connect with that part of myself again. Each layer of the person I am is significant; I didn’t build this foundation for myself only to have it deteriorate and crumble. All of us have things that make us interesting and passionate. “Having it all” means that a person has the room in their life to satisfactorily explore all of these facets.

I’ve experienced guilt over missing out many times. I have a passion for arranging music for my a cappella group, the Undertones. Over the summer, I wanted to finish four pieces that we could practice and sing over our Fall Break. However, I was so busy with my internship that I only finished one. Kenneth Reitz expresses similar feelings towards my own, writing that he would get the “sudden feeling of ‘I’d rather do anything else than this right now'” when developing. I would get home and pass out, not letting me pursue arranging music. I only finished one arrangement over the summer.

Going forward, I know how to deal with this better and have begun to change my lifestyle to become better balanced. Author Alina Dizik offers several helpful points in her article “The strange psychology of stress and burnout.” She states that “previous experience can play a huge role in how you handle stress and deciphering your own personal tipping point.” I’ve gone through 3 years of very difficult coursework; at this point, I have plenty of experience with noticing my own tipping points. Whether or not it’s a good thing that I can identify negative stress so easily, it’s what I do with that information that is more important. This is where I need to improve. Shirley Miao offers some advice in this area. After having her own burnout troubles, she tells us that “paradoxically, being less studious and more relaxed about work and interviewing helped me perform better in both situations.” This advice is great: I often over-analyze and stress out about important events, interviewing especially. Knowingly making an effort to lessen this strange over-emphasis can help me to relax better and enjoy myself, while working productively and efficiently using what I’ve learned. It won’t be easy, but I’m hoping I can take my experiences and the advice I’ve read and build myself a career that I am passionate and energetic about.

Project 1 Reflection

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Project 1 Reflection

My group members and I did our best to write a code of ethics concerning our careers in computer science. It’s impossible to write an all-encompassing document that will be relevant to every experience one has in their job, but we did our best to be specific and cover a wide variety of topics. Here are some highlights:

  • Engage in work only to help others
  • Include self-reflection in your career
  • Help others achieve
  • Learn, as well as you can, what you need to
  • Work on yourself

These points bring up important issues for any employed individual. The focus is both on the benefits coming from your work and how you are managing yourself. Both of these points are incredibly significant to working morally. Focusing on others and working to benefit them is paramount to a morally sound and fulfilling career. This is what we are taught to do since birth. Additionally, self-reflecting and consistently judging oneself is important to remind oneself of the reason for working and helping others. Without self-reflection, it’s east to get lost in a world rotating around yourself.

Of course, our document doesn’t cover everything. If we wanted to, the letter would be longer than a dictionary. So naturally, there are weak points. We focus strongly on Catholicism because of the moral foundation it provides. However, this excludes many people from our code. Many non-Catholic people might not be able to connect with our code as well as we want them to. We can’t address this though; this is a compromise we have to make. As students of Notre Dame, this is an identity we’re proud of and want to include no matter what. Another weakness in the document is the focus on oneself. There are several passages that ask people to reflect and work on themselves. This is important to include, since benefiting others involves keeping yourself healthy and whole. But in a document that strives to focus on work for others, the focus on oneself might be a little heavy. To remedy this, lengthening the document and adding an additional section on “Benefiting Society” could be done. While the additional length is not optimal, the additional clarity from the passage might help add focus to other people.

Writing down a code of ethics to have as a reference is always useful. As is mentioned in the document, it is often easy to dive into your work and lose focus of why you are doing what you do. Writing this code down does two things: it helps to remind you of the worker you want to become, and it serves as a reference for the future. Additionally, often times people have a general idea of their own code of ethics, but never do anything to nail it down. This puts into reality the code that I want to abide by. The words and statements in this code are things I have verified in my own work, things I refuse to back down from. As I enter the workforce, this is how I want to shape my career. In this sense, I’m glad I have a physical reference to help guide me through the next chapter of my life.

Reading 02 Response

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Reading 02 Response

What has your job (or internship) interview process been like? What surprises you? What frustrates you? What excites you? How did you prepare? How did you perform?

What is your overall impression of the general interview process? Is it efficient? Is it effective? Is it humane? Is it ethical?

The job interview process that I participated in was a rigorous two-part process. The first part was an initial screening to find out if the candidates were a good fit for the program. It was a simple behavioral interview with two interviewers asking me questions about things on and off my resume. Overall, it was the easiest and most-laid back portion of the process, only taking 30 minutes and giving me an idea of what to expect out of the rest of the process. The second part was much more difficult. It was a four session split into eight half hours: one pitch out presentation, two technical rooms, for behavioral rooms and a half hour break. The presentation was in a room of about 20 interviewers, while all the rooms had two people each.

I prepared a lot for the process. The company I was at offered a lot of resources (and people) to help me with mock interviews, what to work on, and how to present myself. I developed my pitch out and practiced with my manager at several sessions. Also, I did 3 mock interviews: two technical and one behavioral. I prepared several stories in the STAR method to give as experience and rehearsed / memorized them. Additionally, I had meetings with managers to give myself a foundation of expected technical knowledge.

In terms of performance, I thought I handled my first interview well. I was told my pitch out presentation was memorable and made me stand out. Unfortunately, my technical parts were lacking. I was told that instead of latching onto a single thing that I was good at and jumping in, I tried to explain too much and didn’t convey enough. There was no coding involved as well, which was what I had prepared for and was expecting. In terms of the behavioral rooms, I was told I had good answers, but I had to be more succinct and focused when telling them. Again, I tried to do too much. Overall, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t reflect all the preparation I had done, but it was a valuable learning experience and I’m glad I got to experience it.

The general interviewing process strikes my as a bit contradictory. The trend in technical companies is to “Only hire the best.” Jeff Atwood writes in his article “We Hire the Best, Just Like Everyone Else” about how the being the best is incredibly subjective. I can speak from personal experience that I learned most of what I’m going to use at a tech companies at my internships, not at school. School taught me the basics and how to leverage resources to quickly learn skills, but there’s no possible way to teach everything that a programmer will encounter on the job. So why is it a trend to have rigorous, highly specific interview processes? I understand that testing the basics is important, but if an employee is going to learn the majority of what they’ll have to know while they’re on the job, to what extent is a rigorous technical interview just a waste of time? To look at it from the other side, though, you won’t exactly get a full look at an employee from just a behavioral interview. Perhaps relying on previous employers and listed experience is the best way to judge the skill of a person, rather than placing them in a high pressure environment that does little to recreate actual working conditions. Another article, “We only hire the best means we only hire the trendiest”, poses similar questions, raising points against the desire for developers with overly specific skill sets. Hopefully, this trend doesn’t continue to worsen, and developers can start to worry less about unrealistic interview requirements.

Reading 01 Response

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Reading 01 Reponse

Does the computing industry have an obligation to address social and political issues such as income inequality? How well suited is it to meet such challenges? How does the ethos of the computing industry influence its take on “fixing” social, economic, and political problems? Can tech save the world?

The information age is undoubtedly having on of the greatest impacts on the course of human history. Just as the bronze age introduced us to new tools and the industrial age introduced us to new methods of manufacturing, the information age is introducing us to new ways to access, share, and use data. And just as those ages augmented social and political ways of life, so does the information age. The difference this time around is the exponential speed at which things are changing. The bronze age had centuries to settle into a lifestyle, the industrial age had several hundred years, but the information age has only had a few decades. The computing industry is rapidly changing the lives of everyone, regardless of their level of involvement in computing, and it needs to begin to find solutions to ease this change just as rapidly. The computing industry does have an obligation to address social and political issues such as income inequality.

For an industry that prides itself on innovative speed, you’d think that quickly addressing an issue like universal basic income (UBI) would pose too much of a challenge. However, it turns out that industry leaders have a hard time putting themselves in the shoes of the people they’re trying to help. In an article titled “Silicon Valley’s Unchecked Arrogance”, authors Ross Baird and Lenny Mendonca analyze the mindset of many Silicon Valley leaders attempting to implement UBI. They argue that Silicon Valley only sees itself (and few other places) as the centers of innovation; Silicon Valley “creates the future, while the rest of the world (by virtue of zip code or differing world view) should follow suit or risk being left behind.” They also argue that Silicon Valley is driving towards UBI without considering the people with a stake in it. Instead of offering to regularly pay the people they push to unemployment, they should be offering another avenue for livelihood. Is this a clear difference in philosophy that renders Silicon Valley unsuited to help, or is it an investment in some larger scheme? Looking at the ethos of the computing industry can offer a few viewpoints.

Tech companies are always pushing for innovative and creative people. People that have the bravery to take risks on untapped ideas and technologies. Author Jathan Sadowski explains how this ties in to UBI in the article “Why Silicon Valley is embracing universal basic income.” UBI can allow creators room to relax since they don’t have to worry about making enough money and having proper living costs. In other words, it’s a “way of producing more makers, risk-takers, and move-fast-breakers – the type of people that tech culture values above all others.” In funding and addressing such issues, tech companies can re-invest in themselves and offer those who might be unemployed to venture into new territory.

Tech is making jobs disappear at an alarming rate. Machine learning and AI are advancing incredibly fast, leaving the computing industry scrambling to find a solution for the people that might become unemployed by software advancements. UBI can provide a lot of good: living in comfort, more room for risk, more space for creativity. But it can also produce idleness and deflate personal worth. It’s clear that tech is advancing, we just can’t forget that the policies for the people need to advance too. If the computing industry obliges to help in social and political issues, it’s the people, not the programs, that will flourish and live fully.

whoami

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Information Post

Personal Info

My name is Michael O’Malley, I’m a senior computer science major and engineering corporate practice minor. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs with a passion for puzzles, which I like to cite as the beginning of my computer science career, and singing, a passion that I’ve followed strongly throughout college.

Why Computer Science?

Computer Science is a fast-paced, constantly adapting field that offers people a large medium for creation and innovation. As someone who loves to work through challenging problems, being a computer science major allows me to work towards a solution in a variety of different ways. Adding on an engineering-business minor allows me to bring these pursuits to a corporate environment, helping me to communicate and lead better. Eventually, I hope to combine these two courses of study and found a software startup company.

What the Class Offers

Ethics offers a full analysis of any aspect of the computer science field. I’m hoping this class opens avenues to learn about how to approach different situations and issues for people going into our field. Specifically, I’d like to fully realize my own code of ethics and bring it with me into my own professional endeavors.

I’d like to talk about cyber security and how it mirrors security in the real world. Issues like the FBI-Apple encryption dispute pique my interest. What rights do agencies have to criminal information, and to what lengths can a software company go to protect their customers?