Reading04: Diversity

While I do believe that diversity is important, I believe that the recent focus on diversity is a little bit overblown and diversity should only be important up until a certain extent.  I believe diversity is important in solving problems because different viewpoints and ways of looking at problems can lead to solving problems that may not have been solved if there was not diversity within the problem solvers.  This is extremely important because it will allow companies to be able to solve problems that they may not have otherwise.  Having people from different backgrounds will allow for different ways of solving problems and can lead to an overall better program.  This is why I believe that diversity is important, but I also believe that the recent focus on diversity is too much and that diversity should never be the sole focus for deciding on whether or not to hire a candidate.  I believe that, recently, there has been this focus on diversity because companies will be ostracized  if they do not publish higher and higher diversity numbers.  I believe that once this wave of diversity focus started, it became impossible for it to stop as companies can be shamed or ostracized by the general public for not putting this same focus on diversity that other companies are at the same time.  As a result of this, we have seen a lot of companies starting to offer internships and job programs specifically for women and minorities as they look to give this demographic a specific avenue to be able to get into their company.  However, I believe that this is unfair and should not be a common practice by companies.  While I do understand the point of view coming from this demographic that says there could be a bias against them in the general hiring pool, I believe that gender and race should not be considered at all when hiring.  This again goes back to my belief that technology and all industries actually should be hiring based solely off of merit and that hiring diversity for diversity’s sake is wrong.  Companies should be hiring the best candidates and have a duty and responsibility to their employees and stockholders to be hiring the best possible candidates at every hiring cycle.  If a company is willing to sacrifice quality in their new hires to solely hire a person of a specific demographic, then I believe that this is wrong.  This also would include hiring the demographic that everyone assumes gets this benefit of the doubt, and I believe that hiring white men just because they are a white man is completely wrong and the best candidates should always be hired.  This is why I believe that these diversity programs are wrong because, I believe, there should be one hiring pool where race and gender are not looked at and the only thing that is looked at is the quality of your candidacy and whether or not you would fit into the culture of the company.  Hiring someone for any other reason is wrong in my opinion and should not be a common practice.

Reading03: Work-Life Balance

In terms of work-life balance, I believe that there is a lot that companies can and should do to promote a healthy work-life balance for their employees.  Companies can encourage employees to leave work without working upwards of 70+ hour weeks or can offer more employee benefits such as more days off or company events for the employees to socialize. Companies can also try and discourage the idea that “facetime” will allow for upward movement within the company and instead try to promote an environment where good work will be the sole consideration when promoting employees.  “Facetime” will lead to employees staying at work longer than they would need to simply to give off the impression that they are working long, arduous hours, instead of being as productive as possible when they are at work.  It is my firm belief that if employees have a healthy work-life balance then they will be more productive when they are at work and will also be more inclined to take a second or third job with the company instead of trying to look for other work.  For this reason, I believe it is in the company’s best interest to promote a healthy work-life balance for their employees and they are ethically obliged to do so.  Promoting work-life balance for employees will lead to employees being happy with their life and their work.  Trying to promote happiness for others is always what is ethically right to do and companies should be no different.  Working their employees into the ground is not right and companies should not try to do that as their employees will quickly burn out and not produce the quality of work they would if they had a healthy work-life balance.  The company that I interned with this past summer wholeheartedly believed that a work-life balance is extremely important for their employees and pushes their employees to leave at 40 hours a week and to only work overtime if they absolutely needed it to finish work on a deadline.  While work-life balance is not the only or most important thing I looked at when looking at jobs or my career, I do believe that work-life balance should not be overlooked.  In the long run it will lead to more productivity and a healthier, better life for me, so, while I will not place it at the top of my wishlist for a job, I definitely will be looking at it going forward when considering different offers.  I believe that there are different ways to try and maintain a healthy work-life balance.  For example, doing things on the weekend that are of interest to you is one way that is easy.  I am a big sports fan, so attending sports games on the weekend is an easy way for me to promote a healthy work-life balance.  Also, doing little things throughout the week such as going out to dinner or meeting up with friends is an easy way to make it seem like the workweek is not entirely work.  These are some easy, simple ways to try and be able to promote a healthy work-life balance and companies should try and make this way of life accessible to all employees.

Reading02: Jobs

My internship and job interview process has been a little different than a lot of other computer science students, from what I have heard so far.  Personally, I am a little hesitant about working in solely tech and instead wish to use my technical skills and computer science background in the financial field.  More specifically, I would like to apply data analysis and computer science in investment and asset management.  While I am still expected to know the technical side of things as everyone else is, I also have to know at least a little bit about finance and how I can apply computer science and data analysis in investing.  While most of the firms that I have interviewed with will teach me most of the financial know-how after I would start, usually around a third of an interview with these firms is talking about finance and how I would solve different financial problems using my technical background.  The way I prepare for this is by keeping up to date on the financial markets, so that when I have to answer questions such as these, I will be up to date on what is actually happening in the world and can try to incorporate what others in the field are actually doing in my answers.  From feedback and my initial thoughts on my question, I feel that I have been doing well on these types of questions.  What surprises me most about the interview process for me is that most interviewers really don’t care about if you’re able to get the “right” answer when they ask questions, especially when interviewers are asking financial questions to a non-finance major.  Most interviewers simply want to hear your thought process and want to see if you can try and understand concepts outside of your area of expertise.  They want to see if you can learn on the fly and on the job, as I would have to do that with a job in this area as I have already mentioned.  Personally, my overall impression of the interview process is that it is a fair and effective way of identifying the best candidates for whatever job it might be.  While at times I don’t think it is as efficient as it could be, with some firms having 3-4 rounds of phone interviews before even getting an in-person interview on site, I do believe that the interview process that I have seen if effective in its current state.  When speaking to how ethical it is, I believe that the interview process is ethical as of now, but I could see how some people might not believe that it is.  I could see how some might view it as unethical due to the amount of time required to interview, not even to mention the amount of time put in to be able to impress the interviewers and company with your resume.  However, while I see this point of view, I believe that the process is still ethical because when companies are hiring, they should strive to hire the best candidates and putting in this time is one way to show that you are committed to the job and, once hired, will put in every effort to be as successful as possible both for the firm and for yourself.

Reading 01: Meritocracy

I believe that the technology industry is a meritocracy and that it should be a meritocracy.  I believe that it is a meritocracy because of the rise and fall of companies that we have seen and the nature of the industry as a whole.  Given that the technology created by people working in this industry will be used by millions of people worldwide, the products of this industry should be easy to use, fool-proof and of the highest possible quality.  The products should be intuitive and easy for the vast majority of our population to access and utilize because that is exactly who is going to be using it.  Due to all of these reasons, I believe that merit should be the leading reason for hiring a new engineer or programmer in the technology industry.  Companies within the technology industry need to hire the best engineers and programmers to be able to succeed and deploy their product to the masses and, once that happens, continually evolve and adapt to the ever-changing preferences of their end-users while also maintaining the integrity of the product the company puts out.  The best engineers and programmers will be able to do this and every company should strive to hire the very best to be able to set themselves apart from all of the other companies in their space.  Just as the reading said, the main reason that Facebook overtook MySpace and other early social media platforms was due to Mark Zuckerberg’s talent in both coding Facebook and hiring the very best coders to be able to take what he had given them in the prototype for Facebook and spin it into the Facebook we all know today.  I truly believe that it is a good thing for the industry to be a meritocracy because of the nature of the industry today, as I have mentioned.  I truly believe that the people that put in the best work and prove to their superiors that they are capable of performing at the highest possible level should be afforded every opportunity to advance their career and move up in their respective company.  This belief of mine definitely came from my childhood growing up in the ultimate meritocracy: sports.  In sports, the only thing that is looked at when deciding who should start or make a roster is how good of a player you are.  That is all that matters because careers, mainly the coach/manager of the team, matter upon it.  If the manager of a professional sports team wins games, they will be paid handsomely and for them to win games they need to play the best players whenever possible.  I believe that the technology industry, while I do see it as a meritocracy now, should take note of this and apply some of the same ideals.  Just as the manager will play the best baseball players to try and win as many games out of 162 as possible, tech companies should hire the best programmers and engineers to try and win as many users out of the general public as possible.  The general public will always choose the easiest and most convenient option for them and the easiest way for tech companies to become this option is to hire the best programmers and engineers that can bring efficiency and convenience to whatever company they are working for.

Reading 00: Introduction

My name is Nick Rocco and I am a senior Computer Science major at the University of Notre Dame.  I am from Suffield, Connecticut, which is a small town about 30 minutes north of Hartford, the capital of Connecticut.  I have always been interested in sports having played both football and baseball all the way through the end of high school and currently work on campus for the Notre Dame football team in their analytics department.  I decided to study Computer Science because of the flexibility it gives me in deciding what my future career path.  When I came to Notre Dame, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do afterwards and in fact started out as a mechanical engineer.  I decided to switch to CS because I realized that, with the way the world is nowadays, every company can benefit from somebody that knows how to program and how to use computing to their benefit.  This would allow me great flexibility in the career path I decided to choose.  What I hope to get out of this class and the most pressing topics facing computer scientists and engineers are very closely related.  I really look forward to studying the topic of free speech and censorship as I believe, especially given the climate of the country, this is very interesting.  As computer scientists, the way we code a given platform directly impacts the way that people who use this platform view things.  We could have a direct impact on shaping the attitude of the user towards a given topic based upon what we allow them to view by using our platform.  This is an extremely heavy burden and one that we should not take lightly.  This is why I am very much looking forward to talking about this and think it is one of the most pressing topics that computer scientists and engineers face.

Reading 00: Reading Response

Typically, when I determine if an action is right or wrong I weigh all of the possible benefits and consequences of that action and look at which is greater.  In this sense, I believe that I typically depend on the utilitarian approach that is described in the reading from Brown University.  In this reading, this approach is described as “a system in which actions could be described as good or bad depending upon the amount and degree of pleasure and/or pain they would produce”.  I believe that this description closely matches up with the system that I use when I try to assess whether an action is right or wrong.  In my system, I look at all of the potential benefits and consequences that could happen for myself and also the other people that this potential action could impact.  In that way, I try to figure out if the action is more good than bad and also look at more than just how this action impacts myself, but try to look at the larger picture instead of just my own little world.  I believe that through this system, I can most broadly look at the impact that an action has on the world and then decide whether or not I should consider the action right or wrong.  This system that I employ also uses some of the other systems described in the reading.  One of such systems is the egoistic approach.  I use this approach when I look at the potential benefits and consequences that an action has on solely myself.  As I mentioned, this is not the only thing that I look at as I also look at the benefits and consequences an action will have on other people, but I do take into consideration the egoistic beliefs and look at how an action will impact myself.  Similarly, I believe that I also use aspects of the common good approach when I look at the potential benefits and consequences that an action could have on the people around me and the people that this action could impact.  While both the common good approach and egoistic approach solely look at the benefits and consequences of the people and the self, respectively, I try to weight both in my decision of deciding whether an action is good or not because I believe that both are important in this decision.  I do not believe that one of these systems is “better” than the other and I believe that both must play a role in truly deciding whether or not an action is good or not.  If one does not look at their own self interest, then they could become unhappy and may not engage in any self pleasing actions.  If one only looks at their own self interest, they could quickly become self centered and may be off putting to others around them.  This is why I will look at both my own self interest and the people around me when looking at how to discern whether an action is right or wrong.