Insider Tips from Elite MS in CS & IT Students: Strategies for Success
Struggling to maintain motivation throughout your MS in CS & IT?
Break down your course into manageable tasks, stay focused on your end goal, and consistently take action.
Want to take it a step further?
Follow industry leaders on LinkedIn and gain inspiration for your journey.
Who knows where it could take you in just a few short years?
If you want to skip the reading, then jump directly to:
- Rohit Jain- ML Engineer- Twitter- Cornell University
- Columbia University -Ben Mills-head of product at Venmo
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) -Vint Cerf- VP at Google
- The University of Washington-Jeremy Jaech- co-founded Aldus Corporation
- Princeton University- Edward Tian- GPTZero
- UWM: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee-Satya Nadella- Microsoft CEO
1. Rohit Jain – ML Engineer -Twitter:
Rohit Jain is an individual with a strong interest in impactful products that affect people’s lives.
He became fascinated with the Twitter revolution and its ability to create a large-scale impact.
As a Computer Engineering undergraduate, Jain worked on various projects involving Twitter data analysis, specifically focusing on micro-communities related to the Indian Premier League. Rather than pursuing a conventional computer science degree, he opted for a Jacobs Technion-Cornell Dual Master of Science Degree with a Concentration in Connective Media.
Jain believes in understanding both the human aspect of technology and the intricacies of its systems, which he found in this program.
Tip 1: Pursue your passion: Rohit Jain was interested in products that impact people’s lives, and he was fascinated by the Twitter revolution. Following your passion and being genuinely interested in the work you do can drive your success.
Tip 2: Seek unconventional paths: Jain chose to pursue a Jacobs Technion-Cornell Dual Master of Science Degree with a Concentration in Connective Media instead of a traditional computer science degree. Exploring unique educational opportunities can provide a different perspective and open doors to new experiences.
Tip 3: Understand the human aspect of technology: Jain believed in the importance of understanding how technology connects humans and impacts their lives. Recognizing the human element and considering the social and psychological aspects of technology can be valuable in creating meaningful solutions.
Tip 4: Expand knowledge and skills: During his time at Cornell Tech, Jain focused on improving his machine learning knowledge while deep diving into HCI research. Continuous learning and expanding your skill set can enhance your expertise and open up new opportunities.
Tip 5: Collaborate and network: Jain collaborated with teammates to create Palpiction, worked with engineers at Twitter, and fostered connections. Building strong relationships and collaborating with others can lead to valuable opportunities and support in your career journey.
Tip 6: Identify and pursue opportunities: Jain identified an opportunity for creating a new team at Twitter and worked hard to validate the idea and gain support from top leadership. Being proactive in identifying opportunities and taking initiative can drive your career growth.
Tip 7: Think big and validate ideas: Jain emphasized the importance of thinking bigger and finding ways to validate ideas faster. Adopting an iterative product development approach and experimenting with new features can lead to learning and growth.
Tip 8: Foster empathy: Jain mentioned being empathetic to the people he works with as one of the qualities that helped him succeed. Practicing empathy can strengthen relationships, enhance teamwork, and contribute to a positive work environment.
Tip 9: Stay updated with industry trends: Jain predicted that responsible ML and the impact of recommendation products on mental health would be major themes in the future. Keeping up with industry trends and being aware of emerging issues can help you stay relevant and make informed decisions.
Tip 10: Share knowledge and mentor others: Jain assists in hiring and mentoring new engineers and actively collaborates with other teams. Sharing knowledge, mentoring others, and fostering growth in your team can contribute to your own success and the success of those around you.
2. Ben Mills – Head of Product at Venmo – Columbia University
Ben Mills has expertise in product management and has played a key role in the development and success of Venmo, a popular mobile payment service.
Ben Mills received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, where he studied computer science.
- Tip 1: Ben Mills’ advice to stay curious and open-minded.
- Tip 2: Staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and developments is essential.
- Tip 3: Keeping an open mind and being willing to explore new ideas and approaches can help you stay engaged and excited about your coursework.
3. Vint Cerf – VP at Google – University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Vint Cerf is known for his pioneering work in developing the internet and his advocacy for net neutrality.
He has also been involved in several other technology initiatives, including developing the interplanetary internet.
- Tip 1: A big part of leadership is learning to sell your ideas. Great leaders are also great salespeople – both know how to use persuasion for influence.
- Tip 2: To do the impossible, first, you have to convince other people that it isn’t. Justify the timeline, set reachable targets, and show confidence that the team can succeed.
- Tip 3: Be empathetic with those you are leading. Understand the environment and issues of those who work for you so you can be empathetic towards them.
- Tip 4: Engineers should be reminded to make something useful so that sales can succeed (and they can succeed too). Work to create something that is actually useful for people.
- Tip 5: Humility is vital for leadership. You don’t know everything, so you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. It is not a sign of weakness to want to learn something, especially from people that report to you.
- Tip 6: People that report to you have to be comfortable asking for help. Create an environment where people that report to you feel comfortable telling you when they need help.
- Tip 7: Listen, listen, listen. You have to show you are listening, provide feedback, and reflect. Direct feedback is important. Without listening to customers, you can never truly improve your products.
- Tip 8: Experience counts. Even when you are feeling imposter syndrome and unsure if you belong, remember everybody gets into that situation occasionally. And what you should do is get help, particularly from people more experienced and smarter than you are.
4. Jeremy Jaech – Co-Founded Aldus Corporation – University of Washington
Jeremy Jaech has software development and entrepreneurship expertise and has founded several successful companies in the technology industry.
- Tip 1: Identify gaps in the market: The founder of Shapeware, Jeremy Jaech, stresses finding gaps in the market to fill with your own research or entrepreneurial venture potentially.
- Tip 2: Stay up-to-date with the latest technology: Jaech found that many users were still using mid-1980s software to achieve their desired results because they were uncomfortable with the latest versions.
- Tip 3: Customisation is key: As an MS student, you can look for ways to add customization options to your work, such as tailoring your research to specific industries or sectors.
- Tip 4: Exploit opportunities in the market: Both Aldus and Shapeware were founded by individuals who identified opportunities that allowed their companies to thrive. As an MS student, watch for opportunities that can help you stand out in your field.
- Tip 5: Learn from past experiences: Jaech noted that his second fortune would be easier because he knew what he was doing. As an MS student, learn from your past experiences, successes, and failures and use that knowledge to make better decisions in the future.
5. Edward Tian – GPTZero – Princeton University
Edward Tian is an artificial intelligence and machine learning expert and has been involved in several AI-related startups.
Edward Tian is a Chinese entrepreneur and technology executive who founded GPTZero, a startup focused on developing artificial intelligence technology.
He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University and later co-founded China Netcom, a major telecommunications company in China.
- Tip 1: Stay informed about the potential impact of large AI models like ChatGPT in academic and professional settings.
- Tip 2: Understand the importance of responsible AI adoption and build safeguards to prevent AI from being abused by bad actors, such as bots, misinformation, election interference campaigns, and trust and safety violations misrepresented as human.
- Tip 3: Be aware of AI detection tools like GPTZero, which can detect whether a human or machine writes a text.
- Tip 4: Learn about the indicators that GPTZero uses to analyze text, such as perplexity and burstiness. Perplexity refers to how complex or random a text might be, while burstiness refers to patterns of diversity in sentence structure.
- Tip 5: Work towards improving the accuracy of AI detection tools like GPTZero and other AI models.
- Tip 6: Engage in discussions about the responsible use of AI with various school boards and scholarships, and advocate for promoting equity and transparency in AI adoption.
6. Satya Nadella – Microsoft CEO – UWM: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Satya Nadella has expertise in technology leadership and has played a key role in the growth and success of Microsoft.
He has also been involved in several initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.
Satya Nadella is an Indian-American technology executive currently CEO of Microsoft, one of the world’s largest software companies.
- Tip 1: Stay adaptable and resilient. Pursuing an MS in CS & IT can be challenging, but adapting to changing circumstances and setbacks can help you stay motivated in your studies.
- Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to change with the times.
- Tip 3: Be curious and constantly learn.
- Tip 4: Learn to Empathize.
- Tip 5: Build a strong team and empower them to succeed. Focus on the customer and do not give up easily.
- Tip 6: Do not focus on the past. Be open about shortcomings.
- Tip 7: Do not forget where you came from and do not be afraid of change.
While these tips from successful performers are a great starting point, remember that success takes effort and dedication.