Thursday, May 22, 2008

interview with ka yee

ka yee is an university of hawaii student. i met her a little more than a year ago at the pacific modeling and simulation showcase. at that event, i gave a presentation to university of hawaii information and computer sciences students. during the presentation, i talked about what types of skills the students needed to be competitive in the job market. i'm totally syched that it seems like she took a little of my advice. she is one of the top students in the software engineer courses (413 and 414) and she is a selected student in the google summer of code. not bad for a year of work.

Hawaii's high technology industry starts with students. Without great students and a great workforce our industry will really struggle. That's why I focus a lot of my time on the students and bridging connections between students and industry. That's how I contribute.

However, I'm not sure the industry understands what the students want or needs. A question for you is what are the needs of students? What types of activities, events, competitions, groups, classes, presentations, etc do you think students could benefit from? Basically, what do students want to be apart of that supplements their classes? Or what should students want?

As a student, what I want to get most is information about the high-tech industry. We learned a wide range of technical knowledge from classes but very often I wonder about how they are actually applied in the real world. Knowing what is actually happening in the industry and what the current development trends are allows us to get a more accurate picture of how our skills can be applied outside of class.

Internship is obviously a good way for students to get to know more about the industry and obtain hands-on working experience. It would also be cool to have local high-tech companies work together with the professors. They can set up projects where students can take as ICS 499 projects. That way, even if the companies cannot provide a lot of internship opportunities, students can also get a chance to work on real projects under supervision of professor.

Other than these, it would be awesome if local high-tech companies can organize large scale programming competitions. It is hacking purely for the fun of solving the puzzle while giving us an opportunity to put the skill we learned from class into action. The companies can also get to know the students better through these events.

Company open-house is cool. I remember going to Referentia's Pacific Modeling and Simulation Open House last year which was an eye-opening experience. I was introduced to technologies that I never heard of before and that gave me an idea of what area I want to focus on for my ICS curriculum. It was actually your presentation where you recommended a list of technical skills and classes that make me decided to take ICS 413 from Professor Johnson.

Other than these, I also highly recommend my fellow peers to get involve in the ICS club. I am currently involved in a number of societies such as the Mortar Board. These are all very valuable experiences and I gained a lot from them. I think being great with programming is essential but not enough, networking is also very important. Knowing your fellow peers and connecting with people from the industry is very helpful as you can learn something from everyone of them. Also, it would be helpful in the long-run for your career. I think taking an active part in the ICS club would be a good place to start building up the network. The industry can help by organizing events such as talks, tours, project day, etc with the ICS club to let students know about the local high tech companies and vice versa.

These are what I think students would love to see from local company and what they would benefit from outside of classes.

ka yee brings up some very good ideas. "having high-tech companies work together with the professors" is a fantastic idea. having "real projects" and real problems are definitely a very good learning tool. large scale programming competitions is another great idea. in fact, we have been thinking about organizing one.

lastly, she brings up the ics club. and i totally agree, it should be really beneficial to be active in the club. but, i'm not sure the club actually meets and does things? i've been trying to find out more information about the club with very little success. if you know more about the ics club please let me know:
  • what is the ics club's mission?
  • who mentors the ics club?
  • how many students are involved?
  • what types of activities do they do?

    anyway, thanks goes out to ka yee for a great interview
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