Sequencing My IT Future : A CS Undergrad’s Journey – Episode 1

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Welcome to the first episode of Sequencing my IT Future: A CS Undergrad’s Journey by Rahul Saxena!  This blog is where you can explore IT in depth and why it can be quite fascinating.  Check our podcast interview where we discuss the different directions of IT, the state of the CS college curriculum and much more!
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What is Sequencing My IT Future: A CS Undergrad’s Journey?

Greetings everyone!  My name is Rahul Saxena and I welcome you to Sequencing my IT Future: A CS Undergrad’s Journey! This is a Blog that also features Podcast where I go in depth about exploring Information Technology.  As a Computer Science (CS) major with the goal of becoming a programmer, I wanted to explore IT beyond what one can learn in college.  One way of exploring is done by interviewing Professors, Students, Programmers, Business Managers, Professionals and anyone that offer interesting opinions about IT.
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AI Umbrella

I was particularly interested in IT as there are plenty of trends that have great impact in that field.  A lot of these trends include Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, Big Data analytics, Agile Development and so forth.  By exploring these trends initially on a surface level, we can have a greater understanding of IT in more detail as well.

This blog is great for those who have varying degrees of interest in Computer Science.  Most commonly, programmers can come from an early age seeking a hobby or as college students who find the degree quite satiable from an employment standpoint.  Some of them dedicate themselves and can become masters at coding while there are plenty who feel intimidated  by the subject despite finding it interesting. 

The purpose is to provide plenty of unique perspectives on Computer Science that one couldn’t find in a class or textbook.  The big takeaway is that every reader can learn something valuable that goes beyond their knowledge of CS, expanding towards different trends, how businesses and corporations are involved with CS and what kind of impact that could lead towards.
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Meet Our Guest!

I am tremendously excited to introduce our first guest of the Blog, Ginoel Teng! Or G as he likes being called.

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Ginoel Teng – Graduation Day looking quite fine
Ginoel graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from State University at Albany, NY in Winter, 2016 and currently works for CommerceHub as an associate software engineer for a year.  I’ve known him for about a year as well.  While quite brilliant at programming, and teaching others how to code, he has also proven to be exceptional at having profound knowledge and being extremely skilled in rhythm games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Pump it Up.
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Dance Dance Revolution Cabinet – The Ultimate Dance Machine
Dance Dance Revolution is a dancing game that you’ll find in most arcades like Dave & Busters.  However, they are quite a unique way to maximize exercise and physical fitness!  Ginoel is also one to be quite personable and willing to help at any given situation at hand.  When he’s having fun, he’s all about crafting internet jokes that’s sure to please all audiences.

Check out his Linkedin –
https://www.linkedin.com/in/gteng/

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The Interview

Rahul: Welcome to the First Episode of Sequencing my IT Future, Ginoel!  I am excited to have you as our first guest!  Tell us more about yourself!

Ginoel: Thanks Rahul! And call me G. I am excited to be here! So I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from SUNY Albany in Winter, 2016.  I am working as an associate software engineer in Commerce Hub.

Rahul: So G, How were your experiences in CommerceHub?

Ginoel: I understood about more business aspects of the company because of its ecommerce nature. Business is not boring as one I originally assumed since there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.  They can include the specifics on how Amazon deals with shipping/dropping products on a business level that goes hand in hand with tech.

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CommerceHub Logo

Rahul:  Since you recently graduated from UAlbany, what advice would you give to fellow newcomers that are interested in the field of Computer Science.

Ginoel: I would suggest to newcomers that they should have a direction they can venture towards when studying for CS.  It is not about finishing a degree, getting a job and quickly earning large sums of money.  Since the subject can be very complex along technology constantly changing, newcomers can focus on a direction as it would help give focus and renewed interest for the field.

Rahul: Since I am still left with one more semester in Computer Science, but there are still plenty of material to learn, I am curious about what directions you might be referring to.

Ginoel: I would recommend starting independent projects that one is interested towards.  Such projects can include websites, Text based Role Playing Games or automating solutions where possible.  It helps provide practice and allowing one to solve problems or at the very least keep the subject interesting and make coding easier in the long run.

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Specializations in Computer Science
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Ginoel: As a current CS student, how can you improve the learning experience?

Rahul: I felt that CS was more analytical and logical than other subjects as it encourages one to solve problems more logically.  To further encourage that attitude, I would change the CS curriculum in my school by giving students a level 1 introductory programming course to make sure everybody knows how to code.  Make sure students fully learn a programming language before using the tools to solve problems and it can tough to find such a class which embraces that notion.

Rahul: So that’s all for the interview! Thanks for coming Ginoel!

Ginoel: Thanks for having me! It was a pleasure.

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Post-Interview

Ginoel brought very important advice when discussing which directions, one should take when studying Computer Science.  It is similar to Biology where a student can either study Genetics, Evolution, Anatomy, Immunology or so forth.  It made me realize that I have to focus my directions towards one CS field. This can be challenging as there are many multiple fields to choose from!

They can include Software Engineering, Computer Architecture, Big Data Analytics directions, Wireless Networking and so forth. Each field provides a unique focus that the other cannot fulfil.  I am left questioning which fields to choose and am at crossroads with these fields.  My interests are with Software Engineering as I am interested in creating software that is not only helpful for users but can also engage them in a fun and creative manner while Big Data Analytics is also interesting because extrapolating solutions and understanding various trends from huge collections of data is also vastly interesting.

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Scene from Cast Away (2000) – Different paths. Same Difficulty

Both fields remain quite interesting but for now I want to keep coding with small projects and honing on my practice so that I can become comfortable with Programming.  I have also been learning how to parse code into JSON so I can implement my projects in web services for cloud computing, and I am also getting ready to work this summer!
Thanks for taking your time and enjoying this Blog! Check out the podcast by clicking the button below and keep following Sequencing my IT Future: A CS Undergrad’s Journey for more continued exploration on IT!
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My Background

I was born in Lucknow, India in April 6th, 1994 and moved to New York, United States in July, 2010.  From there, I went to SUNY Albany in 2012 to pursue Biology in hopes to join Med School.  I wanted to become a doctor as this profession involved great amounts of dedication and practice throughout one’s lifetime.

Although, I graduated in Spring of 2016, I decided to switch career paths by going for a second bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in Spring 2017.

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Rahul Saxena – That’s Me!

It was not a sudden decision.  The shift came when I was doing Bioinformatics research in my Junior and Senior Year.  I utilized DNA sequence alignment software, Se-Al, such to align mRNA sequences of different mammals to study their evolutionary patterns.  Unfortunately, Se-Al was only compatible with Mac OS X before Snow Leopard which came out in 2009.  Frustrated with outdated tech, I tried emulating Snow Leopard for convenience.

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An example of Sequence Alignment Software

Interestingly it was emulation thought that sparked the idea to code software such as a Se-Al that can work in PC.  I realized I could pursue a degree in Computer Science to get the proper training and code whatever came across my mind.  It was an opportunity to meld logic and creativity to make a portfolio filled with projects that have utility and practicality while propelling innovation as well.

My Hobbies

Aside from programming endlessly for days, I greatly enjoy sketching in my free time.  I like drawing known fictional characters, in particular.  Sketching lets me relax while feeling immensely creative.  It’s also challenging and encourages me to constantly improve and hone on this craft.

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Groot from Avengers: Infinity War
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Jotaro Kujo from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure