M.S. Informatics, 2012
Why did you choose this degree?
I received my undergraduate degree in Computer Science and I was searching for a program that focused on human-computer interaction. The Informatics program at UC Irvine is well known and I found the on-going research to be exciting. My interest in working with the faculty and the program’s focus on HCI made it a great fit.
Have you done an internship? If so, where and in what role?
I worked at Google as a Software Engineering Intern on the Google Reader team where I helped develop feed recommendations and various other features inside Google Reader (Google Reader was discontinued in 2013). I also participated in an internship at Microsoft as a Software Development Engineer on the Xbox Media Platform R&D team. While at Microsoft, I helped build out the interface and functionality on media applications (YouTube, Hulu, etc.) for the Xbox 360/Kinect.
What has been your career path since graduating with a M.S.?
After graduating, I’ve moved up to San Francisco and am working at a start-up that builds hardware and software. We were lucky enough to have been accepted to Y Combinator in the W13 batch and have since been growing the business. Having previously focused on software, I’ve been learning a ton about hardware and what it takes to build a successful business.
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
The scope of my current work requires me to wear many hats, ensuring that I’m always learning new things and I never get bored. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet incredibly smart and passionate people who are working on solving difficult problems.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
There’s no typical work day at a start-up. The rapid pace means that there’s always something that needs to be completed or a problem that needs to be solved. Otherwise, you’ll find me talking to customers, building software, or debugging hardware.
What was the best part of your experience at UCI?
The best part of my experience at UCI was getting to know the students and faculty and having the privilege of working with them. I found the ongoing research projects exciting and they made me want to learn more and work harder. Of course, it doesn’t hurt being in Southern California.
In what way(s) did your studies prepare you for your career to date?
My time at UC Irvine has helped me expand my skillset as an engineer. The Informatics program provides a solid understanding of how people interact with technology, which is essential when designing successful products.
What would be your advice to incoming students who might want to follow a similar career path?
My advice to incoming students would be to try new things and make an effort to meet a variety of people on campus. Consider finding a research project you’re interested in and work with the faculty. If you’re looking to work in the industry after your degree, be sure to apply for internships during the summer to get valuable experience in the field. Finally, there are a number of opportunities for new experiences at UCI; consider taking a scuba diving class at the ARC, trying the rope course with your friends or riding the hot air balloon at the Great Park.