Keys to Success - What I'd tell my younger self and any aspiring computer science student.
posted on Sept. 28, 2012, 1:20 p.m. by Srinath Krishna Ananthakrishnan
last edited on Sept. 28, 2012, 1:22 p.m.

Tags: success

After reading the article, I was happy that I finally get to write about something I've been thinking for a long time now.

First of all, the main trait which I think that has helped me come this far is going the extra mile. If I'm really interested in something, I do it way ahead of others and don't wait till the last minute. I use the rest of the time to either improve upon it or do something else. If there's something I don't like but it needs to be done, I strive to do the same, so that I could use the remaining time to do something actually useful for me. But, that sometimes doesn't happen and I end up doing it at the last minute. This I know I do because of my lack of inclination towards the task.

If I had a chance to meet my younger self or any young computer science student, I would say these.

0. This is mentioned in the post. But I'd like to reiterate. No job is menial. When I started out, I started with flashy stuff like HTML, JavaScript, Flash and the like which stimulate your visual senses and hence make you more interested. But, as times progressed, I went deeper and deeper and came to grips with system programming and assembly. Over this period of time, I absolutely loathed anyone who did something with HTML saying that it isn't real computer science. I know, I was very very myopic. But, I later realised that no job is bad. Without HTML, we wouldn't have all these beautiful websites. So, my first advice (for lack of a better word) is to embrace everything. Computer Science is a vast field. There's always something (even many things) that'll trickle your fantasies but don't despise the rest.

1. Persevere. Sit through it. If something doesn't come up, don't give up soon. Burn the midnight oil and make sure you complete it.

2. Cultivate more professional friends. Even though you have lots of friends on facebook, make sure you make some friends purely for the pursuit of knowledge. If they happen to be your best friends, then kudos. If you can't find someone, there's always interesting knowledge sharing onlien communities like Quora and stackoverflow.

3. If you are good at something apart from computers, don't give it up. I learnt Indian classical music for 10+ years and once I started working, I stopped learning. Even though I sing often these days, I'm not as good as I was back then.

4. Be more curious. There are thousands and thousands of things that you don't know. All you know is a molecule and there's an ocean out there. Remind yourself of that. Even though you cannot scale the ocean in your lifetime, try to scale as much as you can and learn as much as you can. This, you can do, only by being curious. If you are not curious, you are failing to be a full human being. For instance, you should have been attentive and be curious about why I began these pointers with the index 0. :)

5. Have fun! This is THE most important part. If you are not having fun, there's absolutely no point. Eat healthy, sleep well and live a beautiful life. Computer scientists have a wonderful life. How many people get the chance to work on so many stuff? If you are computer science student, you can work on physics, math, chemistry, music, finance and what not. That's the beauty of being a computer scientist. Be proud about what you do and have faith in yourself. Remeber to connect the dots backward. :)


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