Healthy Living, Happy Life

As I was thinking of an idea to write about that could relate to labor day weekend, I decided to write about healthy living. By healthy living, I don’t strictly mean diet and exercise alone. For those of you reading this and ran cross country with me in high school, you probably already know where I’m going with this.

Healthy living isn’t just about eating right and exercising. Eating right and exercising is an important part of healthy living, but healthy living goes beyond that. If you’re unhappy with your life even when you’re physically fit, then you’re in an unhealthy state of mind, which ultimately is an unhealthy living condition. So what are the keys to healthy living? In my opinion healthy living is dependent upon the people you surround yourself with, the way you look at things in life, and doing everything in moderation.

Why do the people you surround yourself matter? Simply put, these people influence your mood, the way you think, and ultimately how you perceive yourself. Take a moment and look at your family, closest friends, and co-workers. If any of these people surround you with negativity, this negativity affects your mood over time. To a certain extent the people you surround yourself with may have negative moments, but those aren’t the people we’re talking about. Some people have toxic personalities about them and if they’re your family members, then you don’t really have a choice whether or not you associate yourself with them. But in general, try not to surround yourself with toxic people. Spend time with people who help build you up, and return the favor.

As I wrote about in my previous post about perspective, the way you look at things matter. If you look at things constantly in a pessimistic way, then again, you are in an unhealthy state of mind. Sure there are always things that are purely negative like violence, crime, etc., and that’s just a part of life. But when you take something positive and start pointing out the negatives unnecessarily, you steer yourself in a direction where most of what you notice will be negative. By looking at things in a positive standpoint, you not only relieve stress on yourself, but you’re also a more pleasant person to be around.

Moderation, something we don’t see much of in America. In a country where a lot of us binge eat and drink, these actions lead to unhealthy living habits. My coach in high school used to preach about moderation on a daily basis. Moderation is a something you can apply to every aspect of your life. Work, eat, drink, and exercise in moderate amounts. By doing this, you’ll reduce stress, stay physically healthy, and also disciplined.

By paying attention to these factors and actively looking out for yourself, you’ll set yourself up for a healthier and happier life. Eating right and exercising is definitely an important factor to life, but taking it to the point where you do the drastic Hollywood diets isn’t necessary. Like I said above, practice moderation and you’ll be fine even if you eat junk food.

 

Thanks for reading. Have a good labor day weekend. Feel free to comment below.

Opportunities, Where Are They?!

A lot of my friends have been talking to me about lack of opportunities recently. I understand that feeling, but I also don’t agree with the idea that there are a lack of opportunities. In my opinion opportunities surround us everywhere we go. These opportunities come in various forms, but at the end of the day, they still provide us with some sort of positive change. Whether it’s a job, advice, or a new friend all these things are opportunities. The difference between what we currently consider as an opportunity and what is actually an opportunity is quite small. The difference lies within our own perspective and what can be compared to as tunnel vision. The most surprising thing about life is how unexpected opportunities can come from any angle. This is why I don’t believe in squandering any opportunity you’re given.

A recent example of this in my life is the career fair I went to on Tuesday. For one, I knew which companies would be there and where I wanted to apply but at the end of the day, I didn’t expect to meet the talent acquisition manager at Panasonic that had handled my interview last month. The day before I made sure to look up his name in case I did somehow meet him and that’s exactly what happened. I then was able to thank him face to face for all he had done for me as well as ask him how I should proceed in searching for future opportunities within Panasonic. Another opportunity presented itself with Western Digital. Their booths representatives took interest in my skill set, but more importantly, they informed me of their 9 to 12 month training program meant to facilitate the transition of new engineers into their industry. The project manager I spoke with told me that when he graduated with the same major I have, he didn’t have the necessary skills to work at such a technical company. In his opinion, the majority of new engineering graduates don’t have such skills and need a program to help develop them. So all in all, from a career fair I didn’t expect much out of, I learned a lot and was surprised at how focused my tunnel vision originally was.

In summary, all sorts of opportunities surround around us. There’s no telling who you’ll meet and what they’ll do, but in the end, meeting new people expands both your networks and presents new opportunities at the same time.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment!

CLA+(Post College SAT) VS My Diploma

So last night after I got home from going to the career fair and visiting friends in that area, I stumbled upon this article discussing a new standardized test that colleges may offer to their seniors as they approach graduation. Overall it’s like the SAT in the sense that it is supposed to be able to help employers have a unified scale to evaluate new graduates with. The main cause of this is the lack of faith in college GPA’s due colleges inflating their GPA’s to stay competitive with other colleges.

In my opinion this test will help for a few years, but eventually those test preparation schools will develop programs just like they have for the SAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and so on. I never understood the value of the SAT after these prep schools developed programs to prepare people for them because at the end of the day, the high performances were results of those who attended these prep schools, and the low performances were from people who didn’t attend or study. I remember my cross country coach always telling us about how when he was in high school, no one studied for the SAT. They just scheduled their test and showed up that morning. In my opinion that’s the only time these standardized tests actually prove anything.

So what does that mean for our diplomas? Well for those of us lucky enough to be graduating this year or have already graduated, our diplomas still hold some meaning. But for those unfortunate future college graduates, they’ll have to prepare for that exam as well as their normal finals. At the end of the day the exam isn’t meant to be some specialty ball breaker. It’s meant to evaluate how well the person can problem solve, read and comprehend professional documents, and as a whole evaluate how ready a person is for the workforce, whatever that may mean.

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

RE: NYC Engineer Wants to Help Homeless Man With Software Coding Classes

This morning I came across this article on Yahoo: Article Here

In the article, a software engineer in New York City gives a homeless man that he passes everyday on the street the option of taking $100 cash or coding lessons which include a laptop, 3 javascript books, and daily 1 hour lessons in the morning.

Buried in the comments of the article as well as the man’s blog, people criticize him for not understanding homeless people’s’ problems. But I disagree with the criticism. People should not criticize him for helping a person in this way because this is a unique situation. At the end of the day, the choice was the homeless man’s. $100 dollars versus lessons, plain and simple. It’s like that saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” At the end of the day, it isn’t our place to criticize a person for taking the initiative to help someone else. How many of us are doing the same thing right now?

Thanks for reading. I just wanted to share the article if people haven’t seen it yet and give a little insight on what my thoughts are about this.

Aug 23 Post Interview Reflection

So my interview with NG finished 15 minutes ago. I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks two blocks north of their campus catching glances of people staring at the overdressed kid in the cafe. I wanted to write this post while the interview is still fresh in my mind.

Overall I think the interview went well. I didn’t get asked to write any programs on the white board, but I think that’s because this is only the first in house interview. I forgot to ask them about their hiring process so I’m not sure. The topics covered in this interview revolved around my knowledge of networking concepts and procedures, problem solving approaches, and time management.

The interview started off with two people, then three, and finally the fourth person showed up. I think one of my interviewers may have nodded off during the interview, but he wasn’t that active anyways. In this interview, I decided to take the initiative and introduce myself under my own terms rather than wait for the interviewers to break the awkward silence. That set me up pretty well because they got a taste of my personality rather then just a dry explanation of what I  studied and why I studied it. We then proceeded to the first topic they wanted to address, my knowledge of what their team works on.

So the team I was interviewing with focuses on communications techonology. The one topic on my resume that relates to what they do is networking concepts and protocols. Now I don’t claim to be an expert in this topic, but I understand enough of it to know how it works and relates to what goes on in their products. In this portion, I answered that majority of the questions on the first go, but I had to clarify a few of my answers in order to please the interviewer who nodded off. All in all, I think I did well in this portion of my interview.

The second grouping of questions I received was about problem solving, debugging, and product completeness. This section was a little more challenging because the answers for these aren’t already established standards/procedures. In this question they asked me how I go about testing my projects, how I use the debuggers I’ve experienced before, and what I consider to be a complete project. They were impressed with my answer to the last question. In my opinion, a project isn’t complete when you get the compiler to stop complaining. A project only has some semblance of completion when your initial use/test cases are complete, and the client is satisfied. There are always things you can go back to improve upon in your project such as optimization or more functionality. The thing that apparently impressed them the most at this point was that  an entry level applicant knew that you aren’t done when the compiler stops complaining.

The last big group of questions they had for me revolved around how I manage my time. The biggest question in this section is how I would go about determining when to ask for help if I did not know how to do something. My answer was simple, given the time constraints on a project and the deadlines for each goal,  I would ask for help as soon as I could not find resources that could aid me in understanding the problem. To this they  smiled and asked me why my answer was such. For those of you who don’t know me well, I strongly value time. Time is more valuable than money simply because money can be replaced but time can’t. So in my explanation, I spoke honestly about how as a college student I learned the how big of a difference the quality of work is between procrastinating on a programming assignment and attacking the assignment early. To my answer they laughed and admitted that they’ have all been there and that they were glad that I answered so honestly.

In the end, I think the ace in my sleeve during this interview was when I revealed to them that I had read up on Link 22, 16, 11, and a few of their products as well as my ability to ask questions regarding implementing these technologies. Two of the interviewers said they had never met a candidate that read that much in detail about their technologies. After I told them this, they seemed to be more relaxed.

What can I improve on? I think the clarity/conciseness of some of my answers was lacking. If I had a little more time to prepare for this interview I would have been able to practice more. Instead, I spent that time researching and learning about the company and products. We’ll see if that trade-off pays off. The interview that walked me out asked me if I would be open to starting as an intern before being extended a full time position. I told her sure, but financially it would have to be worth relocating for.  Overall, this interview was much stronger than the interview I had with another team in this company.

Looking forward I will be attending a career fair in the OC next week. This  will be the first time I’ll be handing out my business card which also has this blog’s address on it. Hopefully someone is curious enough to explore the blog because of the card.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment. I will now go fatten myself up with some good bbq!

Studying For Interviews, Yes Or No?

So I have an interview coming up this Friday which I scheduled this afternoon. My typical approach to interview preparation is to review material that I feel is necessary for the job and what will most likely be asked in an interview. To me, this feels like the right thing to do. By spending my time to prepare means not wasting the interviewer’s time being unprepared and fumbling over questions they deem simple.

Isn’t this common sense/common practice? It is, but the reason why I’m writing this post is because during one of my interviews, I let the interviewer know what I do in my free time when I don’t have interviews scheduled. I told her that in my free time, I go over past material and textbooks and read up on things I have learned as a refresher. I started this practice my junior year of college because of what the only teacher in my whole life that has given me a F said. He told us, not even the smartest people understand everything they read/learn the first time. So after that, I began to review in my free time. But this interviewer laughed at the idea of preparing for interviews. In her opinion, a person should not have to prepare because they should just come to the interview as is. If you come as is, interviewers are able to gauge what you remember instead of what you just reviewed. Is she wrong? Not completely.

Like I said above, I prefer to prepare so that I know I’ve done my best as well as not waste the other person’s time. Ultimately reviewing is good because you pick up on the small details that you’ve forgotten over time. Reviewing also reinforces what you already know.

If any project managers, bosses, people who have given interviews in technical fields, or people in general are reading this, let me know how you feel about what that interviewer said to me. I’ve expressed my opinion, I’d love to hear yours.

Thanks again for reading. Comment below on what you think.

Advice

So recently I’ve been getting a lot of advice from friends and family acquaintances about what I should be doing at my age. Overall I appreciate the advice coming my way because it shows that they care enough to think of the position I’m in. Naturally, as an individual, I do not agree with some of the advice that comes my way.

In my opinion giving advice isn’t solely about what YOU think the other person should do. Giving good advice should require the person giving the advice to put themselves into the shoes of the person they are giving advice to. You should not just advise someone to do something that you would do because the circumstances can be different. A simple example of this would be a millionaire telling his less fortunate friend to just buy a new car if his friend’s car has just broken down. Life isn’t as simple as that. So why am I criticizing other people’s approach to giving advice? I’m not. I simply want to offer my approach to giving advice and offer my perspective on this.

Giving advice is a delicate thing to do. First off, if you’re being asked to give advice, it means the person asking you values your opinion(s) and wants your point of view. Hopefully you get all the facts so that the overall picture is clear, otherwise regardless of what you tell them, they may not heed the advice. As I said above, giving advice isn’t solely reliant on what you would do if you were in their predicament, but it is also reliant on understanding what they are able to do with their current resources. For example, I’ve been told that I should go look for a job in Taiwan or China. How am I expected to survive out there without the ability to read or write in Chinese? I do speak enough Mandarin to get by, but there is no way I could speak in technical terms in a work environment. So what is left to giving advice? Advice that you give should be neutral. Your own religious, moral, or personal beliefs should not affect the advice you give. Why is that? It’s simple, not everyone believes in the same thing.

So in the end, this post isn’t about my criticism of the advice that has come my way, it’s merely my way of expressing my concerns about how advice is given. I do appreciate any form of advice that I receive, but some of what I have received so far is not feasible in my present situation.

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to express your opinion in the comments.

Job Hunting With A Passion

Sorry readers/followers, I haven’t been very consistent with my posts recently. This was pointed out by one of my readers who actively comments on my blog. For some reason I’ve had writer’s block this week. I have a few ideas still outlined and ready to be written but I can’t get the flow right in those posts. Rather than waste your time with poorly written rambling, I’d rather wait until the post is quality material than release it prematurely. With that being said, I’ll move onto this posts topic.

As of today, I have been unemployed following college graduation for 4 months and 19 days. Since my friend in New York started pushing me to apply out of state, I’ve expanded the search to not only cities in California, but also NYC, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, and larger cities in Texas. The list of cities aren’t limited to the ones I’ve stated, they’re just the ones I can think of off the top of my mind. Over the length of this long period of unemployment, I must admit, I have been questioning what I have been doing and if computer engineering was the right program for me to have studied in college. To be honest, I don’t think it matters what a person studies in college. What really matter is their ability to think and the will power to see that their ideas are followed through. With that in mind, I’ve been analyzing my own personality.

Jack of all trades. Those four words summarize how I view myself as a person as well as my skill set. Overall I’m pretty sure I’m not a genius. I won’t ever be the one launching a tech start up, or the rank one student in my classes. But I am able to process a problem in real life, break it down, and try to figure out a solution for that problem. It may not be optimized at first, but at the end of the day, my solution works. But there needs to be a kicker, a key spark that interviewers look for and desire.

When I was searching around on Google, I came across a message board post from a recent Physics major graduate who wanted to crack into software engineering. Unfortunately he has been facing the same issues as I have. Companies are unwilling to take a shot on him because of his lack of internships in college. Personally I can see why companies do not want to hire someone with no internship experience, but then again, not everyone is given the opportunity or has skill set required at the time they’re looking for internships. One of the message board responses asked him if he had any projects to help emphasize his “passion” for the field he wanted to crack. This response opened my eyes. It has me wondering what my passion in software engineering was/is.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, the main reason I got into computer engineering is because of my interest in computers how they work, their design, and the concepts behind their creation. But the deeper reason I chose engineering is because of what engineering implies. Engineers create new products. The products they create become tools that help enhance the living standards of society. The question then is what I want/would like to create. Ideally whatever company or project I become involved in, my biggest goal is for the product to have a positive impact on someone’s life. By positive impact, I mean I will never be involved in weapons or any other project that has the intention to inflict harm on others. So what does that leave me with? Out of all the topics I’ve been exposed to in college versus all the topics out there in the world, there’s just so many choices. That there is my dilemma. As of now, I can only build on the skills I’ve learned and hope to find something that interests me more. It isn’t to say I don’t have interests/passion within software engineering, I’m just not at the level where I can go into complex projects on my own.

In the end, the take away point of this post is that employers and interviewers are looking to find what sets candidates apart from others. Many people apply for jobs because they need to do something for money, but employers want an employee that can get behind their vision and help push it further through mutual interest rather than someone just going through the motions and doing their job. Demonstrate your passion in interviews no matter what field you’re in.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.

Put Into Perspective

As individuals, everyone naturally sees things from their own point of view. It’s not something that we actively think about, we just do it because that’s the default point of view that our mind, body, and eyes put us in. The one daily activity where we look at ourselves from another point of view is when we’re standing in front of a mirror. It’s funny how it’s that mindless and simple. By looking at ourselves in a mirror, we see how other people perceive us. That brings up the topic of this post, why it is important to look at things from multiple perspectives.

What we see and think as individuals varies. Nothing in life is as simple as we think it is. Nothing in life is approached from the same exact angle. So why should we bother looking at things in different perspectives? I never really gave this much thought growing up as a kid. It wasn’t until freshman year of college in my research paper writing class that this topic was brought up in one of our reading assignments. A professor at Berkeley wrote a book about plants and their behavior coming from the plant’s perspective. Growing up, I just took flowers, fruits, and plant forms for granted. They were just various forms of food or plant life that evolved over time. But plants have their forms to attract or repel animals, flowers to attract insects to pollinate them, and fruits so that animals or gravity help spread their seed.

Now how does that apply to us humans? Well it’s simple, what we think is a useless action for us may not be a useless action for someone else. It’s like they say, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” To a certain degree this post isn’t telling you to over analyze how people view your actions, behaviors, or words. This post is meant to spark thought into how you view your daily surroundings. A lot of negativity in this world comes from the lack of thought and understanding of actions people take in our surroundings. The beauty of being a kid is how curious we are to learn about why others do what they do. At some point in life, we stop wondering why and just pass judgement on other people’s actions instead. By stepping back and asking why someone is doing something, we take the time to try to understand their actions. In doing so, we limit our negativity and open ourselves to a genuine form of understanding.

In college I had a professor who would always argue the other side of a question whether he agreed with it or not. He would ask the class a question and take answers. Then he would have you defend your answer against the counter argument. By doing this he not only helped others see the other side of an argument, but it also exposed the flaws of their own initial thoughts. Seeing this in action reinforced the importance of looking at things from both sides.

So the next time you see something that you don’t understand, take the time to try to understand it.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment.

Safety Standards, Why Everything Needs Them?

So this morning after I got out of the shower, I went to the kitchen to find something to eat. As I stepped into the kitchen I wondered why it was so hazy in the house, that’s when I smelled smoke. Next to my microwave, my mom had her SoyQuick (link to a picture of said machine) soy milk maker running. Normally there’s nothing wrong with it, but today it was smoking and so was my counter top. I immediately went over and unplugged it, and picked up off of the counter top. Once I cooled the machine down with cold water, I went to get my mom to show her what happened. Her response was, “oops, I forgot to add water.”

As I was cleaning up the machine and throwing it out, I was looking around on the body and into the circuitry of the machine. It struck me that the machine had no form of user error detection, let alone an automatic shut off for events like this. This accident has made me realize why everything engineers design and release to the public should have some form of protection against user error. When we design the products we make our first thoughts and focus is mostly on functionality and efficiency. That’s why quality assurance engineers are so important. They’re focus is to find ways to break these products prior to release so that the engineers can improve their initial design so that it protects the user on the other side.

America generally has pretty high safety standards, but Asia on the other hand doesn’t. This has been seen in their food, toys, and electronics industries. To a certain degree it isn’t completely their fault, but rather the fault of the counterfeiters that plague third world countries. But the soymilk machine that my mom was using was an Asian product. It had no form of user safety, no sensors to detect if there was an adequate amount of water, and no automatic shutoff preventing fires caused from overheating.

It’s simple mistakes and accidents caused by these mistakes that makes me appreciate the need for more stringent safety standards that we have in America. As an aspiring engineer this accident has reminded me of what my professors told us in school, “your designs can kill someone, it is your moral responsibility to prevent your product from doing harm to your user.” The simplest tools we have only require a small mistake before they hurt us.

 

Thanks for reading, I hope this post provides a little insight.