Advice to young people considering careers in computing

The general advice I give to young people is to follow their passion. That’s a pretty common answer to a question like this, but I really do think people do their best work when they are doing something they really care about and have a genuine interest in. I think of computing and the analytical mindset that it provides as being useful in pursuing a number of career paths.

The advice I give to my students when they are considering making a job decision is to go to the place where they think they will learn the most and make the biggest difference (in a broad sense). A career isn’t just defined by one’s first job, but is really about the kind of impact someone can have in the long term. Finding opportunities to learn as much as possible along the journey helps to create more opportunities for greater impact in the future. Especially given the pace at which computing evolves, it’s important to have a real commitment to life-long learning in this field.

~ Mehran Sahami

Challenges for Computing Science

For me, the first challenge for computing science is to discover how to maintain order in a finite, but very large, discrete universe that is intricately intertwined. And a second, but not less important challenge is how to mould what you have achieved in solving the first problem, into a teachable discipline: it does not suffice to hone your own intellect (that will join you in your grave), you must teach others how to hone theirs. The more you concentrate on these two challenges, the clearer you will see that they are only two sides of the same coin: teaching yourself is discovering what is teachable.

~ Edsger Dijkstra