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My $0.02 on Why you should join The Graduate School? Kartik Gopalan kartik@cs.binghamton PowerPoint Presentation
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My $0.02 on Why you should join The Graduate School? Kartik Gopalan Grad School. Acknowledgements for Material: Tzi-cker Chiueh, Andy Wang. = Binghamton!!. Myth 1. I cannot afford graduate school…. Reality. Graduate school is FREE (pretty much)

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My $0.02 on Why you should join The Graduate School? Kartik Gopalan kartik@cs.binghamton

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    1. My $0.02 on Why you should join The Graduate School? Kartik Gopalan Grad School Acknowledgements for Material: Tzi-cker Chiueh, Andy Wang = Binghamton!!

    2. Myth 1 I cannot afford graduate school…

    3. Reality • Graduate school is FREE (pretty much) • For both public and private schools • You get paid to learn!! • If you are good enough to get into a graduate school, there are… • Scholarships/grants (get paid to study) • Research assistantship (work for a lab) • Teaching assistantship (work for a class) • Graduate assistantship (work for the university) • Internships (work for a local company) • Some are even part-time grad students with a full-time job, though it could be very demanding.

    4. Myth 2 I won’t have a chance to get into a graduate school…

    5. Reality • You are in luck • If you are a US citizen or permanent resident… • Also if you are a woman or underrepresented minority in CS. • Uncle Sam wants you in Grad School !! • Not enough US students are pursuing graduate education • That’s why schools go looking for International students. • Your BIG advantages • Eligible for many more funding sources • No language barriers • Often, much lower cost to hire domestic students as a research assistant or teaching assistant.

    6. Myth 3 Graduate school is a waste of time and money… …I can earn more money by working all those years in industry.

    7. Reality • Graduate degree increases your market value several folds • Googles, IBMs, and Microsofts of this world cannot find enough qualified American M.S. and Ph.D graduates. (or so they say!) • Starting pay scales • B.S. – $30K to $60K • M.S. – $60K to $100K • Ph.D. – $90K to $130K (more if you work for wall street, but that’s another story!) • And guess who is considered first for those promotions? • Work performed by M.S. or Ph.D. graduates is less likely to be outsourced. • A graduate degree is a proof of your critical thinking skills. • Proof that you are not just another replaceable coding machine. • You are in a better position to start your own company. • Better able to reason about long-term trends

    8. Myth 4 Graduate curriculum is more of the same undergraduate curriculum…

    9. Reality: Masters is the new Bachelors • Everybody has a Bachelors degree • You are all smart. • So what distinguishes you from the crowd??? • Many who understand this new reality are even willing to pay their way through grad school. • Master • Do a thesis or project • Emphasis on development of large software systems and even research. • Ph.D. • Discover/build something new • Complete emphasis on research and publications

    10. Myth 5 All CS jobs are going to India, China, Brazil, Russia, Korea, Taiwan…you name it

    11. Reality • Only partly true • Globalization is a reality • BUT so is the need to compete globally • Yes, mostly lower-end and many higher-end IT jobs too are being offshored • People in Bangalore design jet engines for Boeing and CPU chips for Intel. • BUT, Computing is everywhere and all the time in our lives • Finance, health care, transportation, defense, education, communication, bio-engineering, retail…everywhere • We will ALWAYS need computer scientists RIGHT HERE on the ground • There will always be CS jobs that can’t be out-sourced… • And many that can actually be brought in. • A higher degree isyourpassport to success in a globalized marketplace

    12. Metric of Success • Undergraduate • GPA • Master • Projects, thesis, skill set • Ph.D. • Number of quality publications • Time management is the key to success as a graduate student • Velocity Matters! • Kill with speed. Especially when others in the race have same or better skills than you.

    13. Application Process • Requirements • GRE Scores • GPA • Personal statement • 3 to 4 recommendation letters • Relevant upper-division courses • Independent studies • Internships • Apply to as many universities as you can • Increases the probability of getting admitted • This is one time you don’t want to hold back on spending • Your career is on the line! • Contact professors whose research areas you like • They are always looking for good students • Ask if you can visit the school to get a feel • They may not mind even paying for your trip • Decide where to apply based on feedback. • DO apply to Binghamton!!

    14. GRE Exams • • General GRE • English • Math • Analytics • Computer science GRE • Theory • Systems • Architecture • Typically offered several times a year • Preparing for GRE • Start preparing at least 6 to 8 months in advance • Work through MANY sample tests • Aim around 1400+ in (quant. + verbal) and 90+ percentile in Subject GRE

    15. Recommendation LettersWhom/When/How to approach? • Whom • If you receive an A in a class • If you did a research project or independent study • When • Ask the professor as quickly as possible after the course/project • How: • Ask them candidly if they can give you a GREAT letter • A bad/lukewarm letter is worse than no letter. • If you got anything less than A or A-, their letter is unlikely to be impressive. (Hint hint: PLAN AND WORK ON GETTING AN A!) • Ask for their opinion about the schools where you are applying • Give them reference material well in advance • With deadlines for different schools • Photo, personal statement, resume, transcript • Ask them if they need a draft letter to save time • But DON’T insist on giving a draft letter. • Its always better if they write it themselves. • DON’T ask for a copy of the letter • Impolite and perhaps even unethical

    16. Remember… • This is probably your ONLY CHANCE to get into Grad School. • Many people try to come back after working for few years, but very few succeed. • Inertia will be too high. You will be older, your mind will be slower, the new kids will be faster! • Do it while you are on the roll and fresh and full of energy!! • You will be getting paid to learn… • …in a country that offers the world’s best higher education!! • This happens at very few places in the world. • It’s a unique opportunity. • So make the best out of this opportunity.

    17. My $0.02 on Succeeding in Graduate School (….Once you are in grad school) Slide Acknowledgements: Tzi-cker Chiueh (Stony Brook)

    18. Succeeding as a Grad student • You must have fun with what you are doing. • Motivation • Curiosity > Prove yourself > Impress your advisor > Get a degree • You should be in this for yourself, not for anyone else. • URGENCY (Velocity kills) • Speed of developing a system is as important as the speed of the system itself !! • Don’t passively wait to be pushed • Display a sense of purpose and urgency • Be Pro-active • It's YOUR project/thesis, i.e., your degree & job counts on it!! • AmbitionTry to do the impossible > Build a cool widget > Just get by

    19. Succeeding as a Grad student • Common sense • Think your way through problems • Develop independentproblem solving skills • Be humble, not arrogant. • BUT trust your intelligence…don’t be intimidated. • Hard Work • Intelligence alone is not enough • Einstein  99% perspiration  for the rest of us its 99.99999% • Clear mind • Try to quickly figure out what you want. • Don’t waste time doing things you don’t want to be doing ultimately. • Distraction is deadly in grad school.

    20. Succeeding as a Grad student • Preparation • Know the basics • If you don’t, learn quickly on your own • Broaden your scope of learning and research • Computer science is too young a field to over-specialize. • Boundaries melt all the time. • Its changing too quickly to lock yourself up in one sub-area. • Excellence is expensive • The 90-10 rule • The last 10% to perfection consumes 90% of the effort, • It is also what distinguishes mediocrity from excellence. • Stroustrup is still perfecting C++ after 20 years !! • Knuth took 12 years to perfect LaTex ! • (Don’t take that long to graduate though!)

    21. Succeeding as a Grad student • You get to educate your Advisor : It’s a two-way street! • Occasionally drop by your advisor’s office and say ``what if we do XYZ?'' • Best students know more than their advisor. • Advisor is like a basketball coach • Can teach you strategies to win, assuming you know how to dribble • Driblling = Coding, debugging, problem solving, basic writing skills, work ethics • Strategy • Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize!!! • Grad school is all about time management. • Recognize what is important versus what is urgent. • Plan ahead: next week/month rather than just next hour/day. • Good writing skill is CRITICAL • Network whenever possible • References, job contacts, tech gurus, forums, conferences etc. • CS Research is as much about people skills as it is about science

    22. Must Read • “Mental ABC’s of pitching”, • Book by H.A.Dorfman • $14 on Amazon  Go get it! • “The Common Denominator of Success” • Essay by Albert E.N. Gray (try Google on the title again) “The common denominator of success -- the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful -- lies in the fact that he formed the habitof doing things that failures don't like to do … in order to accomplish the purpose they want to accomplish .“ • “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” • Book by Stephen R. Covey • “Collected Advice on Research and Writing” • At CMU website (try Google on the title)

    23. Final thoughts • This is probably your last time in Grad School. • Time runs out quickly. • Many of you are getting paid to learn… • …in a country that offers best higher education!! • It’s a unique opportunity. • So make the best out of your time here to get what you want! • In other words,Don’t blow it!

    24. (More) Final thoughts Pooh Bear coming down bump, bump, bump “….there must be a better way to come downstairs, if only I could stop bumping to think about it” NOW is the time to think about “IT” Later  the ride only gets bumpier 

    25. Slides available at Good Luck!