Career Advice From Computer Science

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A computer scientist considers an example of a common scenario among young professionals:

Image courtesy of Pixabay.
I know a brilliant young kid who graduated from college a year ago and now works at a large investment bank. He has decided he hates Wall Street and wants to work at a tech startup... He recently gave notice to his bosses, who responded by putting on a dog and pony show to convince him to stay. If he stays at the bank, the bosses tell him, he'll get a raise and greater responsibility. Joining the technology industry, he'd be starting from scratch. He is now thinking that he'll stay, despite his convincing declaration that he has no long term ambitions in finance. [bold added]
Chris Dixon likens this situation to "hill climbing," a common computational technique. The analogy between the two problems is a good one, encompassing both the trap-like type of incorrect solutions and the means for avoiding them.

In many respects, Dixon's post reminds me of the excellent job-and-career exploration advice Barbara Sher provides in Chapter 9 of I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What It Was, and Jean Moroney very briefly summarizes in the middle of this review. (Search for "wrong job" if in a hurry.) Indeed, were Dixon's unhappy investment banker to read Sher's book, he might even salvage his situation by thinking of it as having already taken the wrong job as a step towards finding the right career.

-- CAV

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