Microsoft Coding Competition

Tonight was the Microsoft Coding Competition, essentially a hackathon sponsored by Microsoft. It was ran by the recruiters who were at the career fair yesterday. You were able to team up with 2 other friends and try to complete as many coding problems as possible. Whichever team had the most points at the end of a two hour span won.

Myself and another friend teamed up. There were a total of 6 problems, some having different point values. The problems were surprisingly difficult, especially for a two hour event, but then again this was Microsoft and you need to be the best. My friend and I did not win, unfortunately. We were glad to get some problems and see our team name up on the leaderboard at least, and get some free food of course.

I’m glad I went. It was definitely an experience and I had fun. I even won a t-shirt! So that was cool. I am saving all the problems that were a part of the competition to do on my own time for more practice.

-Ryan ’15

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A Simple Arduino Project

I partook in the first of many projects to come at Lehigh IEEE. It was informative, neat and simple. I had a lot of fun!

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Career Fair

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Yesterday was the career fair. It was very crowded and hot. Luckily, I got there early before the big crowds came. It was very helpful. I was able to talk to recruiters from many different companies and give out my resume. It was difficult to talk to recruiters from the top companies, such as Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Boeing, and others, because everyone wants to work there and it was a mob scene around each one of their booths.

The best part of the career fair was I was able to stop by and talk to the recruiters of companies I have already applied and interviewed for. The woman I had my initial phone interview with for the company that is my top choice currently was there, so I got the opportunity to speak with her for quite some time.

All in all, it was a great experience and am hoping I meet the needs of some companies and hear back from them soon.

-Ryan ’15

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Why CompE Over CompSci?

What is CompE?

Computer Engineering integrates Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to exist on its own as one of the most influential disciplines today. It makes sense for this day and age – anyone who wants to combine, rather than choose one of, the two aspects of a computer (hardware and software) can now do so.

Why CompE over CompSci?

Short answer – I love circuits as much as I love programming.

People have made very weird faces at me for wanting to major in CompE and said something along the lines of “Electricity and Magnetism? Ugh” or “Just major in CompSci. ECE is confusing.” I am taking my first ECE class right now and granted I am not an expert, boy do they have no idea what they are talking about. ECE 81 is my absolute favorite class this semester.

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It was hard to imagine how fun circuits could be until I gave them a chance. And when I did, they transcended my expectations. When solving a circuit problem, I try to become one with the circuit. There is no one way to solve the problem. I can pick my style and stick with what is comfortable for me. I can simplify it. I can look at it in multiple ways. The trick that works for me is to go with the flow, kind of like how current travels the path of no resistance. Prof. Best advises us to avoid forcing the solution. Think. Look at the problem. Do not miss the tiny details that can save fifteen minutes of crunching equations. ECE trains me to dispose of the “problem-solving” mentality that twelve years of public school had forced me into, and rebuilds me to think like an engineer. Prof. Best explained to the class the essence of electrical engineering with one line, “This stuff is elegant, people.”

Prof. Best advises most of his IDEAS students to take ECE 81, regardless of their majors, and especially if they are having trouble deciding on a major. I can see why. This class is for everyone. It allows people to think a certain way. And it’s quite a good time.

When there is two things I’d rather not live without and I can combine them, I see no reasons not to. That is why CompE is the ideal major for me.

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Resume Building

The resume is the single most important thing in a student’s search for a job or an internship. You can have fantastic credentials, but if you cannot convey your worth on the single sheet of paper known as the resume, you will have a hard time finding an internship or a job. Conversely, you may not be the best prospect, but if you play your cards right, people may think you would be a valuable asset to their company.

As a Computer Science and Business major, I was required to take BUS 001 my freshman fall. BUS 001 is Introduction to Business and gives students a general overview of what to expect as a business student. Students are assigned several writing assignments over the course of a semester; the second assignment is a resume. For me, this was the first time I had to write a resume. I struggled at first, but my professor helped me improve my resume to the point where it actually seemed pretty decent. Over the course of a year, I have been slowly adding things to my resume such as work experience. Today at the career fair, I will have a chance to see how my resume will fare in real practice. I will continue to revise my resume until it is outstanding.

Business students are required to take BUS 001, so all business students have a resume. However, other students are not required to have a resume through a certain class like BUS 001. This does not mean they are at a disadvantage. Career Services offers many resume workshops and will hold one on one meetings with students to perfect their resumes. Lehigh University does extremely well in caring for its students; it makes an active effort to help its students grab an edge in the job market. You cannot say the same thing about most other schools.

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Preparing for Job Interviews

Preparing for job interviews, technical interviews that is, has been one of the most difficult tasks I’ve had to do. Primarily because I never know exactly what I’m going to be asked. Each interview process can be different. It could be as simple as explaining what Object-Oriented Programming is and what the difference between an abstract class and an interface to as difficult as being asked to program on the spot or over the phone. Unless someone is an absolute genius I feel it is impossible to be fully prepared for a technical interview because there is always one question that could trip you up.

So, as I continue on my job search I have been looking everywhere for anything that could help me prepare better for the technical interview. Luckily, I stumbled across a book called “Cracking the Coding Interview.”
You can see it here:

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This book has been my bible for the past month or so. The author was a software engineer at some of the top companies; Google, Microsoft, and Apple. She was even on Google’s hiring committee. She takes you behind the scenes at all the top companies and what to expect if you’re interviewing for them. She then lays out essential concepts and data structures you should know inside and out before stepping foot into the interview room. The book most importantly has 150 questions/brainteasers and solutions that one would expect while interviewing. The questions are split among different sections relating to specific data structures and algorithms/concepts.

I have spent much of my time going through these questions and testing myself by picking one at random and attempting to complete it as quickly and efficiently as I can. I practice doing it on a whiteboard as well as actually coding a solution. Practicing on a whiteboard is important because in many interviews you are just sitting in a small conference room and are asked to write out a solution to a problem.

I recommend this book to every computer science student. It will help you prepare for the types of questions that recruiters will most likely ask you. If I get a top-level job, I will be writing the greatest review on Amazon to this woman because it would have played a huge role.

-Ryan ’15

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Struggling with a Program

I am currently in CSE 17 which is a second level computer science class on Java. This past week we were assigned our first larger programming assignment and for me, it was extremely difficult. This program was pretty much my first time working with objects (although Java is an object oriented language we did not get into objects last semester in CSE 2). The program was roughly 200 lines of code which probably is not much to an experienced programmer, but for me it was the longest program I have ever written. The program was designed to organize 15 wireless cell phone plans from cheapest to most expensive based on your wireless usage for the past 6 months. I really liked how the program we were assigned to create could have real world applications if slightly modified. I was kind of surprised that the program took me over six hours to write, because last semester I had very few issues completing the assignments and almost all of them took me under an hour. At first I didn’t really know what to do. Then I decided to have a friend better explain to me the way objects worked and I used google to help explain some of the smaller issues I was having. It was extremely frustrating but now that its over I will say I am glad to have a much better understanding of working with objects.

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