Discovering the Need for Software Engineering Kinga Dobolyi A personal experience

Discovering the Need for
Software Engineering
A personal experience
Kinga Dobolyi
How I got started in CS
Working in Industry
Coming to grad school
What my research is about
• This is just my opinion
• You don’t have to listen to me (yet)
because I don’t have a prefix and suffix to
my name
• My perspective
How I got started in CS
I like art
I like science
I like organizing things
I like producing things
I like being creative
My family was into this stuff
The ‘brilliant’ plan
• Get a BS in Computer Science for the job
of ultimate mastery:
– I get to produce awesome things!
– I get to produce useful things!
– My field is not too subjective or too
– $$$$$$
– I get to be creative!
The ‘brilliant’ plan
• Get a BS in Computer Science for the job
of ultimate mastery:
– I get to produce awesome things!
– I get to produce useful things!
– My field is not too subjective or too
– $$$$$$
– I get to be creative!
What happened?
• A little background:
– Programming is not my favorite thing
– I had the ideal job:
Smart, very nice, mostly talented people
Small team
Worked on a project from end to end
Worked with all modern technologies
What I didn’t know
• 9-5 jobs are not my thing
• Commuting in DC area not happening
– Metro made it worse
• There were lots of problems with our
Software Engineering in Practice
• NOT ENOUGH TIME: either for real, or
• People don’t know what they’re doing
– Writing bad code
– Using tools to avoid thinking
– Not understanding their problem
– Nothing is organized
– Customers looking for developers to have all
the answers
What are the application problems?
Lack of communication
Lack of training
Lack of documentation and standards
What are Kinga’s problems
• Didn’t like sitting in an office (for the rest of my
• Creativity was a nice feature, but all the rework
to constant disagreement and confusion
• Didn’t get to interact with people at a deeper
• Didn’t like working in DC
– Then, one lucky day,
on the Metro…
What is this ‘Software Engineering’
you speak of?
• So, apparently, there is a field of CS that
addresses these issues?
• Now I get to figure out how to fix these
problems, and more
• Grad school
• Much more fulfilling opportunities
– I get to do “exactly” what I want
So what do I do now?
• Software Engineering research
– Dependability perspective
• Safety critical systems
– My perspective:
• Communication crisis
• Adaptation issues
• How do we either make better code, or make
better people, and ideally do this at the same time
You too, can be a…
• Do not avoid taking challenging classes, even if
you are not the best at programming
• Do have summer internships, for experience,
and to see what you like
• Do look into research as an undergrad, it’s not
as scary as it might sound
• Don’t be afraid to change your mind along the
• Do always, in life, have a role model
Final Plug…ACM-W!
• “The use of computers in modern life is
totally ubiquitous,” said Barbara G. Ryder,
a professor of computer science at
Rutgers University. “So there are niches all
over for people who understand what the
technology can do and also for people
who want to advance the technology.”
From Computer Science Takes Steps to Bring Women to the Fold
• Email:
Richard Hsu
A Little About Me
I’m your AC!
2nd Year CS Major Pre-med (?)
I like gadgets, photography, and automobiles
Oh and I like video games
I tend to get
The Job
How to get the job:
Early Bird gets the Worm
A Little Embellishment Never Hurt
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Yourself
• Meet your professors!
• Three Letters: XML
• Thought you would never
see this again?
Final Comments
• Make the internship yours
• Your coworkers are your friends
• JAVA /C++ / Python / SQL / LISP/ . . .
How I got into CS:
By not having any direction
• You should try something
• That didn’t work out…
• Uh Oh, I need a new class
• Professor Evans to the
Back when Toolkit used
to be cool…
Shameless Pitch
We need more students in this class!
Recruit your friends
Recruit your enemies
Recruit random CLAS students
I will course action anyone who comes
Friday into the class.