Computer Science and Information Technology Graduating class 2020

A message from the Chair of Computer Science and Information Technology to our graduating class 2020!

Computer Science and Information Technology Graduating class of 2020: 

Over the last years you have worked very hard, and with your resolve and commitment you have obtained one of the “best” most viable degrees: Computer Science and Information Technology.

Along the way you have acquired hard technical skills, but also very important so called “soft” skills, although there is nothing “soft” about them, such as persuasion, empathy, work discipline, the ability to see things through.

Now you are going to start a new chapter, one that is even more exciting than university: work in your field. I am going to borrow from Frank Hanna’s great book, A Graduate’s Guide to Life, with subtitle Three things they don’t teach you in College that could make all the difference, and give you 3 secrets to success:

  1. A quote form Josef Jungmann “education is the process of introducing a person to reality”. Continue to strive to see things as they really are; not as you wish them to be, not in a way that makes you feel better, but in a way that they truly are. Let your decisions and plans be measured by reality.
  2. Watch any nature show and you will see the animals competing. They compete for food, water, pawer, respect. And we human beings belong to the animal kingdom, but we are also civilized (the word means not acting like animals). Most scientists concur that over the past 10 thousand years we have built an increasingly prosperous and sophisticated civilization via cooperation, not competition. So the second piece of advice is that you chose collaboration over competition. 
  3. Is Bill Gates wealthy? What if I told you that Bill Gates just found out that he has one day to live (Steve Jobs, founder of Apple was in that place). Is he still wealthy? How much do you think he would pay for 10 more years? The proper understanding of wealth is that it is a measure of our well-being, most accurately measured in the quality of our human capital (you just made a huge investment in your human capital by obtaining a degree) and relationships (not talking about shallow networking here), and the hope and expectations of those relationships. The secret of life, and indeed the secret of wealth, is to enter into good relationships with others!

Let me summarize; as you leave our campus and start your career:

  1. Let your decisions and plans be measured by reality
  2. Choose collaboration over competition
  3. The secret of life (and wealth) is to enter into good relationships with others

In light of the 3rd piece of advice, please stay connected, with each other and with your professors. LinkedIn estimates that 80% of jobs are found through one’s network. But more importantly, it is crucial to stay in touch with those with whom you share an important part of your past → your school friends. Please stay connected with your instructors, especially with those you grew closer with, and with the university through its alumni program. As a young university we have a small alumni group, but it is such an important group, especially for the new students, so they can witness that at the end of all the work and dedication there is a better life for them, their families, and their communities.

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