Development, Education, Life

Halfway There

Another term in Cambridge has gone by - four out of nine to go. In the meantime, here's a quick update of what I've been up to in the past few months.

1. Microsoft internship

Redmond, WA, 2011

Redmond, WA, 2011

In January I had the opportunity to visit Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, WA, to interview for the Software Development Engineer in Test intern position in the Office team. In short - a great trip, in every aspect.

I left London Heathrow on January 11th, 2:20 PM and landed in Seattle Tacoma at 4:10 PM (I suspect that there might have been a few time zones in between those two points). I arrived in Mariott Redmond roughly an hour later, which meant that because of my anti-jetlag technique ("do not go to bed until 10-11 PM in the new timezone no matter what") I had a few hours to kill. Ample time to unpack, grab a dinner in Mariott's restaurant and go for a short stroll around Redmond before going to sleep.

On the next day I had four interviews arranged. The interviews themselves were absolutely stress-free, it felt more like a chance to meet and have a chat with some properly smart (and down-to-earth) folks.

Top of the Space Needle. Seattle, WA, 2011

Top of the Space Needle. Seattle, WA, 2011

The structure of the interviews seemed fairly typical: each interview consisted of some algorithm/data structure problems, a short discussion about the past experience and the opportunity to ask questions (obviously a great chance to learn more about the team/company/company culture, etc). Since this was my third round of summer internship applications (I have worked as a software engineer for Wolfson Microelectronics in '09 and Morgan Stanley in '10), everything made sense and was pretty much what I expected.

My trip ended with a quick visit to Seattle on the next day: a few pictures of the Space Needle, a cup of Seattle's Best Coffee and there I was on my flight back to London, having spent $0.00 (yeap, Microsoft paid for everything - flights, hotel, meals, taxis, etc). Even so, the best thing about Microsoft definitely seemed to be the people working there; since I have received and accepted the offer, we'll see if my opinion remains unchanged after this summer!

2. Lent term v2.0

Well, things are still picking up the speed. Seven courses with twenty-eight supervisions in under two months, plus managing a group project (crowd-sourcing mobile network signal strength), a few basketball practices each week on top of that and you'll see a reason why this blog has not been updated for a couple of months.

It's not all doom and gloom, of course. Courses themselves are great, lecturers make some decently convoluted material understandable in minutes and an occasional formal hall (e.g. below) also helps.

All in all, my opinion, that Cambridge provides a great opportunity to learn a huge amount of material in a very short timeframe, remains unchanged.

There will be more to come about some cool things that I've learnt in separate posts, but now speaking of learning - it's revision time... :-)

Me and Ada at the CompSci formal. Cambridge, England, 2011

Me and Ada at the CompSci formal hall. Cambridge, England, 2011

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Education, Life, Music

"The Hard Way is the Right Way"

While the Europe is paralyzed by the volcanic ash and I am restrained from coming back to Cambridge, here is a quick recap of what I have been doing for the past couple of months.

1. Guitar

It looks like it is becoming a tradition - another vacation ends with a guitar video. This time - a short slow blues in Stefan Grossman's style. The usual apologies for the sound, video and playing quality apply.

Slow blues in E (Sefan Grossman's style).

2. Professional

The Chartered Institute for IT
I was accepted as a student member to the Chartered Institute for IT (former British Computer Society). For the next two years (at least) I should be reachable through this e-mail:

3. Studies

Without getting into the gory details, the outcomes of the Lent (read: second) term in Cambridge can be summarized by:

Conways Game of Life

Conway's Game of Life

Mandelbrot Set

Mandelbrot set (1280x1024)

  1. a wallpaper "spit out" by ML depicting a rather standard Mandelbrot set fractal (on the right),
  2. an animation "spit out" by Java depicting eight-hundred generations of the spacefiller pattern in the Conway's Game of Life (further on the right),
  3. and an insane amount of material to prepare for the upcoming exams; both broad and not as shallow as I expected.

I am still extremely enjoying it, even though the amount of my spare-time has decreased. (As an afterthought - I still had time to play basketball for Blues, Lions and my college, so maybe it was not that bad).

4. Internship

Over the summer I will be working as a Technology Analyst for Morgan Stanley, in their Innovative Data, Environments, Analytics & Systems (IDEAS) group.

Canary Wharf

Sunrise over Canary Wharf

During the interviews Morgan Stanley really left a very good impression both at the level of knowledge of the people working there and the communication and culture inside the company. We will see if that applies in day-to-day situations. In any case, I have nothing against spending the summer in Canary Wharf and seeing the investment banking industry from inside.

It will surely give me more things to write about in this blog, so be sure to check back once in a while.

Internship Offer Packs from Morgan Stanley and Citigroup

Competition: internship offer packs from Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.

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University of Cambridge, Wolfson College

University of Cambridge, Wolfson College

University of Cambridge, Wolfson College

So, it's finally official. In less than two months time I'll be reading Computer Science at the University of Cambridge, Wolfson College. Hopefully that's the last university in my universities chain - all in all there are not many better places to go to. Not many at all.

I'm already looking forward to it. To the legendary supervision sessions, to the world class experts in the field, to the competitiveness amongst the students. I'm sure I will finally arrive at the place where I'll be the average guy between the best one's... not the other way around.

(I'm not convinced that the latter applies to the basketball team, though. Well, I guess we'll find that out pretty soon).

Confirmation Letter. Cambridge University, Wolfson College, 2009.

Confirmation Letter. Cambridge University, Wolfson College, 2009.

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