In summer 2011, I concluded my journey with a PhD in computer science at the Graduate Center. Working as a software engineer for years, it is clear that there were a few things in the CS program that consistently helped contribute to my career.
1. Systematic training: There are a set of great instructors that taught computer science fundamentals. Such trainings built my foundations for resolving new problems that I never encountered before.
2. Adaptability: When I joined the program, my research direction was computer vision. I switched to theoretical computer science - algorithms after three years in the program. It had been a fully engaging procedure after this change. The result turned out to be, not only I finished my research after 3.5 years, but also I had achieve much better results than if I have had stayed in the community of computer vision. I would never realize my potentials without such involvement in the program.
3. Dealing with frustration: Dissertation research could be stuck for months without progress. I weathered this and it enhanced my ability to deal with frustration. With my sturdiness and toughness, I landed an engineer position at Microsoft when the jobless rate was hitting ten percent. Such robustness continuously serves as an essential skill in my later career development.
4. Broad exposure: The Graduate Center is located in New York, the City of planet earth. Inevitably students at the Graduate Center are exposed to the financial industry, capital operations, communication with different people, and great cultural diversity. Such exposure served to complement my career, as most engineers do not have such exposures and vision. When we are young, we should head out and see the world, instead of live our lives in comfort home. If I were asked to choose again whether I would go to a slightly better ranking program at a small town, I would still choose the Graduate Center for all that it gave me.