Two weeks ago, I talked about how it's ok to not know what you have in store in the future. That uncertainty is part of life, and rather than worrying about the future, it's better to take action and discover what there is when you can
At least, that's my course of action.
For me personally, I really love trying new things, and CS is a formidable field to explore many options. Having a taste of the Graphics world, running around with Pacman in Artificial intelligence, and placing my feet into intelligently resizing images in Computer Vision is fun. In fact, everything in the field can be very exhilarating to try and dabble in.
But with a "try everything" personality, I wrestle a lot with sustaining a passion for what I do. Especially since I want to sustain a passion for everything, I end up having a passion for nothing. Many semesters, I find myself spreading myself too thin as I only go a certain depth in a variety of subjects before I run out of steam and find myself at a mid-major crisis.
I mean, it's definitely good to broaden yourself and become more in tune with different parts of CS. It allows you to have some prior understanding of how things work and a greater appreciation for how the world runs. Additionally, being well-rounded can help you in many ways. A jack of all CS-trades can enter hackathons, fill in the gaps for companies, go into consulting, and even attempt to go all-in on a tech startup.
But in some ways, there can be more value in focusing on one field.
Like a renowned artisan that develops his/her skill in a certain craft, focusing on one particular field in CS can be more fruitful and rewarding.
Whenever I see grad students, researchers, or professors focused on a particular field, I can't help but look in awe. I can almost feel their dedication and passion as they give lectures or explain concepts and pursue their work. It's almost as if they've jumped into the deep end of a pool of knowledge and thrive in an unreachable lagoon÷ that most people typically drown in.
In fact, I know two friends who've seemed to reach that lagoon, and another one who's just started pursuing his own - Systems, Artificial Intelligence, and Graphics. Whenever I talk to them, I always sense that they're sleep-deprived and overwhelmed with all the things that they're doing. However, as they talk about the latest Systems classes released, or the huge breakthrough that's going on over Twitter, or the many hours he spent up trying to figure out a Graphics bug, I can see the tiredness leave their eyes as they talk about what they love.
For them, rather than consuming all the aspects of CS, fitting themselves into a niche that they can freely explore is... so freeing. I believe there's a lot of joy that comes not only from that freedom but also learning the depths of a particular subject. You can imagine someone who's become the best at something only they know, has the expertise build/understand many components and also has the ability to explain concepts in all levels so all learners can understand.
And I believe once you've reached a certain level of expertise, you can integrate your knowledge to other areas in the world.
Though this may seem like a tangent, it's almost like the stories of businesses that became good at one thing, and then expanded upon it:
- Amazon developed a monopoly in selling books online before moving to becoming a global online marketplace - the dominator of e-commerce.
- Facebook became "The Social Network" before attempting to launch internet for 3rd world countries and build the Oculus Rift.
- Google was the most used search engine with the hugest earning in ads before taking on self-driving cars and it's own phone operating system.
Being good at one thing and harnessing it in every single point of life is crucial. That's why everyone is trying to find that one area of work that's their niche! The one thing that they're good it. The thing that'll fulfill their meaning in life (or at least part of it).
Now many of y'all may be wondering what that may look like for you. What is that one niche that you fit in?
If you can't answer that question, don't fret. It's not a question you can answer in 1-hr short essay exam period. Even more so, don't lose hope! As a Junior that'll graduate in a few semesters and thinks about this all the time, I still haven't found my niche. But even though I haven't found my passion, my hope is to continue searching, and that's what I hope you'll do too!
And if you do have the ability to answer that question for yourself or you've found the one thing you want to do in life, continue to pursue it! In fact, buckle down for a long ride. Though it'll be bumpy, hard at times, and involving a lot of grinding and uncertainty (nothing is truly guaranteed), I know that you'll learn a lot throughout the process, and in the end, do great :)
Thanks for reading my blog post guys. Always appreciate you taking time out of your day for this. :) It's been a busy time, but Spring break is coming right around the corner (as well as all the deadlines) and that'll be a good time for reflection and rest. Gotta keep pushing through in life for what is good haha :P
Anyways, hope you guys have a good week. Take care of yourself when you can, and I'll see y'all in the next blog post. Ciao!