Touch Lab works out of the largest office at Alley, one of the largest coworking communities in New York City. It's a hub of startups so occasionally, we get visits from college students looking to learn more about the tech industry. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to the e-House group from the University of Massachusetts.
I shared how I didn't like any of the undergrad majors offered, but went with Media Studies. It covered areas that I could use in a variety of roles, whether it was writing (journalism), public relations, or marketing. I told them how I landed my first full-time job as community manager at a startup. To close my talk, I stressed the importance of internships, study abroad, and taking initiative in college, whether it was leading a club or organizing events. The group was quite energetic, laughed at my presentation memes (and corny jokes), and had questions about our Android app development process.
A week later, Android developer Apoorv Kothari spoke to a college group from New York University. Apoorv graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from Cooper Union. His talk was more focused and targeted towards students interested in development. He advised the students, "Pick one technology that you're good at, and get really good at it. Don't be a ninja or full stack because you will simply be hired for the one that gets paid the least." He also recommended learning off campus. "This is hard but you have to spend time outside of class going to hackathons and meetups. This is NYC's biggest resource and what you pay for, so utilize it."
We had a great time sharing our experience and advice with both groups. It's important that we never stop learning, whether we're in college or not. Sometimes we call work here "Touch Lab University." We make sure that our team members are always moving forward in Android mobile development. It can be from attending our meetups and Droidcon NYC, or learning from Touch Lab president Kevin, who's been coding on Android before the G1 came out. Like one famed author said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” (Dr. Seuss)