And why I’m taking it.

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I had a coffee chat recently with an alum from my university. As I asked her questions about life after college, our conversation circled back to our school.

UNC, as I’m sure many other schools do, has a rampant hustle culture. Throughout my past three years at UNC, outside of my academic work for my double major and minor, I’ve been on the executive boards of five computer science clubs, volunteered with a sixth, and participated in a seventh. I’ve also been a computer science undergraduate teaching assistant and a CS student ambassador. …

Lessons learned over the summers about working in tech, confidence, and how to make the most of an internship

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“The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination.”

Fred Brooks

This quote was written on one of the first slides in my Intro to Programming class. I remember it vividly, partially because this quote has had a huge impact on shaping my view of computer science, but also because it wasn’t all that long ago when I first heard it.

I’d never written a line of code prior to college, and although it feels like a lifetime has passed since my…

Because yes, even programmers have to talk to people.

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Computer science — and software engineering, in particular — has long been thought of as the ideal field for introverts. After all, unless you’re a character on NCIS, writing code is something you mostly do by yourself.

As it turns out, actually working in tech or even just studying computer science as a student requires collaborating with others. Even being a developer isn’t a completely introvert-safe job.

Why do CS students have to talk to people?

Well, I guess as a student, you don’t have to. You can technically make it all the way through your degree with minimum interactions other than emailing your professors from time to time…

These mottos from Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are integral parts of my expectations for the workplace.

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I don’t think I need to convince you that technology has radically transformed the workplace over the last few decades, even just the last few years. In a world where we’re constantly reachable by technology, work-life balance is a critical aspect to consider.

I’m still very much figuring out this work-life balance thing for myself, but one thing that I do know is that work will never be the main part of my life, and I know I’m not alone there. …

An easy way to keep track of deadlines, contacts, and more.

Overview of what your Trello board might look like.

Summer is here. Whether you’re taking on an internship, doing research, taking some classes, or just chilling, you might have to think about applying again in the future.

Internship applications often operate on a cycle with the majority of roles being offered for the summer. The biggest recruiting period tends to be in the late summer and early fall for the following year, so now that it’s almost June, recruiting season’s not too far around the corner.

Internship applications are a numbers game. You probably won’t hear back from the vast majority of companies — not necessarily because you’re a…

If you’re feeling inadequate in tech, you’re not, and you’re not alone.

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Ah, yes, the computer science degree — one of the most coveted degrees of modern times. Computer science is listed as the top college major in the Princeton Review based on a combination of factors, including job prospects, alumni salaries, and popularity. Due to high interest, many schools have extremely competitive computer science departments. UC-Berkeley’s College of Engineering, which includes their CS tracks, accepted 12.2% of their freshman applicants for the 2020–2021 academic year. In Fall 2020, Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science admitted only 7% of its 8000+ applicants.

Even the computer science department of my own school, UNC-Chapel…

And how personalizing your interactions can go a long way.

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I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn.

At the time of writing this blog, I have about 1,300 connections on LinkedIn, and I honestly don’t know anything about many of these people.

Following LinkedIn content creators can also be really exhausting, especially when you start to see tons of people echoing the same things.

So yeah, I don’t like to spend my free time on LinkedIn, but that’s not to say I’ve never had good experiences with it.

I’ve had some cool interactions with people on LinkedIn. I work with a couple of hackathons at my university…

Tips that helped me get internship offers at Microsoft, Tableau, and more despite making mistakes in nearly every technical interview

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I hate technical interviewing.

In my past internships and personal projects, never once has my experience felt anything like a technical interview. I’ve never had to find the longest palindrome in an actual project before, and odds are that you haven’t either, so it can be pretty intimidating knowing that whether or not you get a job offer might hinge on just that.

Interviewing makes me incredibly nervous, and it gets even worse if I don’t immediately think of a solution. Doing interview prep through platforms like LeetCode is helpful, but I’ll be honest and say that I don’t do…

After 20 years, I’ve finally figured out how to balance work and creativity.

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When I was in high school, I was a part of my high school’s marching band. More specifically, I was a member of the front ensemble, also known as the pit, which is a subsection of the percussion. My freshman year, I cycled between a few different instruments. Then, in my sophomore year, I gained a salient status as our section’s center marimba, the lead mallet player.

That was my identity.

My life revolved around band for my four years in high school. We had practices between nine and thirty hours a week. …

3 pros and 3 cons from my first 3 months of writing about my experiences in tech on Medium

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In December of 2020, I reached out to members of Rewriting the Code, a community of women in technology, asking folks to drop links to their tech-related blogs. I wanted to start writing about my own experiences in the new year, and I knew the exact story I wanted to start with.

Excitement got the better of me, and I jumped the gun, publishing my first blog just a few days shy of the dawn of 2021. Since then, working on my blogs has become a daily habit of mine.

In the past three and a half months since I’ve…

Lindsay Zhou

Tech enthusiast. Hobbyist writer. Lover of languages. Building cool tech, art, and worlds from nothing but air and ideas. (Ok, and a laptop.) She/her.

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