Published on: 10-Jul-2017
Most memorable times/ people in SCSE/NTU:
I have been in love with computer science since I was 12, when I created my first program using LOGO (don't think anyone remembers that now). I was a lazy kid and computers got things done quickly, be it creating reports, designing cards or complex computation. It was an ideal match. I had always wanted to pursue a career in Comp Science, so getting into SCSE was a memorable moment in itself!
I will admit that I was no star student. I preferred courses that excited me – be it for the subject matter or the professor’s style of delivery. I enjoyed interactive courses with interesting project work and one such course was Artificial Neural Networks, taught by Prof Ong Yew Soon. For a very technical and fairly intimidating subject matter, it was very well presented. The classes were interactive and Prof Yew Soon patiently answered any and all questions with a smile, guiding the students along the way. The project work had us training game characters to fight and win battles unsupervised. Seeing what we had learnt in action formed an immediate connection with the subject matter in a fun way.
The second person, whom I remember was Prof Seah Hock Soon, my FYP supervisor. People close to me know that I love brainstorming and coming up with ideas. What I realized was that fixating on too many ideas can be equivalent to having no idea at all. When I started my Final year Project, I faced a similar challenge, wanting to work on 4 different projects as part of on FYP. This was where Prof Seah's calm and collected demeanour made a huge difference. He helped me focus, asked tough questions and guided me through the entire project on modular AI for Games. Now, that I have started my own business, confronting the tough questions on a daily basis, helps me channel my time and energy in the right direction.
In terms of activities, participating in the World Solar Challenge 2011 was by far the most memorable event. The World Solar Challenge is a bi-annual solar car race, where teams from around the world race across the Australian outback over 6 days for 3000kms. I, as a part of an eleven-member team, built the Nanyang Venture 5 and finished 12th internationally beating some of the more seasoned teams in the competition.
Apart from this, co-founding TEDxNTU with an amazing group of people, which eventually won the Nanyang Award for best team work, as well as being part of the Microsoft Student Partners, winning numerous hackathons, were some of the most memorable moments at NTU.
Your journey since graduation.
After graduation, I joined a digital agency called Adelphi Digital (formerly known as Reading Room) as a front end developer. The fast-paced environment and the chance to work with some amazing people, made it an ideal place to start my career. I moved up from being a front-end developer to a full stack developer to a divisional head, leading a team of 17 consultants, to becoming the Executive Creative Director (Solutions) over the course of 3 years. I learnt a lot during my stay at Adelphi and made some amazing friends - couldn't have asked for a better first job.
In May, 2017, I decided to become a digital nomad, working as a freelance solution architect and full stack developer, while travelling the world. This may sound like an unconventional choice but I chose this path for 2 reasons - a) I get to keep learning and updating my skills while not being desk-bound for 8 hours a day, and b) I get to travel the world while work with amazing people on exciting projects. Over the past couple of months, I have incorporated my own company, which focuses on smart solutions for Business process automation using AI. So far, we have been working with clients in the e-commerce, entertainment and game development space.
Check out my LinkedIn profile for more updates: https://www.linkedin.com/in/budha-b/
A message to the current undergraduates
Computer science is one of the fastest evolving fields. Knowledge can quickly become outdated. So, it is very important to keep learning and staying up to date. The school curriculum does a great job in introducing topics with some hands-on knowledge but we need to go beyond books and lectures to stay ahead. Look at resources online, participate in meetups or talk to experts in the field starting with your professors. This will not only help during job hunting in the future but will also help you appreciate the true potential of what you’ve learnt.
A short quote to be used in publications
“Befriend failure and it will be your greatest ally in the quest for success”.
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