Posted by William Zhang on May 04, 2022 · 2 mins read

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about research, startups, etc. lately, so I figured I would post an FAQ of sorts. If you’re young, motivated, ambitious, etc. and reached out asking a question, chances are I sent you this blog post. Enjoy :)

Also, please introduced yourself to me when DMing or emailing, I want to know your story/background!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How did you get software engineering positions with startups?

A: I applied to summer internships in spring 2020 after winning a big Google competition, so my “resume” probably passed the initial screening. I was also decent at competitive programming so I could pass the technical interviews. After I landed my first position, new opportunities for startup work frequently popped up through my network.

Q: How did you get a research position with MIT CSAIL?

A: Quite a tale. A former intern at a company I was interviewing with was going to MIT for grad school. He encouraged me to reach out to his advisor, who was the director of the PRIMES computer science research track. I was connected with my mentor through that interaction, and had a very rewarding research experience! The moral of the story is to leverage your network; serendipitous, amazing things will happen.

Q: How did you get hired/published/awarded?

A: Lots of passion, perseverance, and a dash of luck.

Q: Could you connect me with <insert person/organization/opportunity here>?

A: If we’ve been well-connected and have known each other for a bit, of course!

Q: Could you give me some tips for high school?

A: Yes, read my high school reflections.

Q: How did you get into programming so young?

A: So I wasn’t programming at age 5, but I think I got into video game development in Scratch when I was 10 and taught myself how to code (Python) a couple years after that. After that, I did competitive programming, and then open source development, and then startup/research stuff.

Q: “How are you so cool?”

A: 🦧