TA Spotlight: Andrew Nguyen

Andrew Nguyen

Andrew Nguyen is a TA for CS 7210: Distributed Computing. Keep reading to learn more about Andrew!

What do you do professionally?

I've been working as a Software Engineer since 2016 across a variety of domains, like real-time embedded systems, cloud networking infrastructure, and edge computing for RF devices. Along the way I've worked all across the stack, such as building C++ libraries to interface with kernel modules, writing distributed processing jobs in Java, and creating frontend web interfaces with whatever the hot new JavaScript framework is. With this variety in my professional career, I found that OMSCS's diverse curriculum was a nice supplement; the program allowed me to explore my varied interests in both depth and breadth.

Why do you TA for OMSCS?

I've had several false starts with Computer Science in the past which really knocked my confidence and convinced me that I wasn't capable for this field of study. Luckily, I've also found supportive mentors throughout the years (both in my career and in OMSCS) that helped me to grow and learn. As a TA, I hope to provide the same support and encouragement to other students. Besides that, I also find the subject matter to be super interesting, and I love being able to reengage with the material and a new batch of students each semester.

What is your advice for future OMSCS students?

Don't forget to make time for yourself and the people that you care about. This program can be pretty demanding, and it can be very easy to pour all of your time and energy into it (especially if you enjoy it). However, don't forget to take care of yourself—give yourself space to rest, get some exercise, and nurture the relationships that are important to you. Take a breather if you need it—Computer Science will still be there when you come back.

What's your best study hack?

Instead of just passively absorbing information, I'd encourage trying to find ways to actively engage with the material. This could involve things like drawing out communication diagrams for a protocol, marking up a research paper with your own summaries, or participating in discussions with other classmates trying to understand a difficult concept. Engaging in this type of active learning really helped me cement my understanding and pick up key insights that I would've missed otherwise.

I'd emphasize participating in class discussions in particular because it comes with the added bonus of getting to meet some incredible classmates; an underrated benefit of OMSCS is that you'll have classmates all over the world with a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience that you can learn from.

Find Andrew on...

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/andrew-m-nguyen
Personal Website: http://andrew-nguyen.com/