Many of you have been wondering - where's Wayne and what has he been up to for the past 3 months? Well, I've been spending time at the University of Washington in the department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Earlier this Fall, I took a Visiting Faculty position at the UW. I've been teaching CSE 403 (the senior level software engineering course) and doing some research along the way. I'll be here for about a year. This has been a great experience thus far. It's a chance to work with some of the best computer scientists in the world, teach at a great academic institution, and engage with really awesome students. It's a road previously traveled - I did a similar stint in 2001-2002, also at the University of Washington.
Why did I do this, you ask? Well, after a serendipitous conversation with Professor Dan Grossman, the opportunity to teach presented itself last summer. I jumped at the opportunity. I was interested in helping the UW Computer Science department - what better way than to teach students in a area where I have a great deal of experience? And, for me, I was really interested on many fronts:
- To learn from students and a generation of people that that I don't spend much time with
- To explore state of the art "stuff" going on in computer science
- To think about what I am going to do next
Further, I wanted students to know more about startups and entrepreneurship. My experience recruiting at the UW was that computer science graduates were exposed to a lot of opportunities at great big companies (the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons, and Microsofts of the world) but not so much exposure to the world of smaller companies and starting up. I ran a successful seminar in front the UW Industrial Affiliates meeting in October: Great companies from both the Bay Area and Seattle presented and I helped widen the "opportunity pipeline" between students and industry. I'll try to run this program again next year. BTW, the UW CSE Industrial Affiliates program is a great way to engage with the department, especially if you are a startup. One of the best benefits is the opportunity to recruit great students from a top computer science program. Only Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, and CMU rival the UW in my humble opinion.
So how did class go? What knowledge did I impart on students? Well, here's my summary of the experience. And, if you want to see the course curriculum, check out this site. Overall, my approach was a little different than the past. My goal to was to bring "real world" knowledge and experience into the classroom - stuff that students don't necessarily get from their typical academic experience. It was a great quarter working with great students.