What I Did Over My Summer -- Make that Autumn -- Vacation


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.

Last, it's been great reconnecting with some "old (as in people I've known a long time)" friends -- Ed, Hank, David, Gatano, Simon and meet some really great "new" faculty -- Magda, Steve, Luis.