The software industry has become important and continues to grow along with the arrival of the 4th Industrial revolution, such as IT and AI. The number of students who change their major from liberal arts courses to math and sciences when entering university is increasing and many college students are choosing software or computer science, which is somewhat unfamiliar to them as their double or second major to get a job when they graduate. Here is a graduate from Gachon University who was studying liberal arts in high school but went to the computer engineering department and recently got accepted by three major companies in IT industry, Net Marble, LG, and Kakao, at the same time. Let’s get into the interview with JinHyuk Park, a graduate in the Department of Computer Engineering at Gachon University, to get some keys to getting accepted by these three companies and advice for students at Gachon University.
1. Did you have a special reason or motivation for entering the computer engineering department?
I have liked online games since I was young and in particular, I was interested in software. I didn’t have any special motivation, but just enjoyed online games from young age, I wanted to enter a computer-related department where I could make an actual game.
2. What was especially difficult when you entered university and jumped into computer sciences? And what effort did you put in to overcome this difficulty?
Most of the undergraduate courses are mainly about theoretical and basic concepts, so I would say, there was not many difficulties in particular. But, when I actually started studying AI in graduate school, I indeed had a hard time. To study the so-called AI field, I had to make up for what I lacked through papers, YouTube, and other outside sources whenever necessary to deal with mathematical and statical content.
3. What was your driving force behind the effort so far?
I think, basically, people should have some interest and passion in the field they are in. I had this vague admiration for people who developed famous technologies when I was studying AI field. I also wanted to become one of them and I think my desire to become one of those people who first come into people’s mind when thinking and considering AI technology in the game field is what drove me into the hard and continuous work.
4. It would not have been easy for you to study besides the school curriculum, Do you have any tips for when you study areas that you are not familiar with?
I bet it is the same for every field, but I think repeating what I do not know again and again is the only way. In my case, however, I tried to carry out a code out of the theoretical contents instead of just ending in studying in theory.
5. I know that you have visited leading foreign companies, What do you think is similar and different compared to your present company or Korean companies?
All the foreign companies I had visited have had a horizontal organizational culture in common. I felt that it helps the companies to grow by allowing people to exchange more creative ideas than Korean companies. Recently, there is a continuous attempt to create a horizontal organizational culture in many large Korean IT companies, but vertical culture still seems to persist.
6. Big data and AI are gaining popularity by becoming national projects and attracting so many people. Do you have your own way of making your characteristics and skills distinct in a situation where it can be a red ocean?
I think it is important to decide which area you want to go into. Since big data and AI can be divided into various fields such as natural language processing, speech recognition, image processing, etc. I think it is better to decide what area you are going to focus on to some extent. It would be good to note that companies prefer people who have a deep understanding of particular fields rather than people who know a variety of fields shallowly.
7. What was the most challenging moment while looking for a job, and how did you overcome it?
I got a job less than a month after receiving my master’s degree, so relatively speaking, there wasn’t much difficulty compared to others. However, I also had submitted about 30 resumes to other companies before and experienced many rejections. I feel that getting a job requires a lot of luck. Usually, when hiring, organizations try to make up for their weaknesses or reinforce their human resources for specific projects. Thus, no matter how good your portfolio is, I think the requirements for every job application can vary depending on the tendency and background of the person, who is in charge of hiring, or even when they are hiring. From this perspective, it seems important to minimize stress even if you are rejected from the paper or interview process, rather than blaming yourself.
8. What are some factors that college students who want to pursue career in big data and AI should have?
What I generally think is important is more than just claiming ‘I have used this technique before’ when using a technique. It would be good to have an attitude to understand more on why such results came out or what principles of the technology were adapted. Also, if you could appeal ‘I have this much understanding of these technique and I can use them to some extent based on a real experience, it would make good results in the future. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to participate in a large project, I think it’s a good idea to build a portfolio using open data shared on the Internet.
9. What do you think is the key to getting accepted to three companies at the same time? Also, I wonder why you joined Netmarble, leaving aside two other companies.
For me, my professor always emphasized leaving qualitative and quantitative results, so I tried to leave what I learned on a platform like Github, where I could record blogs and code although they were just simple things. Also, even when I worked on simple projects, I tried to produce noticeable results, such as papers and posters out of them and that was what my interviewer liked about.
AI technology is being actively introduced throughout society, but there have not been many cases that introduced AI technology in the game industry. So, I joined Netmarble because It would be great to apply AI technologies that I have studied so far to the game industry and lead this way.
If there’s anything you want to tell or advise students who wish to change their path to a different field like you, please say.
You guys are still young, so I want you to try and experience different things rather than decide your future on a specific career path.
Looking around, there are many students who have transferred from liberal arts to math and sciences like JinHyuk Park or who have started studying in an unfamiliar field as their double majors. However, this article is not just for students who have changed their career path to math and sciences. No matter if it is liberal arts and sciences, or studies and hobbies, this interview with JinHyuk Park will be a great motivation and support at the same time for those who are reluctant to try just because they are not confident and familiar with what they want to do. The Gachon Herald supports students who are about to start a new beginning in a new field.
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