Pace Professor Miguel Mosteiro Gets Work Published in the JACM

The Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems is proud to announce that the work of one of our very own community members, Associate Professor Miguel Mosteiro (as seen on the far left), has been accepted by the Journal of ACM for publication. The ACM, or the Association for Computing Machinery, is an organization that “brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges.” Through the ACM, members of the computing community are constantly encouraged to expand their knowledge and discover new ways of thinking.

Miguel’s article on “Polynomial Counting in Anonymous Dynamic Networks with Applications to Anonymous Dynamic Algebraic Computations,”, which also won an award for best paper at ICALP in 2018, will soon be added to the ACM’s list of prestigious journal publications. With papers ranging from top research institutions like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and Cornell University, it is an honor to have Miguel be recognized amongst other top educators in this field.

“These results received the Best Paper Award at ICALP 2018, the flagship conference of the European Association of Theoretical Computer Science and top 4 worldwide, and now were accepted for publication at the Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery (JACM),” Miguel explains. “To have one’s work published in JACM is an important accomplishment for a CS researcher. The ACM is the top scientific computing society worldwide, and JACM is the top 1 journal venue* in Theoretical Computer Science (TCS). I am honored to have our work on ADNs so recognized by the TCS scientific community, and I look forward to continuing this successful line of work.”

Congratulations to Miguel Mosteiro on his accomplishment. The Seidenberg School is proud of his work on dynamic networks and we’re excited to cheer on his future achievements moving forward!

Hackathon Survival Guide

If you’re already into the tech scene, then chances are you already know what a hackathon is. However, if you haven’t, the definition of a hackathon is as follows: it is, “a social coding event that brings computer programmers and other interested people together to improve upon or build a new software program.” Hackathons are great for improving your coding skills, learning more about technology, and coming up with ideas that can garner the attention of major businesses. GroupMe is one example of a hackathon idea turned multimillion-dollar acquisition. The prototype, which was created at TechCrunch Hackday, did not win any prizes but it did become successful later on. It was the experience of going that provided the creators with the inspiration needed to conceive the idea of GroupMe. Their success is one of the many reasons you should consider attending a hackathon. If you’ve never attended a hackathon, here are the top 17 tips for surviving your first one.

17 Tips for Surviving Your First Hackathon

1. ARRIVE EARLY

Person Jumping

The best thing you can do for yourself when attending a hackathon is to arrive early. If you’re attending a hackathon that’s a good distance away plan ahead and give yourself enough time to get there. For the most part, hackathons have many participants, all of whom are trying to arrive around the same time as you. Take this into account when planning your departure time and you should be good to go.

2. BE OPEN

Man Opening DoorsIf you decide to work in a team for the hackathon, being open-minded is crucial. There is nothing worse than working with someone who has no interest in understanding your point of view. Teams are a collaborative effort and in order to succeed, you must be willing to compromise.

3. BRAINSTORM BEFORE YOU GET THERE

Person Confused

If you’re given the project before the hackathon even starts, do your research and brainstorm. This saves you the trouble of having to desperately think of an idea on the spot. Instead, you get to focus on successfully implementing that idea in a timely manner.

4. THERE ARE USUALLY PRIZES

Although the experience of going to a hackathon should be enough encouragement to go on its own, it’s also good to remember that there are usually monetary prizes. If not, companies sponsoring the event tend to give away their own products as prizes. For example, at Technica in 2019, VR headsets and Google Home Minis were offered as incentives.

5. BRUSH UP ON CODING SKILLS

Cat Typing Really FastGetting some practice in beforehand is essential for keeping your coding skills sharp. Whether that be Java, C++, HTML, or CSS. Practice whatever language needed to implement your project successfully. Websites like Codecademy and Udemy are perfect for reviewing how to program.

6. MENTORS ARE AVAILABLE

There are usually mentors available to assist you, whether that be helping you fully understand the project or answering any coding related questions you may have. Mentors are volunteers who want to help you so please don’t be afraid to ask them questions.

7. TAKE LOTS OF BREAKS

Spongebob Taking A BreakPlease do not stress yourself out to the point of exhaustion. It’s nearly impossible to put out good work when your brain is fried, or your body is tired. That’s why you should take as many breaks needed to refresh your mind and body for the competition.

8. EXPECT COMMUNITY GAMES

Community games are held for participants to get to know each other and relax in between working. These are a great way to make new friends and have fun so if possible, you should consider taking advantage of them.

9. KNOW HOW LONG THE HACKATHON LASTS

Lady Pointing To Her WristThere are many different types of hackathons. Some last 24 hours, 36 hours, and even 48 hours. Know how long yours is and prepare accordingly. If it’s your first time going to a hackathon maybe a 24 hour one might be a good place to start. However, if you’re feeling ambitious maybe a longer hackathon is perfect for you.

10. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WORKSHOPS

Take advantage of the workshops that hackathons have to offer. More often than not, they provide beneficial information that can help with your current project in addition to your future ones.

11. THEY HAVE SLEEPING SPACES FOR STUDENTS

Animated Cat Yawning

Although sleeping spaces are usually provided, be sure to bring an air mattress and/or sleeping bag as necessary. Although some hackathons do provide air mattresses, don’t be surprised if there aren’t enough or if the ones they provide aren’t the best quality.

12. DO RESEARCH ON SPONSORS

Woman Holding Phone

Check to see if any of the sponsors for the hackathon are companies that you might be interested in working for. Some sponsors actually have internships or job opportunities available. Because of this, going to a hackathon puts you at a far greater advantage than most people who are also interested in those companies. It’s also a good idea for you to bring a few copies of your resume. Doing so shows those companies that you’re serious about working for them.

13. CHECK OUT DEMOS

At the end of a hackathon, there is usually a demo session of all the projects. Use this as an opportunity to look at what everyone else has made. Demo sessions are not only for company representatives. Participants are encouraged to look at projects aside from their own for innovative inspiration.

14. MOST HACKATHONS ARE FREE

Girl SpeakingAlthough most hackathons are free of charge, there are a few that may require a fee. This is rare but double-check that it’s free to be sure.

15. TRANSPORTATION MAY BE PROVIDED

Some hackathons do provide transportation. This could mean that they provide their own OR they refund your travel expenses. The refund process is that you have to pay your traveling fees at first, and then afterward they will refund you. Because of this, it is important that you hold onto all your traveling receipts so that they know exactly how much to refund you.

16. PACK LOTS OF SNACKS

Patrick Eating A Lot Of PattiesWhether you have any dietary restrictions or not, pack as many snacks as you can. Hackathons usually provide food for participants, however, if late-night cravings are a common occurrence for you or you simply cannot eat the food they have to offer, then it’s probably best that you bring your own snacks.

17. IT’S OKAY NOT TO KNOW A LOT OF CODE

Elmo Shrugging

If you have a brilliant idea but don’t how to create it, making a presentation is also acceptable. Making a visual presentation allows you to convey the idea you’ve come up with without the pressure of having the full code prepared. Even if you don’t have any code at all, presenting a few slides is better than presenting nothing at all.

For this article I’d like to thank Seidenberg senior, honors college student, and vice president of Women in Tech, Sammy Chen-Li for sharing her vast knowledge of hackathons! If you’re looking to attend a hackathon anytime soon, Pace University’s Women in Tech Club is actually having their very own hackathon called Sunflower Hack! It’s scheduled to take place Saturday, February 29th, 2020 from 9 am to 9 pm on the 2nd floor of 163 William Street. It’s an 8-hour hackathon open to all current undergrad and grad students at Pace. For more information please click here!

Tech Leadership Series: UPS STEM Innovation and Diversity

This October, the Seidenberg Tech Leadership Series had not only one, but three amazing guests from UPS at the Seidenberg Lounge: Diane Chan, Senior Manager of Applications Development, Carla J. Garcia-Maier, Director of Cloud Platforms & Technology, and Stacie Morgan, Senior Application Development Manager. Being that tech has always been seen as more male-oriented, it’s refreshing to see and meet women who have found tremendous success in this field. Their presence proves that women in tech have the ability to flourish in any aspect of technology.

Diane Chan
Diane Chan, Senior Manager of Applications Development

Diane Chan, like many college students, started school with one major in mind and finished with a degree in another. Through trial and error, she was able to recognize that her passions laid less with finances and more with technology. Initially an accounting major, Diane graduated from Pace University with a degree in Management Information Systems (MIS), thus demonstrating that college grants students the ability to explore other topics of interest.

 

Carla J. Garcia-Maier
Carla J. Garcia-Maier, Director of Cloud Platforms & Technology

Carla J. Garcia-Maier had a similar experience. It was in the U.S. Army that Carla developed her love for technology. After serving, Carla tried to follow in her father’s footsteps as a real estate agent, but quickly realized that she desired a career involving technology and leadership. Once that decision was made, Carla joined UPS in 1999 and has been working there ever since.

 

Stacie Morgan
Stacie Morgan, Senior Application Development Manager

Stacie Morgan discovered her interest in technology after realizing the application of computers for business problems through programs like VisiCalc and dBase. Although her interests involved technology, she later found that she was more interested in the organizational side. Once hired by UPS, Stacie started off as an Information Center Analyst and was promoted to Lead Programming Analyst until, in December 2015, she was finally promoted to Senior Application Development Manager.

Because technology is being used in every aspect of our lives, the market for jobs in the tech field has increased tremendously – and so has job competition. With so many people who are equally qualified competing for the same positions, how do you make yourself stand out?

Diane’s answer to this is: “You have to step out your comfort zone.” This was a lesson she had to learn throughout her career at UPS. She stressed that, in order to be recognized for your accomplishments, it’s important to take that extra step and make yourself known. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’ll become one step closer to success.

Carla had her own guidance to offer. When asked about her transition from military to civilian life, she explained one perk of working with people whose background differed from her own: the increase in expansive ideas. When working with people who don’t share that military background and are more relaxed in their way of thinking, the chances of coming up with the same idea is much lower. Solutions become more creative and individualistic that way. When everyone thinks the same, deliberation stops, and you end up settling on an answer that may not be the best or most efficient answer to the problem. Being open-minded is key to working in the technical field, especially because a majority of the work gets accomplished in teams.

Despite a majority of those in the tech industry being men, when asked how it feels to be a woman working in that field, Stacie confidently answered, “I’ve never seen myself as a woman in information systems,” thus, highlighting that women in technology are people first before anything else. Unfortunately, because there is a major disparity between the number of male and female workers in tech, a disparity with a ratio of 4:1 to be exact, women may often feel isolated in their careers. Stacie, on the other hand didn’t fall victim to this. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until she was given her managerial position that she noticed how few women were on her teams. She suggests that, as a woman in tech, it’s best to pay more attention to the task at hand. Focusing more on their capabilities as a person in tech will help them pay less attention to that gender disparity.

Thankfully, here at Pace University, our Women in Tech club provides a safe space for female students studying technology to connect and relate. If you’re a Pace student feel free to stop by one of their meetings every other Monday. Click here to be added to their mailing list and see all their latest events!

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BA versus BS in Computer Science: Which should you choose?

Congrats! After months or even years of debating, you’ve finally decided on majoring in Computer Science. The decision’s been made, and you’re completely set on your path as a Seidenberg student. Or so you think. Although you have decided on being a CS major, there’s still one pesky decision to be made – which degree in Computer Science is best for you: a BA or a BS? At other colleges, you may only have one option, but here at Pace University, we have both, which in some ways makes things a bit more difficult. So, before you go ahead and decide here are a couple things you should know.

         Without even comparing the exact course requirements of both degrees, here is a general idea of their key differences.

The major difference between a BA and a BS in Computer Science is that a BA has an incorporated minor, whereas a BS does not, meaning that you have to declare a minor in order to complete your BA. On the other hand, for a BS in Computer Science, you don’t need to declare a minor (but you can if you want to!). Just note that doing so with a BS may take more time to complete because you have more CS related courses to complete than a BA. Below is a quick comparison between the number of computer science classes you’d have to take for a BA and a BS.

Computer Science Courses (BA vs. BS)

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Science

Note: This is a screenshot of Degree Works from my Pace Portal. The green checkmarks indicate what’s been completed, the blue shows what’s in progress, and the empty checkboxes show what is neither completed nor in progress.

Just like it’s easier to add a minor, it is also easier to double major with a BA in Computer Science. That’s because with a BA, you’re more likely to have an overlap between the classes needed to fulfill your course requirements. Also, double majoring with a BA is generally less stressful than double majoring with a BS. Although it is possible to do so with a BS, be aware that classes for BS majors are typically more demanding, meaning that you may have little room for interests outside of your studies.

Note: A double major and a dual degree are actually two different things. Double majoring means studying two majors of the same degree. For example, studying for a Bachelor of Arts in both Computer Science and Creative Writing is considered double majoring. On the other hand, a dual degree means pursuing two majors for two separate degrees. Studying for a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Creative Writing is considered a dual degree, meaning that when you graduate, you’ll receive two different degrees instead of one. An easy way to remember the difference between the two is that double majoring means two majors of the same degree and a dual degree means two majors of the opposite degree.

Majoring with a BS in Computer Science is better if you want a more technical job. If you want a job that’s more creative, then pursuing a BA may be better for you. Here is a list of the type of jobs you can get with either degree.

Note: Don’t be discouraged if you’re interested in a BA but are drawn to any of the jobs that fall under the BS category. When it comes down to the type of degree you have, the work that you do outside of that may have more weight. If you’ve completed any projects that lean more towards the technical side, be sure to add that to your resume. That will show that you have the skills to do beyond what you’ve learned in school. The same goes for a BS. If you have a BS but are interested in any of the jobs that fall under the BA category, try to do more creative projects and add that to your resume.

Weigh Your Options with Degree Works

       So, what is Degree Works? Degree Works shows you your current major and/or minors, if you have any. The great thing about Degree Works is that it has a “what-if” section that allows you to see the course requirements and credits needed for any other majors or minors you may be interested in. If you’re trying to decide between a BA and a BS in Computer Science or any other degree, Degree Works is perfect for weighing your options. If you already know how to access Degree Works, feel free to skip this portion.

To access Degree Works login to Pace Portal with your Pace ID and password. Once you’ve logged in, select Degree Works at the bottom left of the screen to be redirected to the system.

At the top of this new page, you’ll see your degree, college, major, and minor on the right, and below that you’ll see the requirements for your current major, along with credits you need and credits you’ve already completed.

Time to test out the “what-if” portion. To the left under the worksheets tab you should see the “what-if” tab. Select that, and you’ll see this.

To compare the requirements for a BA and a BS in Computer Science you must select a degree (one of the two) and a catalog year, along with filling in Computer Science for your major and Seidenberg for your college. Splitting your screen in two can make the comparison process easier. The process may be different for Mac and Windows users.

The Takeaway

            It’s important to remember that this is a decision that you and only you can make. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and what your family wants for you, but to make a decision based on the opinions of others is a disservice to yourself. If you choose something you never wanted to do and change your mind later, you might delay the time it takes you to graduate. When it comes down to deciding, try speaking with your advisor. Doing so can help you weigh your options and choose something that works best for you. If you don’t know who your advisor is, try using degree works to find their name and email.

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