Michael Ho- An Intern at Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple

Michael is our invaluable Webmaster who created our beautiful HKSN website. His talent in programming has got him internships at various prestigious companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple. Here in this interview, Michael elaborates on his experience at Apple.

Tell us about what you’ve been studying at McGill.

I’m studying Software Engineering in my fourth year.

What are some pros and cons about your program?

Pros:

  1. We’re currently in a tech bubble, hence, jobs are abundant.
  2. Coding is fun.
  3. The Internet is massive. The potential impact on the world is huge.

Cons:

Most of the things we learn at school aren’t directly applicable to practical work in the industry. Let me explain,

the main programming language taught at McGill is Java, however, Java isn’t currently the most appealing skill to employers.

What’s appealing to the industry is hyped technology such as iOS, Android and Web Development because these generate billions of dollars via massive scale consumer products (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat, Google, Instagram, etc.). Unfortunately, universities cannot teach these most coveted skills because they can’t keep up with the forever evolving industry. It makes sense: You don’t want to teach iOS development in college because the iPhone may update next year or even disappear, so then everything you’d have learned in your degree would become useless.

Therefore, in software engineering, the school teaches you the foundation skills, however, it’s necessary and fundamental to spend a lot (A LOT) of time to learn employable skills on your own and thus for the rest of your career.

What were some valuable involvements at school that taught about yourself and oriented your goals?

Curiously, DECA McGill (business case competition club). I met a friend who inspired me to code get into the software engineering world, this has probably changed my entire career. You never know, sometimes you meet unexpected people at unexpected times.

Please describe about your experience at Apple.

Very demanding but amazing. I worked with some of the smartest people in the tech industry, some were often on the news; it was incredibly inspiring. I worked to empower Siri’s artificial intelligence.

This exposed me to the potential of artificial intelligence directly impacting our lives in the near future.

I also learned incredible work ethic and dedication, there’s a reason why Apple is the world’s richest company; these guys do everything to perfection!

Most regretful thing you’ve done at McGill.

Not spending enough time with people. I may sound old saying that, but college is a once in a lifetime experience.

For most of us, it may be our last chance to hang out with such large crowd of people studying a wide variety of subjects with the same age as you.

At work, it’ll be the opposite, a variety of ages but working in the same uniform field, boring some might say.

Proudest thing you’ve done at McGill.

Took a full-time course load in my second year while spending over 13 weekends at Hackathons abroad and interviewing for internships at 10 companies (some over 5 rounds).

Failed 9 company interviews but managed to pass all courses and nailed the internship which would eventually shape my entire career. Also joined HKSN :)

If you were to go back in time and offer any advice to your U0 self, what would it be?

Seek advice and seek advice early, especially from your seniors, because they worry about the crucial things. Most come into college having no idea what’s really out there, in the real-world (it was my case). It’s typically in U3/U4 that one starts to worry about what to do after graduation.

It’s good to seek ahead, explore your potential path in order to plan everything out. Having an end goal also helps to keep your motivation alive.

I came to McGill with no directions to take and not knowing programming at all. The past two years were just experimenting and making big bets on where to invest my time. It ended up pretty well in my case but I wish someone had told me about this path earlier.

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn

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