What Happens After College? (Geeks and the Silicon Valley)

15 March 2010: More on this topic is in the blog entry “Transitions for Young Adults with Neurocognitive Deficits

On Saturday, 4 April 2009, I am giving a talk in Lafayette, California, called “What Happens After College? – Kids with Neurocognitive Disability Working in
Engineering and Computing”
at the Orion Academy 3rd Annual Seminar on Post-Secondary Transition Planning for Young Adults with Aspergers, NLD and other Neurocognitive Deficits.

I put together this presentation based on information and advice from many sources as well as from my own experience as the parent of a 16-year-old son with social-cognitive disability. I had particular fun creating the “Geeks and the Silicon Valley” section of the talk. I included my favorite quote from
Larry Wall (creator of Perl): “Most of you are familiar with the virtues of a programmer. There are three, of course: laziness, impatience, and hubris” plus an xkcd cartoon, pictures of tshirts (“You read my t-shirt. That’s enough social interaction for one day.”) from Think Geek and the xkcd store, and other geeky stuff.

The second part of the talk covers what counts in finding a job in the Silicon Valley (Recommendations, Academics, Experience, Being Fast), how to get experience before getting a job (Open Source, Internships, Volunteer Projects, College Jobs), and other essential knowledge. I make several references to The Unwritten Laws of Engineering (Revised and Updated, 2001) by James Skakoon and W.J. King, available from the ASME product catalog. My last quote is
from Ivan Sutherland in his 1996  Technology and Courage (Sun Labs Perspectives-96-1):

“I, for one, am and will always be a practicing technologist.
When denied my minimum daily adult dose of technology, I
get grouchy. I believe that technology is fun, especially when
computers are involved, a sort of grand game or puzzle with
ever so neat parts to fit together… If the technology you do
isn’t fun for you, you may wish to seek other employment.
Without the fun, none of us would go on.”

You can  review my presentation online, or you can attend the event to hear it in person!

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3 Comments

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

3 responses to “What Happens After College? (Geeks and the Silicon Valley)

  1. Meri Lane

    I attended your presentation in Lafayette yesterday, which was entertaining, informative and inspiring! I’m sending your presentation to my son, a college freshman at Carnegie Mellon with ADHD and Aspergers traits, who will soon be starting a Microsoft internship for students with disabilities. I think your insights will be tremendously helpful to him, as well as to any students with Aspergers like characteristics embarking on tech careers. Many thanks.

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