computer science

Am I still a computer scientist if I started a fashion design company eight years ago? Even if I’m the web master, graphic designer, and programmer for said company?

It’s a bit of a career identity quandary. I know what I am (computer scientist), but people tell me what they think I should be, and I say ok. It doesn’t help that computer science is this fluid field that cuts across the organizational structure of any field. Even when you think you’re dealing with a doctor, he/she relies heavily on electronic imaging software for the bulk of their work (computer vision, imaging, graphics). X-rays are imaging too; not within computer science, but within the scope of another field, which I don’t know. When you think you’re dealing with a finance or investment banking firm, you find out most of it is composed of programmers supporting what goes on on the trading floor. For instance, when I worked in Goldman Sachs’ technology division, we — the technology division — made up 20% of Goldman Sachs’ total workforce.

In my spare time, I read a lot of computer science literature. While I get other kind of knowledge (fashion, business, etc) online, I invest in hardcopy computer science books.

If you’re like me and went as far as to study computer science in both undergrad and grad school, you’re never really not a computer scientist unless you really don’t want to be. Computer science is the ‘operations’ that keeps all modern companies, Minku included, running smoothly: payments gateway, e-commerce, online communications, and customer feedback mechanism. Aided by lots of third party companies and software, I’m the one who synthesizes these components and keeps them running together smoothly within the company in question. Ergo, I’m a computer scientist, as much as I ever was.

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