While I recover from the flu, take a minute and read the article by Andrew Berls, “Are There Any Questions,” about what it means to take advantage of opportunities and be exceptional.

After he finishes his second year as a UCSB Computer Science student, Andrew will spend his summer as a Software Engineer intern at RingRevenue. His blog at will likely be devoted mostly to subjects of interest only to programmers but the article last week has something to say to almost everyone. If you’ve got kids in school or making choices for their future, this is what you want them to read.

Andrew ends with this:

“If you know all the right people in all the right places but can’t follow through then you’re still no better off than before. What does it meant to follow through? Simply put, be the best at what you do. Be able to bring something to the table. I see many of my peers sort of ‘coasting’ through undergraduate computer science classes. If you ask them what their favorite programming language is, they respond with "C++, because it’s the only thing we’ve learned in school". There’s nothing wrong with C++ in itself (perhaps debatable – another time). It’s the second half of that sentence that gets me every time. "It’s the only thing we’ve learned in school". How can you possibly stand out to recruiters, employers, or anybody if you only do the bare minimum that’s asked of you? There is by no means a shortage of CS undergrads. If you want to find yourself at the head of the pack, then you have to do more. And it doesn’t take a slavish commitment to programming for 19 hours a day to stand out. You don’t have to freak out and give up because you haven’t written the next Facebook by now. It’s the people who do things for the fun of it that will get ahead. It’s the tinkerers, the hackers, the builders, the ones who take things apart and put them back together again. It’s the people who write code and learn languages for kicks or try to write a program just to see if it’s possible. These are the people who will become leaders and show up in the news one day. So don’t be one of the people with a degree and no real direction to turn. There are thousands of resources out there to get started with, and people much smarter than you. Ask questions. Do more. Have fun.”

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