Taken from Student World Online
Nobody is saying you have to be a genius, but it helps if you study more than computer science, says Ken Singer, who teaches Mobile Applications and Entrepreneurship at the University of California Berkeley. Singer, a mobile entrepreneur since 1999, suggests students take courses outside engineering, such as psychology, sociology, political science, even chemistry.
“You need diverse disciplines to make a successful mobile app,” he said. “Psychologists and sociologists understand how people make decisions. Chemists know how to bring different components together. Political scientists know how to convince different parts of the business to take a product in a certain direction.
“Google hires this way. Sure, they test you to see how well, how fast and how creatively you can code. But in the interview they want to know what interests you, what your perspective is. They want to see if you are a well-rounded person, that it’s not just about good grades.”
“All the colleges at Berkeley have their own entrepreneurial centers,” he said. “In our class, typically half of our teams spin out as companies. Many of the others end up going straight to Facebook, Google or major consulting firms because of their industry experience.”
Get experience in enterprise – not just consumer – apps, says Singer. “When students talk about apps, they’re usually thinking of these huge, ubiquitous consumer-focused apps that have hundreds of millions of users, like Instagram, Wechat and Line (Japanese instant messaging app),” he said. “But three out of four job opportunities that come up for my students are in enterprise apps. Typically it’s companies looking to expand their current website into a mobile device. They pay more too.”
Singer says: “I’m a serial entrepreneur and actually dropped out of school as an undergraduate so that I could set up an internet company, returning later to complete my BA. That’s encouraged in the US and when I came back I was better able to make the most of my education.
“I would really encourage students to go out there and do something amazing. Go and do something that nobody else has done before. Take some risks. Try not to just follow in the footsteps of every computer science student. I would love to see the next Facebook come out of China or the next Instagram come out of the Middle East.”