Yijian Zong: Style Rules


An Intro:

Style matters than most of the things. It is so much easier to learn technical knowledge than to develop one’s own style. To me, my style is quite straightforward: “Make things. Break them. Then make better ones.” I always have an insatiable appetite for learning and creating new things. I am never afraid to take initiatives and lead. At 15, I had my own trading cards business in middle school. At 16 I had my first startup selling tea bottles. At 17, I had built a monopoly midnight snacks store that had a positive net profit in my boarding school. At 18, I had my first tech startup tackling web security issues. At 19, I received investor’s funding for building a note-sharing platform that supports a large number of customers. After all the business adventures, I decided to switch gears to a more technical side. Starting with zero programming experiences, within two years, I have become a software engineer, web developer, machine learning engineer, and data scientist. I am by no means close to a master of my craft, but I am getting closer day by day.

During my freshman year, I started participating in hackathons, building projects, and taking online courses. Within one year, I have done more than 50 projects, from machine learning, to data science, and to web development.

This paved the road for launching internships in the second year. I got two offers from local startups for the winter and spring quarters. I worked in Myers Media Group as a data science and software engineering intern. In the DS segment, I built machine learning pipelines for a better SEO(Searching Engine Optimization) model. I also used NLP techniques and a variety of data science skillsets to cluster and process search keywords. The DSC80 materials came in handy and made me a more effective data scientist at work. In the software segment, I designed streaming algorithms for scaled downloads. In addition, I also worked in a local startup KEXY as a part-time intern. In the team, I worked on brainstorming and designing data collection methods.

Now I am an incoming summer data science intern for Qualcomm. Looking back at the first two years in college, I would say the key factors in launching data science internships are: networking, mentorship, tech capability, communications, initiatives, and humility to learn more. I cannot stress the importance of humility more. There are always people who you can learn from. They could be your peers, your mentors, your friends, and strangers who are either younger or older. Just be humble when you realize they know some things better than you.

Thoughts on Data Science:

Data science is not just about technical skills, which are only a small portion of its components. At its core, data science is an art. It is about connecting the notes and creating a symphony out of them. A musician will not be called virtuoso because he/she can play really fast or play all notes correctly. Likewise, a data scientist would not be a competent one if he/she is only good at coding the optimal solution for a small problem. It is about having a big picture, a vision, and a vital problem to solve.

One of my favorite quotes:

Always have a champion mentality even when you are an underdog. (By me)

Some final words:

Currently, I have a startup project about recommendation systems with my friend in the CSE department. If you are interested, feel free to contact me and I would happy to chat with you.

Contact info: yizong@ucsd.edu

My website: criswayzong.com