San Fran with TechNext-WMU

Jordan Cardenas

1) It’s day 2, and the trip has gone beyond my expectations. We visited Primer Ai, OmniSci, MapBox, and Mesosphere. The technology I have seen out west, specifically in San Francisco, has changed my point of view on choosing a career path and also applying this knowledge to help choose classes to take. This will potentially set me up for success out here in the tech industry. The companies we visited all had at least one thing in common… BIG DATA! Data is the most important variable in the tech industry, and also extremely valuable to all companies. Without user data input, these companies might not exist. What I noticed is the all of the companies we visited all used a similar term, “big data sets.” On a day-to-day basis, everyone with a smartphone or a computer collects or creates data. This data has to be stored somewhere, and there are companies that have turned this fact into a business model. When larges companies create data, they create too much to store themselves. Companies like Mesosphere find a way to store these large sets of data, and still have that data be accessible to these companies which allows them to solve business problems or help that business save money. Companies like Primer Ai create software that uses the brute strength of GPU (graphics processing unit) and artificial intelligence to sift through all this data we output every day to solve difficult problems. Data is stored on different types of database management systems (DBMS), most use some sort of SQL engine. SQL is short for sequence query language and is a relational DBMS, meaning that this engine is responsible for querying to create and maintain data to find relations between other data. As a person that is extremely interested in technology, and one that hopes to pave a path into this industry, visiting this company and the knowledge I’ve gained from the experience has been substantially beneficial. I want to live out here in Silicon Valley one day and this knowledge makes this dream I have seem possible.

2) I can’t choose a favorite company that we have visited but one that I found extremely interesting was a company called Mesosphere. When we first arrived, I noticed that the company took proprietary caution by having us sign in one by one. This gave me a sense that their technology was advanced, and they like to make sure that it’s protected. Once we entered, the employees were very friendly. The environment was full of culture and looked diverse in the terms of race and gender, which really stuck out to me since that was what I look for when looking for employment. Another thing I noticed was that throughout their building, every room had a “space” theme, hence their name “Mesosphere” which is the layer above the earth’s stratosphere. Every room was named after something that occurs out in space. This attracted me even more to this company since I too have a love for space and astronomy. During the meeting our presenter said something that really rung in my ears for a while, the quote was “data is like the new oil, everybody is trying to mine it…” As a student that is studying computer information systems and entrepreneurial studies, I found that to be extremely influential since it tied to what I was learning currently here at WMU. After the presentation we got to stand around and talk with the President and Chief Operations Officer, Will Freiberg, and Senior Director, Matt Buchwald about their hiring process and their goals as a company. I’d have to say that this company really made it seem that an average mid-western student like me had endless possibilities out in San Francisco and have truly inspired me to pursue a career in the tech industry.

3) Words cannot begin to explain the inspiration I’ve gotten from this trip. This experience has gone beyond my expectations. I figured that this would be a “game changing” experience but I never thought it would completely change what I see when I look into my future. I’m extremely grateful to be 1 of the 13 students to be hand selected to go on this trip out of 24,000 who attend Western Michigan University. Without this opportunity I would still be confused on what degree to shoot for, or what to do with my post-graduation life.
The tech next program has given me the ability to reach out to previous WMU alumni who have found their success in the Silicon Valley area and ask for any sort of business advice or advice with school. Being able to network with these people and hear their incredibly inspiring stories on how they found their success was beneficial and insightful for me as a small business owner. I now have a better understanding on how to talk with people in this industry.
Without this program, or the great students that I am proud to call my teammates, I would still be a closed minded individual with severe social anxiety. After going on this trip, I can say that my mind has been opened immensely and I now only suffer from mild social anxiety. This program has helped in ways I can’t even fathom yet, but as of right now it has been the best decision I have ever made. If you are a student who can relate to me, I strongly recommend that you take a step out of your comfort zone and go on a trip like this. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and it will be the greatest decision you will ever make.

Trust me, this program will take you a long way. If you like hard work and opening your mind to innovative thinking, you will fit in perfect.

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