I completed a Bachelor’s degree in international economics and German with the intent of attending law school. The cost of law school, weak job market, and barriers to entry without a J.D. led me to follow my real passion, computer science. Although I would prefer to find a position as a software engineer, I realize I am more qualified for less technical positions (e.g. technical writer, QA engineer).

During the spring of 2012 I completed two courses at the Harvard Extension School; “Introduction to Computer Science Using Java” and “Unix/Linux Systems Programming”. In October I began a 3 month contracted position as a German language QA engineer at Nuance Communications, where I continued to work until April, 2014.

During the summer I completed a two-month intensive calculus course at Northeastern’s College for Professional Studies that covered general function operations, limits and derivations of various functions. During August I completed a less formal class at the Artisan’s Asylum titled “Introduction to the Raspberry Pi”.

I continued studying calculus and micro-controllers in September with Calculus II and an introductory Arduino course.

I would like to eventually complete a Master’s in computer science. The graduate program at the School of Computer Science at UMASS Amherst was ranked 20th in the nation in 2010. If the requirements for entry to that program are too stringent I may consider enrolling as a non-degree student at UMASS Boston, with the expectation that I will be able to apply to a graduate program at UMASS Amherst within a year.

After chatting with three German students studying electrical engineering I realized it will likely be too difficult to gain admittance to a university in Germany.

Online sources for jobs in a technological field include: Digital Software Magazine, Careers 2.0 by Stack Overflow, GitHub Jobs, GWork, Devex, Dice, Microtech Staffing Group†, Linaro, Simply Hired.

Companies located in the Greater Boston area that I would like to work at include MathWorks, Google, Akamai Technologies, and Black Duck Software.

The Boston Globe Magazine ranked Akamai as the 14th top place to work among Massachusetts companies with greater than 1,000 employees. In the next largest category Google ranked 12th, while Black Duck Software ranked 36th in the following category, which consisted of companies with between 100 and 249 employees.1

Other technology companies I may consider applying to include: Accenture, Akamai, Booz Allen, CA Techonologies, Capgemini, Computer Sciences Corporation, CSIS, Google†2, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intralinks, Lockheed Martin†, Mandiant, Mathworks†, Mitre, Oracle, PTC†, Raytheon, SAIC, SAP AG, Trilogy, Stremor. Companies where I have a contact are marked with a “†”.


Software engineer

My long term goal is to work as a system or network engineer. A Google search for a position might look like, linux unix -administrator -administration -senior -sr -experienced -principal.

Company Position
GitHub Unix Network & System Engineer
Tracelytics Systems Software Engineer

Post-college job search

During the summer of 2011 I considered numerous fields of employment before I decided to focus on computer science and software engineering.

Federal government

I imagine the position that would be most available to me, but also provide the responsibility I am looking for would be a research assistant. The primary source for jobs in the federal government is USAJOBS, which includes vacancies from the Department of Commerce, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Education, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Judicial Branch, Department of Justice, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Special Counsel, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of State, and U.S. International Trade Commission.

Agencies not included on USAJOBS that I may be interested in include the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Foreign Service. However, it appears that all GAO vacancies are listed on USAJOBS.

Keeping in mind my interest in accountability and responsibility, I believe the best position available to me would be as a paralegal or legal assistant. After interviewing with TRAK Legal it seems that their website provides a great source for jobs in the D.C. area, in addition to GWork.

German organizations

Job postings found through Die Zeit include the following:

Companies using registered lobbyists generated by the Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker: Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag, Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology, Deutsche Telecom AG, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nuclear Safety, and Nature Conservation, German State of Rheinland-Pfalz, Democracy International

Academic and policy organizations

Most policy positions are at non-profit organizations, with low wages and high competition. One source for jobs is the Foreign Policy Association.

Organizations I am interested in include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, and Sunlight Foundation.

Technical writer

In November 2011 MathWorks listed four open positions for technical writers. They preferred experience with XML authoring tools (e.g. PTC Arbortext “Epic” Editor) to create documents that adhere to the DITA standard.3 If I were met with the same task within my environment I would likely use the xmllint command to check if the document is well-formed and a valid instance of the included DTD or XML Schema. XML documents should be styled with XSLT, which generates an HTML document.

Language Mention
Fortran 1
R 1
C 2
C++ 6
Java 8
Python 7
Javascript 6
Perl 3
Unix 4

Steve Yegge, a programmer who works at Google, has written several blog posts about hiring and interviewing for development positions:

Company Position Apply Reply
Google Technical Writer, Developer Products 12/27/2010
Google Technical Writer, Partner Solutions 12/27/2010
Google Technical Writer, Chrome OS 12/27/2010
Google Technical Writer, Site Reliability 12/27/2010
SAP Software Quality Specialist
Mathworks Technical Content Specialist 12/07/2011
Mathworks Matlab Content Specialist 12/07/2011
Mathworks Matlab Content Specialist 12/07/2011 12/16/2011
Mathworks Matlab Content Specialist 12/05/2011 12/07/2011
Google Associate Product Manager 11/9/2011 11/21/2011