A long line of students dropped off resumes with job recruiters on a recent Tuesday night as they filed into Pfizer Auditorium for a Tech Talk titled “Data Eco-System and Challenges.” It was one of the first in a series of Wasserman Center for Career Development fall recruiting initiatives featuring employer presentations, site visits to regional companies, and networking events scheduled for the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) Fall Job and Internship Career Fair. “Our goal is to educate bright people like yourselves, but once in a while you also need jobs,” NYU-Poly President Katepalli Sreenivasan said in his opening remarks to the nearly at-capacity room. “This is the inaugural visit to this campus of potential employers, and you will find that many of these companies with which Poly is associated are very well known.”
This was certainly the case on Tuesday, as the speaker, Nandu Jayakumar, had flown in from Sunnyvale, California with a team of recruiters representing Yahoo!—a multinational corporation that operates dozens of online services and websites (including Tumblr and Flickr) in more than 30 languages.
“At Yahoo!, we work with hundreds of petabytes of data,” said Jayakumar, a Senior Architect who has received multiple patents and awards for his work with analytical data management in large systems. “Yes, you heard that right. Hundreds of petabytes.” After showing a video of the Sunnyvale headquarters—in which employees testified to a corporate culture of Nerf gun battles, pick-up basketball games, and hit-the-ground-running levels of individual responsibility—Jayakumar described his complex, ongoing work with data pipelines and forecasting for the company’s back-end team.
“Some of you are asking, ‘If these problems are so unique that they can only be seen at companies that work at webscale, how can I make any difference at all?’” said Jayakumar. A photo of a young man appeared on the screen behind the podium. “This is Vincenzo Di Nicola,” Jayakumar said. Nicola is the Chief Technology Officer of the e-commerce and point-of-sale company GoPago, which he also co-founded. But before that, while studying computer science, Nicola interned Yahoo!. His discoveries there led to a transformation across all of the corporation’s pipelines, which Jayakumar pointed to as emblematic of the caliber of contribution possible for an entry-level employee or intern.
“You can be one of these people,” said Jayakumar. “If you truly have a passion for working with large data systems, come to Yahoo!.”
An extensive Q&A followed the talk, and as it wound down, students snacked on empanadas in the lobby and discussed upcoming career fair events. “I’ve got my resume ready,” said Rayhanul Islam ME ’15.
Abner Molina EE ’15 had previously landed a summer internship researching wireless power transfer at the University of Texas at Arlington through last year’s fair. He offered a few words of advice. “Make sure you know yourself—your weaknesses and your strengths,” he said. “And research the companies before going; [they] might not ask if you know about [their work], but they’ll be impressed when you do.”