2012 First Half Recap: Part II

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Meant to get this done earlier but have been pretty busy with work and what not but I’ll blog about that later. Continuing on…

Intel

So about 30 minutes before I got the rejection letter from Qualcomm at sushi night, I got an email from Intel in Irvine about setting up a phone interview. I had seen their opening for a pre-silicon validation engineer on BruinView a few days ago and applied.

The phone interview went pretty well. The interviewer asked a couple of technical questions but most of the questions were about school projects, my passions, and interests. At the end of the interview, the interviewer invited me for an onsite interview that Friday.

It took me a while to find the Intel building since all the buildings at the UCI University Research Park are identical. Thankfully I was able to find the building with enough time to down a couple Jack and the Box breakfast sandwiches. The onsite interview was similar to the one I had at Qualcomm. I interviewed with four engineers but each interview at a different focus.

The first interview was focused on digital design. The interviewer asked me to use a D flip-flop to divide the clock by 2. I was struggling throughout the whole problem and had to get a couple of hints from the interviewer before I got an answer. It was a pretty easy question in my opinion so I felt pretty dumb.

The questions in the second interview were more on hardware – transmission lines, CMOS, noise, power. The interviewer was really intimidating and I hadn’t taken a EE class since junior year so this interview was the hardest by far. I just answered all the questions I could but had no clue about a few of them.

Then I met with another engineer who asked me a bunch of programming questions. He asked me a few problems and told me that I could answer the problem in any language I wanted. I chose C. I was able to answer all the questions but needed a little help on the last one. The interviewer said the last problem is the hardest and that almost everyone needs a few hints to solve it.

The last interview was the most chill. The interview was focused on teamwork so I was asked a lot of “how would you respond if…” questions. I answered with a few references to the logic design lab and V-SET. Yay for no technical questions! Afterwards the manager came to chat for ten minutes or so. He let me know that I will likely hear a response in 2-3 weeks since a few people are flying out from New York to interview next week.

While I was waiting for Mike to pick me up after the interview, I sat at a table outside at Starbucks and started writing out all the questions I couldn’t answer. I wanted to remember the questions so I could look up the answers over the weekend and not make the same mistakes again. I had plenty of time too because apparently Mike got into a little accident on the way over. He later told me that he was praying that God would humble him.

When we got back to Mike’s place, we had about an hour to kill before praise night. I played Monopoly Deal with Jimmy while Mike was looking through insurance stuff. At praise night when people asked me how the interview went, I told them it was like a hard exam. “Hopefully the curve saves me”.

During the weekend I wrote a thank you note to the manager and asked him to forward it to the engineers I interviewed with. The next Monday the manager wrote me an email thanking me for the note and offering me a position. I was in shock for a good 30 minutes. It all happened so fast. Literally a week before I was back at square one after being turned down from Qualcomm. Now I had a full time job offer from Intel, a company electrical/computer engineers would kill for. Crazy! I was wondering if they made a mistake and had me confused for someone else.

They gave me until that Friday to make a decision about the offer. I spent a lot of extra time in the Word and prayer that week asking Him if this is where He wants me to go. Taking this job would keep me from serving in Bruin ICA next year and from serving the guys in the bible study. When I talked with people from ICA about my decision, I got the feeling that they wanted me to stay.

After much thought, prayer, and talks with people I decided to take the offer. After the decision was made, I felt that other people were ‘disappointed’ in my decision. People started treating me differently for a while. But I stand beside my decision. I know what I’m getting myself into and I know what I have to give up, but I’m confident this is where God wants me to be.

Mom

So I was informed a few days before I went off to V-SET (Summer 2011) that my mom had a few tumors on her head and that one of them was cancerous. The parents said they wanted to wait to tell us during summer break so that we wouldn’t worry while we finish our projects and cram for finals.

While I was on V-SET my mom was visiting doctors in LA and having a couple of operations to remove the malignant tumors on her cheek. I would pray for her whenever God brought her to mind.

During the 2012 winter quarter, my mom flew out to Boston to spend a couple of months getting radiation treatment. Apparently this hospital in Boston specializes in this rare form of cancer. My dad even flew out and stayed with her for a week. Mom and dad would send out email updates every once in a while to family/friends/church. I think I even posted one of them on this blog.

Now my mom is back in California, done with all the radiation treatments. She still has to go get checked up every once in a while to make sure the tumor doesn’t come back. But for now, she seems to have made a full recovery and has regained all her strength. Mom and dad both seemed very calm throughout the whole process. It was very evident that my mom knew that this whole situation was part of God’s plan and that He was in control. I never saw her freak out or break down and cry. She was just calm like she always is.  She was always giving glory to God through this whole mess. Props.

2012 First Half Recap: Part I

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I know that it has been over half a year since I last posted on this thing. I don’t know what happened but I just never got around to blogging. Hopefully I will post on this blog a little more regularly but for now, I just wanted to give a quick update on what has been going on the past six months.

Laserfiche

I first talked to Laserfiche at the fall career fair at UCLA and was one of the companies that seemed pretty interested in me. They asked me some conceptual CS questions at the fair and then sent me a couple of coding problems that I had to solve within a week. Then I got a phone interview but it was mostly behavioral. I remember bringing up V-SET for a lot of my answers.

A few days later I got invited to an onsite interview for a software engineering position– my first one ever! It was scheduled near the beginning of my winter break. It was raining pretty hard that day but I got to the building safely. I first met with two HR people who showed me a fifteen minute video of the company and what they do. Then I met with two engineers who asked me a few technical questions. First, they asked me to write a program that would take a number (n) as input and output all the prime numbers from zero to n. They actually handed me a keyboard and wanted me to code it on a computer. I expected to just write my code on a whiteboard, which is the norm at every other company. Basically, I froze and messed up. It took me a while to come up with a solution and even that wasn’t a fully functional one. They then asked me a brainteaser type puzzle that I actually saw before online. I gave the answer pretty quickly but they then changed the problem a little and made it more complicated. I couldn’t solve the new problem in time.

Walking out of the office, I was kind of disappointed in how I interviewed but viewed it as a learning opportunity. It was my first on-site interview after all. Three weeks later, I got an email letting me know that I wasn’t chosen for the job.

ICA Tahoe Trip

A couple days after the Laserfiche interview, I was off to the annual ICA Tahoe trip. It was a very much needed time of fun and fellowship after the very stressful finals week and interview prep. This year we had a packed cabin with around twenty people. I was glad Josh and Xiao were also able to make it out and get to know the ICA family a little better.

The first day at Tahoe we did a lot of driving, sightseeing, and picture taking. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the cabin playing games and fellowshipping. The next day we hit the slopes. We got a student discount, which means all day lift tickets for $15. I spent the first half of the day on the bunny slopes helping out and encouraging the first-timers. I still had a good time on the bunny slope and I fell a good number of times myself. I then went on the intermediate slopes a few times and got in my groove. I feel like it’s easier to snowboard on the intermediate slopes since you have enough speed to actually carve.

One thing I really appreciate about the trip this year is the amount of hangout time that we got at night. I rarely get to play games/hang out/fellowship much during the quarter so I enjoyed the evenings a lot. The last night we played Jenga with crazy punishments. As the game went on, the turns got longer and longer and the suspense kept growing. Fabian lost the first couple of games and we made him do a bunch of pushups. He lost again and then we made him go out in the snow and do a snow angel on both his stomach and back. He lost another time and made him stick his head in the snow for five seconds. He was screaming pretty loudly :D. Even though he lost a lot, Fabian did have a bunch of epic grabs. Jessie then lost and she had to do a snow angel on her back. We loosened the punishment because she was a girl. The last game I lost and had to stick my head in the snow for ten seconds. It didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would. Maybe because I didn’t bury my head as deep as Fabian did.

Winter Conference

At the winter conference servant’s meeting I was asked to be the UCLA prayer coordinator. I was a little reluctant in accepting because I rarely ever pray out loud and in front of people. I held a few prayer meetings at UCLA for winter conference. Even though I didn’t really know what I was doing, God answered a lot of our prayers J

The biggest thing I took out of winter conference was the power of prayer. As prayer coordinator, I would hold prayer meetings before each session with Jimmy and Helen. Very few people showed up to pray before the first few sessions but we had a pretty large group the last couple of sessions. Throughout conference we prayed for at least one person to accept Christ and that we would all experience His power and healing. The last day at winter conference, David came up to the microphone and declared that he accepted Christ. I remember him saying that he was wrestling with Christianity for a while but he didn’t know why he finally decided to make the decision at conference. I believe that it’s evidence for the Holy Spirit at work.

The speaker, Ron York, shared some pretty crazy stories of how he experienced God in his life. These examples challenged me to remove the boundaries I placed on God’s presence/power in our lives today. During conference we were able to put these applications into action by going on a prayer walk at 5AM in the morning and making a short term prayer list. I also wanted to continue to grow in prayer after conference by setting time aside every morning just to pray and by holding prayer meetings every week. I feel that through a deeper and more consistent prayer life, I am able to see God’s working hand in every aspect of my life whether good or bad.

The last night of conference is usually reserved for hanging out and writing care-bear cards for people. I remember hanging out with Mark, Josh, and Xiao that night. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them much, but I realized after about five minutes of talking with them that they changed. Their faces were a lot brighter and we were actually talking about more spiritual things. It’s hard to explain. It’s just one of those moments where you had to be there. Glad they were blessed.

Phillip

By the start of winter quarter, Mark and I were able to share the bridge illustration with everyone in our IBS except Phillip. I had been praying for an opportunity to share with him. One week, only Phillip was able to come out to bible study that night so we saw this as the perfect time to finally share with him. We found a couple seats on the second floor of De Neve and I shared the bridge with him there. He agreed that there was a lot of emptiness in his life that the things of this world could not fill. After I finished the bridge, he asked some questions and then wanted to invite Christ into his life. I knew he was genuinely seeking God but I didn’t expect him to want to accept that very day. I thought he would be a #2 like everyone else but God surprised me. This was the first time for me seeing someone accept Christ in the US through the bridge illustration. Looking back, it’s easy for me to see God’s working that night.

On the walk back to our apartment, we agreed that Mark would follow up with Phillip.

Qualcomm

I applied to Qualcomm online and got a one hour phone interview with them during winter break. It turned out that the interview went okay and they invited me to an onsite interview for a software engineering position in the QGOV sector. I skipped class on a Friday and drove down to San Diego early in the morning for the 9AM interview. Unlike Laserfiche, I would be having six rounds of interviews so the entire day would last over five hours.

I first met with an HR guy who went over all the benefits and perks of working at Qualcomm. He was basically trying to sell the company to me. For this job, I would have to get a thorough security clearance since I would be working on very confidential government stuff and wouldn’t be able to tell anyone what I work on.

 The next five interviews were all technical. I slipped up on one of the problems I should’ve been able to solve. I thought, on the whole, the other interviews went pretty well. I felt like I did especially well on the last two interviews and these were with the senior engineers.

One of the interviews was actually done over lunch. My fourth interviewer tried to drive me out to a restaurant that he likes in Torrey Pines. I would’ve liked to enjoy cruising through San Diego but unfortunately the guy was throwing technical questions at me for most of the time. It turns out that the road to the restaurant was closed due to the Torrey Pines golf tournament going on. We decided to go back and eat at the Qualcomm cafeteria. It was alright – not as good as UCLA.

It was a pretty intense day but I walked out of Qualcomm thankful for the energy to make it through the day. The people I met there were very nice, I was excited about the work Qualcomm was doing, and San Diego seemed like a very nice place to live. I was waiting and praying for a long time. I told God that I wanted this job but only if it’s according to His will. About three weeks later, while all the guys were chilling at Nahsung before sushi night, I got an email informing me that I wasn’t chosen for the position.

I feel that I got carried away as I was hoping in this job. I wanted to stay around ICA but it was hard to find anything that would allow me to since a lot of the engineering jobs were away from LA. I started becoming desperate for something after applying for a bunch of jobs and getting a bunch of interviews but coming up short. After the Qualcomm interview, I was drawn by the attractive living environment in San Diego, the good pay, and interesting work. It was all about me, me, and me. I thought I had a decent chance at getting the position so I saw Qualcomm as a real possibility and put a lot of my hope in the job – but God shut the door.