Interview with Henry Hao Yan '17

Interview by Howie Rhee '04, with contributions by Vivian Chung. Added May 13, 2015


Tell us about what you studied at Duke and which program you were in?
Electrical, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science, Minor in Math

Talk about your prior work experience.
- Summer research (machine learning, image processing) and software development at Information Initiative at Duke
- Teaching assistantship for engineering and computer science courses.
- Interned at Venture Hive, a start up accelerator based in Miami
- Developed several websites

What did your recruiting process look like? How many people did you reach out to?
I mainly talked to a number of upperclassman and learned about their advice on applications, and talked to some alum when they visit back on campus. HackDuke and other hackathons are great as I directly chatted with technical recruiters from top companies; in addition, I participated in several coding competitions (both online and at Duke) that helps me showcase my strength in coding and algorithms.

How did you come up with a list of companies to target?
In TechConnect I got to know a number of cool companies, I also received advice from upperclassman on cool tech companies to consider. In addition it's helpful to see the ranking of top tech companies on sites that congregates useful information, such as Forbes, Glassdoor. I know I will spend time in Vancouver, Canada so I focused on Canadian tech companies, and found Hootsuite ranked as the 2nd fastest growing company in Canada. Other sites like AngelList are great for finding start-ups as well.

Talk about how you thought about location (city) as it related to recruiting. Did you know where you wanted to end up or were you exploring?
My advice is to not limit your search (search, not final selection) just based on location , you always want to have more leeway in your final selection and with the mobility today location shouldn't be the foremost concern. So it makes sense to apply to all programs you're interested in. But when weighing offers, locations should factor: for example, you definitely gain more exposure to different technologies in SF, and grow your network in more tech heavy areas.

What was a favorite article or tip that someone gave you on the job search process?
Apply early and have some thing presentable/deliverable.

Anything else you'd like to share with Duke students that are doing their own job search?
If you are doing technical recruiting like software engineering, it's a great idea to have a GitHub Account! Also, go to hackathons, or even roadtrip to other school's hackathons like MIT/ princeton- you will learn so much.

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