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Austin Lin, Alum, InfoSci Major '09

Austin Lin InfoSci Alum

Austin is currently the co-founder of Aggregift, an NYC based startup. His responsibilities include product design, software engineering, and building a great engineering team. Prior to Aggregift, Austin worked at Microsoft and other startups.

Why did you decide to select the Information Science program?

I had a passion for technology and was considering CS but felt IS had a more holistic approach. IS focuses on studying technology in context of people, and society which I think is really interesting. The multidisciplinary nature of the courses and professors was also appealing to me.

Did the program meet your expectations?  Why?

Yes, absolutely. Technology affects every part of our lives now; understanding how it works, how it's designed, and how people will use it is invaluable in my current job and past roles.

Did you feel you had a clear cut goal either before or while in the program?

Before choosing the major, I knew that I wanted to work with technology but that was about it. IS gives you a lot of options for what you can to do afterwards whether it's going into design, engineering, business, law or a combination of those. It's easy to take courses in different disciplines and focus on the ones you enjoy.

What parts of the program were important to reach your goal?  What skills that you learned in college have benefited you most in your career?

One thing I use on a daily basis is what I learned in studying different types of communication technologies and their strengths. Some other courses that I found useful were Software Engineering (5150), because it gives you experience working in a team, and HCI parts 1 and 2 because it changes the way you think about product design.

If you had to make any recommendations for the program, what would they be?

I would recommend to feature more courses that cover law, policy and technology since this will be a topic of increasing importance in the future. I would also love to see more focused 1 or 2 credit classes that feature new technologies/programming languages. It would be useful to have more resources that show potential career paths given the wide variety of opportunities with IS. 

What advice would you give to a current student in the program?

Don’t be afraid to get more technical, having a strong technical background opens up more opportunities down the line. Pick up a side project whether that's designing a personal website or building an app for fun with a new programming language. Try to take project-based classes to get experience working with teams.