Programming for Professionals: Manickam Manickam ’18
A computer science graduate and former member of the men’s tennis team at Oberlin, Manickam Manickam ’18 has brought enthusiasm and a robust work ethic to his first postgraduate job.
You're working as a software engineer at Pulse Insights. What you do, and what has it been like working there?
I've been a software developer at Pulse Insights for almost nine months now, and I’ve really loved it. We are an enterprise software company that collects and analyzes customer feedback through the creation of surveys with the intention of being non-invasive and quick to answer. I mainly write code to fix bugs and add features in the backend of our software. At a startup with a small team, I also have a variety of other roles that include delivering client requests and figuring out how we can integrate new technologies into our software.
Were you always interested in computer science and programming? Did any of your experiences at Oberlin lead to your current job?
The design process when it comes to engineering something, big or small, has always been very enjoyable and interesting to me. I think I took my first computer science class when I was a freshman in high school, and I really liked how I could apply my problem-solving skills with the programming concepts I was learning. I definitely owe a very big thanks to Peter Swendsen ’99, who is the chair of the TIMARA department and the tennis team’s faculty liaison, for putting me in touch with the company and helping me land this job.
What do you love most about the work that you’re doing at the moment?
I love the people I get to work with at this company! All three of the cofounders of Pulse Insights are Oberlin classmates of Peter’s, so it has been great getting to work with other Obies. Because we are a small team, I sometimes have responsibilities unrelated to software, such as taking sales calls or interacting with clients. Non-software tasks allow me to practice other professional skills, which is another great thing about working here.’
Do you have any advice for current students who are looking to get into computer science fields?
Reading Cracking the Coding Interview is usually a good place to start. I also think it’s really important to step outside of the computer science sphere, connect with your other interests, and meet people who share those interests with you. When you are passionate about something, other people will notice, and that’s how opportunities and connections can form.
In the future, Manickam plans to pursue more education after a few years of work experience.