Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Crossing the Rubicon

For the last two weeks I have been contemplating what I consider to be the most important decision of my life. I have been offered an internship position at Microsoft, as well as a summer research position here at UBC. Both of the positions are related to artificial intelligence, but the Microsoft position will probably be more focused on software development. The research position will involve working on a program called CIspace (http://www.cs.ubc.ca/labs/lci/CIspace) funded by a NSERC USRA (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Award).

To me this decision represents much more than just what I plan on doing this summer, but what I plan on doing for the rest of my life. On one hand I can do research on fascinating topics directly related to what I am interested in, but on the other I can start a career as a software developer with a much higher salary but work on something which I don't find as fulfilling. Choosing the Microsoft position would probably open many career opportunities within the software development industry, but I fear life as a code monkey will be stressful and unsatisfying. Today I was forced to choose between the two positions, and I have decided to go with CIspace. I really hope that I don't end up regretting this choice later in life.

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