Essay - by wuzhenguang


									                                                                         September, 2002

Nova Southeastern University
Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences
Admissions Committee

Dear Sirs,

        In the beginning there were decks of punched cards with diagonal lines painted on
the top of it, making it easier to spot a card out of order. A few JCL cards, your code;
including some continuation cards to fit the 132 columns report line; some data and you
were able to feed your job to the mighty IBM /360. That was it when I entered college in
search of an Engineer degree. There was no Computer Science degree, at that time,
computer science was an abstraction shared by the electronic engineering and mechanical
engineering, with its process control branch. Many things came to pass in those six years,
some logic, some algorithms, some assembly, of the big /370 and of the tiny Z80; some
Cobol, and finally, I was entitled to TSO, after extra credits and an assistant teacher
position for the Introduction to Computer Language class enabled me to relinquish the
punched cards.

        Shortly after graduation, I was fortunate to be accepted as system analyst of the
consulting division of Arthur Andersen, which became Andersen Consulting, and more
recently Accenture. The PC became XT, then AT; or if you prefer, the 8080 became the
80286, marvelous machines, with a full 20 Megabytes of hard disk. But you still had to
be careful to fit everything you needed in the 640k, even after pushing all you could to
the clouds of the 1M memory. That was a time of great learning, in interesting projects
and courses at their training facility near Chicago.

        After working for a few years with the accounting system of Brazil’s oil
company, I decided to brave new worlds and came to the USA to work in a small
consulting firm, where I came in contact with CTI, Computer Telephony Integration.
This knowledge led me to a job with Quintus a couple of years ago, to work with the
server group for their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) product, mainly
involved with the maintenance and development of new versions of the telephony

        After these more than twenty years, not only names have changed, the 586
became Pentium, MS-DOS became Windows, Quintus became Avaya (a Lucent spin-
off), but also the computer environment evolved in an astonishing way. The floppy disk
upgraded to a diskette and then into a CD. 20 Megabytes is now more easily associated
with a single file than with RAM and hard disk sizes are in the order of, at least, tens of

       While in college, my perception was that a Master degree, immediately following
the Bachelor degree, was only suited for those pursuing an academic career. Practical, on-
the-job experience was necessary. After working for a few years I would get back to
formal studies. But, as the years passed it became more and more difficult to stop and get
back to school.

        Now, two things got in place to change this. First, my company is big and
structured enough to have space for technical work of the highest quality and complexity,
and to provide support for continuous improvement through learning. Secondly, the same
computer evolution that is part of the reason for looking toward another degree, enabled
online off-campus courses.

        My goal is to remain working in technical positions, but at the same time not to
remain stable, improving myself and being able to increase my contribution to the
company's knowledge base and growth. If accepted to the Graduate School of Computer
and Information Sciences of Nova Southeastern University, I will surely be heading in
this direction as well as offering my own diverse experience to the other students of the

       Sincerely yours,

       Pedro P. Costacurta

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