Success Beyond the Campus

That's the name of the award I will be honored with by Georgia Tech later this month. But now that my stay at college is winding down, what will I really do beyond the campus? Contrary to popular belief, as referenced by the increasing number of emails from recruiters/head hunters I have been receiving recently, I won't be graduating until December (as a result of having changed majors). Fortunately this gives me some time to think about what I really want to do directly after college. This post comes from an extremely popular Skribit suggestion by Andrew Hyde with close to 900 votes.

When people ask me what I plan on doing after college I usually list a bunch of things I could do, effectively dodging their question. With graduation being somewhat visible at this point (only 6 more classes spread), I've started actively thinking about the next step.

There are two basic scenarios. If Skribit takes off and receives funding from local investors I will likely stay in Atlanta a bit longer to ensure the growth and success of the company until it is at a point that working on Skribit is not affected by my location. I have my heart set on California and as much as I hate to say it, I just don't like Atlanta that much. I talked a bit about what Atlanta needs to fortify its tech community in an interview with Dan Greenfield, who will be posting about it soon.

The other scenario involves heading out to California immediately. After graduation I plan on taking a month or two off to relax as I've been in school year round with summer classes for a few years. That and everyone tells me to take time off now as I won't get it once I start working full-time. That downtime might include staying at home then making a trip to search for housing in San Francisco or spending time in Europe with friends.

I definitely want to practice what I preach about startups so I don't plan on entertaining any offers from large Internet companies at this moment. I'll have a better understanding of where Skribit is headed in a few months but I want to keep working on it as long as possible and build a passionate community around it. Whether that will be enough to pay for my rent and ramen will decide whether I actively seek work at another startup for a while to save up money to live off of.

Where do I fit in with all these startups? It's hard to tell. I'm a jack of all trades, master of some. I wouldn't call myself a programmer but given enough time and motivation I can just about hack anything into submission. For example, after some scouring of the Amazon EC2 API doc I had an instance up and running while I should have been paying attention in computer science class. I'll probably post something about getting started with Amazon EC2 later on.

Possible titles I could see myself wearing include product manager, idea guy or tech evangelist. But then again I do have a knack for looking at the internals of products and seeing how they work so I don't think I want to distance myself too much from the technical side. As a backup career, I could take up tech writing but I'd like to keep that as a hobby and not ruin my passion by making it a corporate task.

If you are currently a student, what do you want to do after college?

As a side note, this spring semester is among the hardest and busiest I have ever taken so posting around here will be sporadic for the next month.