Research and Discovery
Three Awarded Watson Fellowships
When Ryan Friedman’21 entered Hamilton, he had no idea what he wanted to study, much less pursue after college. Now, the computer science major has found his path and will soon be a software engineer at Bloomberg.
Friedman was initially drawn to computer science because it functions like solving puzzles. After all, at its core, coding and programming are about problem-solving. As he gained a deeper understanding of the subject, however, he realized it was more multifaceted than he had expected.
“As I kind of developed that foundation of fundamentals, it turned into a more creative process,” he said. “It’s still logical, it’s still a puzzle, but I have enough of my own opinions of how things should look that it becomes — not artistic — but there’s a creation aspect, putting your own spin on things. … It combines the best of both the logical and creative aspects.”
Before Hamilton, Friedman had not thought about computer science engineering. He took an introductory course on a whim, enjoyed it, and continued to explore from there. He had no idea he wanted to consider engineering until his sophomore fall, and only last year began to seriously consider it.
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Ardsley, N.Y.
High School: Ardsley High School
“It didn’t really set in firmly until COVID hit and I had nothing to do,” Friedman said. “I was playing around, doing homework and side projects, and I was like – I like this a lot, I should probably make this into my career.”
He spent a lot of time researching different roles and speaking with alumni from various companies to get a better understanding of what he wanted to do. He began his job search last August, launching applications at everything that looked interesting to him. He estimates that he did about 20-25 interviews. He received a few other offers, but Bloomberg, in all aspects – culture, work-life balance, and benefits – stood out to him.
“The biggest thing I found that was different at Bloomberg than some other companies is the emphasis on collaboration,” Friedman said. “Every single meeting room is glass; you can see straight through it. It’s an open office plan, and you’re encouraged to ask people questions and collaborate on problems together.”
Friedman is looking forward to working with large models of data and learning about industry standards, and then potentially moving into some sort of leadership role, perhaps as a team lead. Long-term, he sees himself possibly moving into the start-up world or working more specifically with coding and less with finance.
He believes he has gained a strong knowledge of computer science fundamentals and concepts at Hamilton, which is crucial to becoming an engineer. “That’s sort of what computer science and engineering are to me – having the ability to learn,” Friedman said. “Because there’s so much technology out there. You’re never going to know all of it, so just being given the tools to learn them as you need to is super important.”
Further, Friedman said Hamilton’s emphasis on communication and collaboration, both in and outside of the classroom, helped him connect with Bloomberg.
“Being on the lacrosse team, having to communicate and work together and find solutions, work in groups for projects, doing presentations – the ability to formulate my own ideas, communicate them to other people, and present them effectively is a lot more important in engineering than people probably think,” he said. “People think it’s just coding all day, but there’s a lot of inner-team communication, trying to figure out who needs what, what’s prioritized, and getting people on board with your ideas. That stuff is definitely like a Hamilton special that I don’t think most engineering schools push.”
Three Awarded Watson Fellowships