Becoming a Researcher – Friedrich Doku

This semester, I decided to work on a research project, but I needed someone to mentor me. I am interested in computer security and embedded systems, so it had to be someone who shared those interests. To look for a mentor, I scrolled the faculty page of the CS department. I read about each professor until I found Dr. Adam J. Lee.  I read that he did computer security research about the internet of things (IoT) and sensor-based systems, which is exactly what interests me. We talked a week later, and he told me about some of the projects he was working on. Projects that involved secure hardware and embedded systems. That was the first time I heard about secure hardware and trusting the hardware instead of the operating system. That conversation gave me a few ideas, so I put something together and came back to him with a project idea. We came up with a plan, and before I knew it, I was doing research. 

Anyone who wants to do computer science research should know that the field is full of many areas, from compiler design to artificial intelligence. If you are a computer science major, you still have to figure out what you want to do. You must explore a few areas to figure out what you like. Don’t be afraid to learn a lot about different areas. You don’t need to become an expert, but you should learn enough to know if you like the area. Learn about people that do research in that area. Learn about who they are and what they do. Never be afraid to ask too many questions. Remember these researchers were college students just like you. They all had to figure out what they wanted to do. It’s important to know what areas you like because chances are you will like them in the future. 

In the future, I want to become a researcher in the field of computer science. To pursue my goal, I will need good mentors and plenty of opportunities to do research to build my skills. There are so many skills that go into research problem solving, creativity, etc. I must build a solid foundation that way I can do more advanced things in the future.   

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