Four inspiring stories of math-physics students
There’s no better reference for a university than success of its students. We present you inspiring stories of five graduates from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the Charles University in Prague, specifically from the IT programme, who made their alma mater proud. Who knows? Maybe their stories will inspire you to apply for the same study programme.
We were contacted by Facebook
Programmers Martin Čech and Stanislav Basovník were contacted by Facebook HR one day. They got scouted thanks to their profiles on LinkedIn. Their job interview had several rounds. Our two students had to pass many tasks online and via Skype before they finally got into the headquarters of the multi-billionaire company situated in Californian Menlo Park.
Basovník joined the programming team of Facebook while Čech started to develop products for advertisement companies and their promotional campaigns. They both love their job as they have home office on Wednesdays, a company sweet-shop and the barbers right on company premises which are just some of the perks.
Talent hunters from Google
Even before finishing his PhD studies, Jaroslav Keznikl was scouted by talent hunters from Google. Google’s HR was interested in the study programme recently opened at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics that focuses on technologies used by Google. Beside that, Keznikl had several classmates who had internships at Google or had been already working for them. Keznikl is also convinced that the Charles University has a generally very good reputation.
Regardless, he got nothing for free and had to pass a series of very difficult job interviews to prove his theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Thankfully, he’d already got acquainted with all tasks at least to some extent during his studies so he managed to pass. A 5-month internship at Volkswagen in German Wolfsburg helped as well. Keznikl joined a team of software engineers in Dublin where Google situated its headquarters for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
A Photoshop’s rival
He started to develop his advanced graphic editor as a hobby while still studying at university. Nowadays, Ivan Kuckir’s software is a successful rival even to Photoshop. It’s online (available at www.photopea.com), completely free and contains functions that are on a par with many commercial editors. Moreover, the software starts in a second and you don’t have to install or update anything. You can also extract photos from PDF documents or add pictures to GIF animations.
Today Kuckir’s app has over 300 000 users a month so he’s currently thinking about establishing a small team to get enough finances out of Photopea for future software projects. It was his study at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics that helped him to progress in this career. Kuckir reminiscences: “I consider my studies at FMP very beneficial even though it was extremely hard. I think that my studies had a great impact on my knowledge as well as the relationship to myself. I sometimes miss those days.”
Two internet gigants
One graduate of the FMP left the country to finish his PhD in Switzerland. When in January 2013 Luděk Cigler successfully finished his studies at the Swiss technological institute in Lausanne, he knew already that he would fly to California and work for Facebook. However, due to visa complications his journey was delayed until October and he eventually didn’t fly to California at all. He ended up in Canada where he stayed for almost three years.
His first assignment with Internet.org was to make the internet more accessible in developing countries which included primarily cooperating with local providers. Cigler was developing applications to incorporate their products into Facebook. Then he moved to the Core Data Science team where he worked on optimizing advertising campaigns and auctions.
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Today he’s an employee of another internet giant, Pinterest. He stayed in marketing and develops systems for targeted advertising. His new position comes with much greater responsibility. The Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the Charles University provided him with quality basis for a successful start of his career. Besides technical knowledge, the faculty gave him also the opportunity to study abroad and improve his foreign languages so he wasn’t afraid of living abroad later on.