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Vint Cerf's Career Advice for Engineers

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Google's Vinton G. Cerf in his office in Reston, Va.

Vinton G. Cerf, vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, in his office in Reston, Va.

Credit: Peter Adams

Vinton G. Cerf, recipient of the 2023 IEEE Medal of Honor and the 2004 ACM A.M. Turing Award, offers advice to engineers starting their careers.

  • "If you really want to do something big, get help, and preferably from people who are smarter than you are."
  • "Be humble, because unless you approach things with the understanding that you really don't know exactly how to make it all work, you may overlook possibilities."
  • "Listen to other people. I tell my engineers that if they know I'm about to do something stupid, they have to tell me. When you're in a position of responsibility and authority, people may assume you've already figured out where the hazards are, but you may not have."
  • "Try hard to stay on good terms with everybody. Civility is an important property, and burning bridges is generally a bad idea; you never know who you're going to work with again, who you might work for, or who might work for you."

From IEEE Spectrum
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