My undergraduate academic performance was really good. There were more than 300 students in Class of 95′ in School of Mechanical Engineering. I was in top 5. Therefore, upon graduation, I was exemption to graduate. Usually I’m conservative. So although the major for exemption graduate was not good, I accepted it. In the fourth year of my undergraduate study, all my classmates were busy in either finding jobs, or preparing for graduate entrance exam, while I was very relaxed then.
My graduate study was also in School of Mechanical Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology. The name of my major is “Special machinery”. Because the predecessor of NJUST is a military school, “Special machinery” usually includes the technologies about artillery and automatic weapons. However, my research and thesis were absolutely nothing to do with weapons. My research direction was mechatronics, which is more accurate to describe what I have learned.
In addition to completing the necessary courses, graduate students began to take part in the research work. The research direction of each student was different, depending mainly on the research topics and projects of their mentors. My research topic was about the controlling technologies in high-pressure water-jet cutting machines. More specifically, my research involved the modeling of water-jet cutting process, and the design of controlling system. In the experiments, I designed and implemented a prototype controlling system by using PLC(Programmable Logic Controller).
To be honest, probably I will never set foot into this area in the future. However, I feel this topic is very interesting. It expands the range of my knowledge.
My mentor is a really good man. He is very concerned about his students, not only in study, but also in daily life. He treated us as friends. From him, I learned the basic researching methods. These methods are very helpful in my future study. He encouraged me to learn more computer knowledge. He said computer knowledge might be more useful in my future work. I feel very lucky and thankful to have such a good mentor.
Compared with undergraduate and doctoral period, the master period was the easiest period. I spent my spare time in further learning of computer science. Finally, I passed the National Computer Certificate IV, which involved all kinds of computer science knowledge.
Due to the requirement of my research, I spent a lot of time in studying Visual C++, including the MFC implementation mechanisms. After learning Visual C++, I was naturally interested in the essential operational mechanism of Windows program. So, I learned more in-depth knowledge of Windows programming. One classic book is Petzold’s Windows Programming (5th edition). This book not only made me understand how Windows programs work from the bottom, but also the code style in the book had a great influence on me. It was the first time that I began to pay attention to coding style.
In some courses and projects, I came into contact with several professional software products in structure analysis, dynamics analysis and simulation, such as I-Deas, ADAMS, and so on. Although I just learned a few basic functions, I was already shocked by the powerful features of these tools! Sometimes I think if I had decided to follow the path of machinery industry, and I could find some jobs which are applying these applications, maybe my career development is even better than my current status.
In the end of 1999, I learned and used the Internet for the first time. Since then, the Internet became an indispensable part of my life. At that time, the first application was to use e-mail, and then BBS. Unlike today’s forum, at that day BBS sites were mainly maintained by universities. You could login them by Telnet commands. All information was in text mode. Although simple, there was an unusual kind of warm feeling.
Later, I applied free web page spaces, and built my first website, which is about Mountain Taishan. I learned the knowledge of HTML and web pages. No CMS system at that time and each page was handmade by myself. I spent a lot of time in it. I kept in-depth study, and learned dynamic web page technology. I chose the most popular technology – ASP at that time. In fact, the PHP and other technologies are similar. After learning the fundamental knowledge, I found it was easy to understand PHP code today.
The Master period was only two and a half years. Time flied very quickly. In my Master’s studies, I learned basic methods to do science research. Also I further strengthened the knowledge of computer science. I started to use and learn the Internet. I think this period is very fruitful. Nowadays looking back, if I could select a better graduate school, or major, it might be better. But this is only a hypothesis, who knows which is better or worse.
A benefit in student stage is that there’s a lot of time can be used in studying. After working, if you want to learn something, very hard to find available time.