The blog post that’s 2 years in the making about technology that’s 105 years in the making

December 19, 2016 By Brian Shoicket

This post and the videos that it references are 2 years, 4 “Odysseys,” and nearly 9000 students in the making. They offer a look at the humans behind the “robot” that’s helping humans.

I started working with IBM Watson in 2014, through my role as Head of University Programs at Uncubed. Watson has always been my “moon landing.” It is one of those technological advancements that has my nose pressed to the screen in wonder – only the screen is my laptop rather than some fuzzy CRT television like it was for my parents with the actual moon landing.

Family watching television

We partnered with IBM Watson in 2014 to help computer science and engineering students across the country learn about this “Watson” thing doing “cognitive computing” stuff. And hopefully those engineering students would find cognitive computing interesting and meaningful enough to join IBM full-time and help build this “futuristic” technology.

(Six did. Two of whom, Reah and Mikhail, are featured in our recent videos about “How to Move from Engineering to Product Management” and “What Engineering Students Should Know for Their First Job.”)

IBM Employees

In 2014, most people who had heard about IBM Watson only knew it as the Jeopardy champion from 2011. Little was yet known about what it could do in healthcare, education, finance, retail, music, and beyond.

As the applications of Watson grew, so did IBM’s hiring needs. We joined forces again in 2015 on programs like the Startup Odyssey and IBM Watson’s Epic NYC Odyssey. Both offered two-day programs in New York City through which engineering candidates could learn about cognitive computing; meet developers, data scientists, and product managers; and find jobs.

(Twenty-four received full-time job offers. Two of whom, Phuc Anh and Sahana, are featured in our recent video about “How IBM Built Its Own Startup Culture.”)

Sahana Subbanna, Front-End Developer, and Phuc Anh Tran, Front-End Developer, at IBM Watson

This Fall (2016), we joined forces again to launch the Cognitive Computing Odyssey: a competitive program that culminated with a series of two-day events across 3 cities: Boston, San Francisco, and Atlanta.

(Seventy-seven of the students that Uncubed worked with this Fall have received full-time job offers so far. Hopefully you’ll see a few of them film classes in 2017!)

Which brings us to today…

As I mentioned, this post and these videos are a long time coming. They represent not just the humans and unbelievable brainpower that exist behind artificial intelligence, but they are a reminder for me (and all of us here at Uncubed) about the impact that we can have on students’ lives. Two years ago, some students received an email about a trip to New York City. Today, they’re building a deeply intelligent platform that’s changing the way we live, and teaching all of us about the work that they’re doing. Incredible.

You can learn more about what Phuc Anh, Sahana, Reah, and Mikhail (along with Chris, Emma, Neil, and Josh) are up to at IBM Watson by clicking through to the videos below:

Finding a Common Language: How to Talk Tech With Your Team


How IBM Built Their Own Startup Culture

Sahana Subbanna, Front-End Developer, and Phuc Anh Tran, Front-End Developer, at IBM Watson


How to Move from Engineering to Product Management

Reah Miyara, Product Manager at IBM Watson


What Engineering Students Should Know for Their First Job


Join our secret community of top-notch recruiters & HR pros

Once a week we’ll send you a (worthwhile) piece of content, HR job opportunities, invites to special events and more.


Recent Uncubed Posts
  • 33 Companies define their promise to employees + Spotify’s remote work plan + Employee wellbeing + Being an ally + Improve your employer brand

  • Check out our new look + Office of the future + Clubhouse + Top HR questions to ask yourself for 2021 + Difference between recruiting & TA

  • Be better at diversity recruiting + Pipeline D&I fails + Unifying your employer & customer brand + Creating remote work boundaries