Work: Private Medical Transcriptionist

File Search Screenshot
A screenshot of my doctor file search program.

My very first employer was Vijaya G. Seshadri: a practicing pediatric cardiologist, and also my mother. Running her own medical practice keeps my mom very busy, and as soon as I entered high school she offered me a "position" in her company. The work I did for her included filing charts, filling out medical paperwork, but mostly typing up dictated medical letters. I held this position from the beginning of my ninth grade until my graduation; working from my mom taught me how to manage work with education, as this was the first time I had any commitments other than school.

One of the tasks which I would often have to do is look up a specific doctor to get their mailing address, telephone number, or some other information. After over a year of doing this by hand, I decided to write a Java program which would parse through a text file and find the information I need, display it appropriately, and even copy relevant, correctly formatted text to the clipboard. Not only did this save time while I was working, but I wrote a robust string parser and became familiar with Java's Toolkit and Clipboard classes and of course familiarized myself further with the AWT interface.

My most important takeaway from this experience, without doubt, was respect for money. Until ninth grade I had no real source of income, and I didn't fully understand the value of money. Earning really taught me to respect money and gave me a introduction on money management, at least at the high school level. And I picked up a thing or two about pediatric cardiology which I would never learn in any computer science course at Carnegie Mellon.